Storm damage reported to be minor

Dec 1, 2020 by

Published in the December 1, 2020 edition.

WAKEFIELD — Gale-force winds and periodically heavy rain lashed the area yesterday, but Wakefield seems to have weathered the fierce storm well.

According to DPW Director Joseph Conway, the department began received calls around 4 p.m. for tree limbs down. Crews with the DPW’s Forestry and Parks Division worked until after 7 p.m. responding to calls, three of which were for trees down on Greenwood Street, New Salem Street and an area near the Dolbeare School.

At certain times during the storm, sustained winds reached local speeds of around 50 to 60 miles an hour, Conway was told.

“Some trees came down but given the speed and strength of the wind, the town got out of this relatively unscathed,” Conway said. “There were no microbursts or anything like that.”

The storm battered much of the northeastern U.S. on Monday, prompting tornado watches and flash-flood warnings.

“Hold on to your hats!” the National Weather Service in Boston tweeted as gusts exceeding 50 mph (80 kph) and heavy rainfall bore down on a large swath of southern New England.

Authorities warned of the potential for widespread power outages and dangerous street flooding during the evening rush hour. They said there was a heightened risk of isolated tornadoes in some areas, including southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

In Connecticut, the fast-moving storm knocked out power to more than 32,000 households, utilities said.

More than 43,000 homes and businesses had lost power as of midafternoon in Massachusetts, mostly on Cape Cod, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency said in a statement.

The state transportation agency said a portion of the eastbound Massachusetts Turnpike was shut down late Monday after a tractor-trailer rig jackknifed, spilling a large amount of fuel on the highway. State police lowered the speed limit elsewhere on Interstate 90 after a number of crashes blamed on poor road conditions.

National Weather Service meteorologist William Babcock told the Boston Globe last night the damage could have been much worse had these mighty wind gusts come earlier in the year.

“Imagine if there had been leaves on the trees,” he said. “It catches the wind and adds that extra tug to pull a tree down.”

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