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Tornado Touches Down In Lincoln

A tornado officially touched down in Rhode Island Tuesday afternoon . The unusual weather event developed out of a thunderstorm that hit southern New England.

The National Weather Service confirmed that the tornado touched down in Lincoln, RI. The National Weather Service issued a warning earlier that day, as a thunderstorm moved through southern New England.

Bill Simpson, meteorologist for the National Weather Service, said the tornado developed from that thunderstorm.

"A lot of times you’ll have really strong thunderstorms, but you won’t have a tornado, because you don’t have that low-level change of wind direction. It’s like spinning a top. That’s a real simple version of it," he said.

Simpson said the thunderstorm was relatively mild, though damage and loss of power were reported following the event.

He said the event probably ranked low on the standard measurement for tornadoes known as the Fujita scale, likely between zero and one.

"The big ones you hear out in the Midwest they’re usually threes and above. And again, if you’re underneath it, it doesn’t matter because the damage is damage," Simpson said.

According to Simpson, New England only sees between two and four tornadoes per year.

There were also reports of tornado damage in North Providence and parts of southern Massachusetts, though the National Weather Service has not yet been able to confirm them. 

The weather service said a survey team is heading out Wednesday morning to review the damage from Tuesday's tornado.



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A tree damaged by Tuesday's tornado.
A tree damaged by Tuesday's tornado.
Elisabeth Harrison/The Public's Radio
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Police block off part of a street as they assess storm damage.
Police block off part of a street as they assess storm damage.
Elisabeth Harrison/The Public's Radio
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A tree damaged by Tuesday's tornado.
A tree damaged by Tuesday's tornado.
Elisabeth Harrison/The Public's Radio