Worcestory Lesson Extra: June 9 anniversary of Worcester tornado of 1953

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Damage at Assumption College (now Quinsigamond Community College, Assumption moved its campus southwest) from the Worcester tornado of 1953.

NWS Employee (NWS Taunton, MA) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Damage at Assumption College (now Quinsigamond Community College) from the Worcester tornado of 1953.

Today [June 9, 2016] is the 63rd anniversary of the great tornado of 1953.

The tornado touched down and Petersham at 4:25 p.m. It remained on the ground for 84 minutes, tossing debris for up to 50 miles; “Chunks of soggy, frozen mattress fell into Boston Harbor,” according to islandnet.com.

“By the time the tornado dissipated, it had travelled 46 miles, killed 94, injured 1,288, and left 10,000 homeless. By the Fujita damage-scale, the storm has since been rated as an F4, although some suggest it may have been an F5. The damage was estimated at $52 million ($349 million in 2002 dollars) and included 4,000 buildings and hundreds of cars.”

John DiPietro interviewed survivors for a three-part series in 2013.

The tornado spawned multiple books, including John O’Toole’s 1993 work “Tornado! 84 minutes, 94 lives” and John Bisol’s “The Worcester Tornado: A New Perspective” from 2015.

Residents recount the day here.

The city of Worcester has a slideshow of 108 photos.

Newsreels recounted the disaster, two videos of which are below.

A YouTube video by user crownbaker has color footage from the Burncoat area before and after the tornado.

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