Webster, MA EF1 Tornado of August 4, 2018

Figure 1 depicts the surface observations at 8:00 am EDT, which shows a moist and tropical environment in place across Massachusetts. A cold front moved through the area and triggered thunderstorms, which ultimately led to this EF1 tornado.

Figure 1. Surface analysis at 12Z on August 4, 2018 showing mean sea-level pressure (MSLP) contours, surface observations, fronts and pressure centers (WPC, 2017)

The Webster, MA EF1 tornado of August 4, 2018 impacted Worcester County in Massachusetts. According to NOAA (2020), the EF1 tornado caused no fatalities, but injured 1 person and caused $5 million dollars in property damage. The tornado touched down near Schofield Avenue at 9:59 am EDT. The tornado travelled for 0.47 miles and had a maximum width of 300 yards.

Figure 2. Episode narrative for August 4, 2018 (NOAA NCEI, 2020).


NWS Weather Prediction Center Surface Analysis Archive. (2017). Surface analysis 12Z Sat Aug 4 2018 Retrieved from: https://www.wpc.ncep.noaa.gov/archives/web_pages/sfc/sfc_archive.php

NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information (2020). Storm Events Database. Retrieved from: https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/stormevents/

National Centers for Environmental Information reports:

In just about one minute, an EF-1 tornado, with maximum winds estimated at 110 mph, wreaked havoc in the easternmost portion of Dudley, MA and in the downtown portion of Webster, MA. It touched down along Route 12 (Schofield Avenue) to the west of Laprise Court in Dudley and traveled northeastward onto Main Street in Webster, then lifted near the French River by Oxford Avenue.

Many trees were snapped and debarked. In Webster, a gas station overhang was twisted. An old brick rooftop was damaged, with bricks having fallen onto Main Street. The rubber roof covering of another building was peeled completely off. Windows were blown out at a business on Main Street and the street was littered with broken glass. The side walls of an apartment complex were bent slightly outward toward the tornado. Window screens were sucked outward. A car windshield and side mirror was damaged. There were other reports of trees fallen onto cars. Utility poles were snapped and numerous wires were downed. According to MEMA, at least 3 buildings were condemned and at least 5 were uninhabitable.

Nearly everyone that our survey team spoke with had heard the warning via the Wireless Emergency Alert on their cell phones as much as 20+ minutes in advance of the touchdown! This undoubtedly played a big role in the fact that there were no fatalities. According to media reports, there was one minor injury when part of a roof fell on top of a woman's car.