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Northfield back to normal after Wednesday microburst

NORTHFIELD — It took nearly 24 hours, but town’s electricity is back on, and its roads passable after a microburst tore down trees and snapped utility poles Wednesday.

A microburst is, in layman’s terms, the opposite of a tornado. While a tornado is a sucking vortex that pulls air and objects in, a microburst is a rapidly descending column of air that strikes the ground and pushes outward with gale-force winds.

Fire Chief Floyd “Skip” Dunnell confirmed that a microburst struck the northeast section of town during Wednesday’s thunderstorm.

He said Mill Street, Highland Avenue, Hamilton Road, North Lane and Hinsdale Road and the north end of Route 10 all had downed wires and fallen tree limbs, though one road seemed to bear the brunt of the damage.

Several trees were toppled on Pierson Road, many of which fell onto power lines, their weight shearing utility poles. Crews were still working to remove trees from the road Thursday afternoon, according to Dunnell, and power was restored to the area by 5 p.m.

By then, the Western Massachusetts Electric Co.’s online outage map listed a single Northfield customer without power.

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