Tornado warning had western Mass. wary Wednesday

People were forced underground as a tornado warning was issued for areas along and to the south of the Route 2 corridor Wednesday evening.

Shortly after 5 p.m., the National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for central Franklin County.

It wound up all for naught, but better safe than sorry, as they say. The tornado warning was cancelled at about 6:15 p.m.

The tornado warning was spurred by severe thunderstorms in the area. Those in the towns of Greenfield, Montague, Deerfield, Shelburne, Ashfield, Conway, Wendell and Erving were advised to take cover in their basements, or an interior room in a strong building. They were also told to stay away from windows, and to leave mobile homes or trailers to take shelter in more secure structures.

A severe thunderstorm warning was also in effect for much of western Massachusetts Wednesday, though it was downgraded to a thunderstorm watch as the evening wore on.

The NWS reported at about 5:30 p.m. that spotters in Greenfield and Hawley had seen a rotating wall cloud, which sometimes precedes a tornado. At that point, Shelburne and Ashfield had been removed from the warning zone, but Sunderland was added.

During the warning, several area fire departments were heard on the airwaves, calling all available personnel to their respective fire stations for storm coverage.

WWLP news reported golf-ball-sized hail in Conway, and 3/4 inch hail in Deerfield. Washouts were reported on several areas of Clesson Brook Road in Buckland.

Power outages, however, were kept to a minimum, with Western Massachusetts Electric Co. reporting a handful of isolated outages during Wednesday’s storms.

We’re not out of the woods yet. At press time, the forecast called for more thunder storms this morning and afternoon, with rain predicted tonight through Friday.

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