Isaias winds cause power outages, downed trees

  • The ornate gate to the Highland Cemetery on Millers Falls Road in Montague, above, took a direct hit from Tuesday’s tropical storm pushing through the area. At left, a Greenfield Department of Public Works crew cleans up debris from the storm along Main Street in Greenfield.


  • Limbs hanging and on the ground in front of the court buildings on Main Street in Greenfield from Tropical Storm Isaias. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Large Maple branches partially cut up at the corner of Birch and Silver streets in Greenfield from Tropical Storm Isaias. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Tropical Storm Isaias toppled these two trees behind the Clinical Support Options' Living Room drop-in center on High Street in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • The ornate gate to the Highland Cemetery on Millers Falls Road in Montague took a direct hit from Tuesday's wind and rain from the tropical storm pushing through the area. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 8/5/2020 3:59:42 PM

Tropical Storm Isaias, the first major storm of the season, blew through Massachusetts Tuesday afternoon, causing winds in the Connecticut River Valley that reached 60 mph, and considerable rain in the hills and mountains farthest west in the state.

Isaias was briefly considered a hurricane when it made landfall on the East Coast late Monday night in North Carolina, but it softened quickly as it traveled north over land.

The storm reached Massachusetts about 2 p.m. Tuesday, and was considered to have passed by 8 p.m., though rain continued later into the night.

In Franklin County and the North Quabbin, towns reported downed trees that had to be cleared Tuesday night and into Wednesday. Power outages were confined to certain neighborhoods, with restoration work running Tuesday night and through Wednesday. In some cases in Greenfield, power was expected to be out until Thursday.

Damage reports in other parts of the state were similar, according to the National Weather Service.

By the time Isaias reached Massachusetts, rain was concentrated at the far west of the storm, mostly over the Berkshires, while winds throughout the state were between speeds of 45 mph and 60 mph, said Torry Gaucher, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service’s Massachusetts office in Norton.

The wind was typical of a tropical storm, Gaucher said. The threshold of what can be considered a hurricane is 74 mph.

“We weren’t surprised by the winds that were reported,” Gaucher said.

For the Northeast, Isaias probably marks the start of the height of storm season, Goucher said. The storm season typically starts early in the summer, but intensifies in August until October, he said.

“We’re heading into the peak time of hurricane season,” he said. “Maybe think of this as the wake-up call.”

Hurricanes do sometimes reach Massachusetts, though extremely intense storms are infrequent, Goucher said. Hurricane Carol, in 1954, a category 3 hurricane, is still considered to be the last truly severe hurricane to have hit Massachusetts, he said.

Reach Max Marcus at or 413-930-4231.

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