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Likely Tornado Sweeps Through Southern New England

A tornado probably swept through parts of Connecticut and Rhode Island on Wednesday, toppling dozens of trees but causing no injuries or major structural damage, National Weather Service meteorologists said.

The agency’s office in Southern New England said late Wednesday on X, formerly known as Twitter, that its staff planned to survey storm damage in Connecticut and Rhode Island early Thursday. It said preliminary radar data and video evidence suggested that a tornado occurred in the region on Wednesday afternoon.

It is possible that more than one tornado touched down in Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts, Bryce Williams, a Weather Service forecaster, said by phone early Thursday. He said storm surveyors would look to see whether damaged trees had been twisted out of shape — a sign of damage from “tornadic” rather than “straight line” winds.

Mr. Williams said formally confirming a tornado was helpful for meteorological record keeping, but that tornadic winds were not necessarily more serious.

“There’s kind of a general public myth that all really strong wind damage comes from tornadoes,” he said. “But that’s not true. Straight line winds can do as much or more damage.”

In this case, he said, preliminary reports indicate that 60 to 80 trees were toppled or had their tops sheared off in Connecticut and Rhode Island, and that no one was injured.

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