At least four people have been killed, and a number of others injured, in the tornadoes that struck western Massachusetts on Wednesday, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said.
According to state officials and witness reports, two tornadoes have touched down, smashing homes and buildings across a 40-mile stretch, CNN reported.
Gov. Deval Patrick told reporters Wednesday night that one person was killed in Springfield, two in nearby Westfield and one in Brimfield, about 20 miles east. Furthermore, as many as 19 communities reported tornado damage, he said, mostly in Central and Western Massachusetts
The governor declared a state of emergency as the twisters moved east, with watched posted all the way to the Atlantic coast until late Wednesday.
It's been particularly devastating in downtown Springfield, Patrick said. But the town of Monson, too, has been hit hard.
He said he had recently spoken with Senator Stephen Brewer of Barre, who was on the scene. He said, you have to see Monson to believe it, and I think he made a reference to the Wizard of Oz as well, Patrick said.
Patrick said he has mobilized 1,000 National Guard troops to assist with cleanup and search-and-rescue operations. And the Massachusetts State Police have activated dog team to look for people in damaged buildings.
Tornado watches were also issued for northern Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Maine until 11 p.m. Wednesday.