'It couldn't happen, but it did'

Devastation after the Worcester tornado

June 9, 1953 was hot and humid. The weather bureau predicted thunderstorms, some possibly severe, for central Massachusetts. It got those storms - and an F4 tornado that touched down to the northwest of Worcester, creating a trail of death and destruction that ended only at the Framingham line, after the Fayville post office was flattened. In all, 96 people died that day.

Among the photographers who rushed to chronicle the damage was, of course, Leslie Jones:

Car turned turtle by tornado

Tornado damage from the sky

More Jones photos. C.J. Flodine has posted more photos of the post-tornado destruction.

Part 2 of the newsreel.

Jones photos rom the BPL weather photos collection. Posted under this Creative Commons license.

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Comments

If you grew up in the Midwest

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If you came from a place like Indiana (or, even worse, Oklahoma), then you know that they are much less common here than there.

In the Midwest we had several serious tornado warnings every year, and probably one that touched down (within 30-40 miles) every other year.

Here it's more like one serious warning every five years or so; although I'll admit that they've gotten much more common in the past 6 or 7 years.

1953

There wasn't TV news coverage, at least, not for the entire country.

Most people didn't travel the country like they do now.

Most people had seen the Wizard of Oz, but that probably isn't really an accurate depiction of a tornado.

There was probably a quiet period during the preceding 20-40 years.

Here's more: http://ripr.org/post/how-frequent-are-tornadoes-ne...

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I had some Facebook friends

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I had some Facebook friends from down South and the Midwest who were shocked by the tornado in Springfield in 2011, they had no idea we get them in New England. When I told them about the Worcester tornado they were utterly stunned.