Massachusetts does have a history of tornadoes, including the fourth-worst in recorded history. So this is not unheard of, but it's still unusual for the state to see such powerful tornadoes. This was the worst Massachusetts outbreak since 1953, when 94 people were killed. The last lethal tornado there was in 1995.
News reports say that at one point, the tornado that slammed Springfield was the size and strength of the Tuscaloosa tornado that so recently devastated the South and Midwest:
Multiple tornadoes slammed western and central Massachusetts Wednesday, leaving a path of destruction that destroyed buildings, flipped vehicles and left at least four people dead and an unknown number injured.
At least three tornadoes struck the city of Springfield, Mass., alone, with a fourth unconfirmed twister possibly touching down in the city, Mayor Dominic J. Sarno said. Many of those storms also blasted the areas surrounding the city of more than 150,000 residents situated 90 miles west of Boston.
According to the National Weather Service, seven tornadoes touched down in Massachusetts Wednesday.
The twisters hit as unstable weather threatened the entire Northeast, bringing tornado watches to Philadelphia, New York and Boston. Golf Ball size hail was reported from New York to Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire, while thunderstorms produced wind gusts from 60 to 70 miles per hour across New England.
The situation in Massachusetts was so bad that Gov. Deval Patrick declared a statewide state of emergency, calling up 1,000 members of the National Guard.