The National Weather Service has determined that a tornado touched down in Stoughton during a fast-moving storm Thursday afternoon.
The Category 0 tornado moved through Washington Street at 4:33 p.m. Such tornados register wind speeds between 65 and 85 miles per hour, meteorologists said.
The weather service made the determination after surveying the scene this morning, looking at damage patterns, including broken trees, which are often telltale indicators of severe storm activity, as well as conducting witness interviews, meteorologist Bill Simpson said.
Stoughton police responded to a call for a possible tornado at Bay State Ford just after 4:30 p.m. Winds of 70 miles per hour nearly ripped a garage door from its hinges and lifted a handful of trailers into the air at the dealership on Washington Street, officials said.
“It was kind of wild,” said 22-year-old Joseph Mancuso, a technician at the dealership.
Customers and salespeople were in the shop when the weather hit. Mancuso said no one was terribly panicked, “but it was kind of a weird situation. It was very odd to see in Massachusetts.”
“All of the sudden it got real, real windy,” he said. He was coming into the shop when the winds blew the big, roughly 10-by-20-foot metal garage door nearly off its hinges. Police reported to the weather service that the partially closed garage door was destroyed.
“The only reason it didn’t go flying across the parking lot is because there’s a little metal bar connecting the door to the frame.” Mancuso said.
Though the severe weather was a bit of a surprise, it’s not out of the ordinary. “When we have the east flow off the ocean intersecting these bands of thunderstorms, you can get some rotation,” Simpson said.
Nevertheless, “It’s not exactly how I was anticipating spending the last hour of my workday,” Mancuso said.Lauren Dezenski can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @LaurenDezenski.