The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 50.0°F | Partly Cloudy

Weather: Tornado Talk

By Michael J. Ring
STAFF METEOROLOGIST -- Last week’s devastating tornado in Charles County, Maryland is a stark reminder that we are at the peak of the tornado season in the United States. The Charles County storm was the first F5 tornado to strike the United States in three years. Tornadoes are ranked on the Fujita intensity scale based on their wind speed: F5 storms have winds in excess of 261 mph (420 kph).

While Massachusetts has never experienced an F5 tornado, it is not immune to these storms’ fury. The state has witnessed more tornado deaths per square mile than any other state since 1950, due primarily to the powerful F4 tornado which killed 90 in and around Worcester on June 9, 1953.

Massachusetts experiences about three tornadoes in a given year, ranking the state fourteenth for tornado frequency per unit area. However, don’t expect to see a twister blowing across campus anytime soon despite this relatively high ranking. The vast majority of these storms occur in central and western Massachusetts, away from the moderating influence of the ocean that often weakens the summer thunderstorms that move across the state.

Extended Forecast

Today: Cloudy with scattered showers and thunderstorms. Warm with highs near 75 F (24 C).

Tonight: Scattered showers early, then clearing after midnight. Lows near 53 F (12 C).

Wednesday: A nearly perfect day, sunny and seasonably warm. Highs near 70 F (21 C).

Wednesday night: Clouding up with showers possible toward dawn. Lows near 55 F (13 C).

Thursday: Cloudy with scattered showers. Highs near 60 F (16 C) and lows near 53 F (12 C).

Friday: Sunny and mild. Highs in the upper 60s F (19 to 21 C).