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Environment and Outdoors
The Rural Maine Reporting Project is made possible through the generous support of the Betterment Fund.

National Weather Service Confirms Tornado In Rural Maine

nws_david_coffin.jpg
David Coffin
/
A view of the tornado, taken on Route 6 between Topsfield and Springfield, looking west.

The first tornado of Maine's very limited tornado season hit Washington County on Monday, knocking down more than 100 trees.

Meteorologist Todd Foisy of the National Weather Service office in Caribou says Maine usually gets one or two tornadoes a year that don't typically cause much damage.

“Thankfully in Maine, usually, our tornadoes are pretty weak and short lived,” he says. “That doesn't mean they can't cause significant damage, but we certainly don't usually get the tornadoes like they get out in the Great Plains.”

Foisy also says if you happen to be near a tornado and in car, you should get out of the car and into a nearby ditch.

“Of course don't get out earlier than you need to because there's often lightning with a thunderstorm,” he says. “What you shouldn't try to do is outrun a tornado because tornadoes move very, very fast, and even in a car on a decent highway, it's very difficult to outrun them in a vehicle.”

Foisy says that when tornadoes do hit the state, it's often in the middle of inland forests, so they're not reported.

Monday's tornado touched down in Kossuth Township, between Springfield and Topsfield. It had top speeds of about 90 miles an hour and lasted about four minutes.