Tornado Watch

As the skies darkened yesterday afternoon, my cell phone began buzzing with alerts from the National Weather Service. Here they are:

3:36 pm – Tornado Watch in effect for Middlesex County, MA until 9 pm

5:27 pm – Flash Flood Warning for Middlesex County, MA until 8:30 pm

6:24 pm – Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Middlesex County, MA until 7 pm

There’s nothing like reading the word “tornado” in your current weather forecast to get your attention. I tuned in to NECN and caught Merrimack Valley-resident and meteorologist Matt Noyes on the air almost continuously. I’m not sure if an official tornado was ever identified although he gave reports of 100 mph winds and downed trees near Glastonbury, Connecticut. Here we just got some torrential rain; I don’t even recall any thunder. According to the National Weather Service records, Hanscom Field only received 0.47 inches of rain in the six hours preceding 8 pm last evening. A half inch of rain doesn’t seem like much but that’s probably because despite its intensity, the rain didn’t last all that long. Walking around the neighborhood early this morning I saw no signs of damage. In fact, there were few leaves, let alone tree limbs, on the ground so we must have been spared any heavy winds which was good. Still, all the notices were a reminder that when it comes to the weather, things can get out of hand very quickly.

For anyone interested in receiving text warnings to your cell phone like I do, a website called has a free service you can sign up for. I’ve subscribed to it for a couple of years now and don’t remember getting a single spam or advertising-type message – just true weather alerts.