The city is offering financial support to owners of historic buildings damaged in the 2011 tornado that tore through western Massachusetts.

For the past two days, our region has received a flurry of severe thunderstorm and even tornado warnings and watches. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, there are 1,300 tornados in the United States on average each year. Summer is here, and with it the likelihood you'll hear WAMC broadcast a tornado watch or warning. Experts are urging people to take the warnings seriously.


Repairs are being made to the steeple of the Old First Church in Springfield, Massachusetts. It is part of an ongoing effort to restore one of the oldest church buildings in New England.

A crane was moved into position Wednesday and a fence erected to keep pedestrians away while the final work is done on the exterior of the steeple to repair damage caused by the 2011 tornado. Mayor Domenic Sarno said Old First Church is a significant part of Springfield’s history and the restoration will ensure it figures in the city’s future.

  The National Weather Service has confirmed that a tornado destroyed homes and property in central New York, and killed four people.

Violent winds Tuesday clocked in at least 100 miles per hour in the Madison county town of Smithfield, between Syracuse and Utica, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Barbara Watson. 

"It's going to be at least an EF2," Watson said.

There are reports of fatalities in the wake of a line of storms, including a confirmed EF2 tornado, that moved through western and central New York Tuesday night, bringing heavy rain and strong winds that knocked down trees, power lines and several buildings. 


A city park seriously damaged by the June 1, 2011 tornado that hit Springfield reopened today after a nearly $1 million improvement project.

City and state officials joined with residents of the Sixteen Acres neighborhood to praise the Camp Wilder Park renovations. Mayor Domenic Sarno said the park is an “urban oasis” in an area that had been ripped to shreds three years ago by the tornado.

" I almost had a tear in my eye coming in here today. To think of all the debris that was here and now look at this magnificent park. But, we always had a can-do attitude."


Sunday marks the third anniversary of the most powerful storm to strike Massachusetts in a half-century, an EF-3 rated tornado that killed three people, injured dozens more, and damaged or destroyed 2,000 buildings between Springfield and Sturbridge.  Rebuilding in the city of Springfield has been aided by about $100 million in federal and state funds.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

Daily Gazette photographer Pat Dodson was heading back to the Capital Region following President Obama’s visit to central New York yesterday when news broke that a tornado touched down in Schenectady County. Dodson spoke with WAMC about what the newspaper termed on its front page today “the path of destruction.”

Severe Weather: The Before And After

May 23, 2014
Lucas Willard / WAMC

WAMC's David Guistina discusses the possible tornado in Schenectady County with Meteorologist Paul Caiano.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

The National Weather Service says spotters have reported apparent tornado damage with trees and power lines down down and a home destroyed as severe thunderstorms packing high winds and large hail moved eastward through rural Schenectady and Albany counties.


A Catholic high school in Springfield, Massachusetts that was severely damaged by the 2011 tornado will be replaced with the help of federal funds.  Rebuilding Cathedral High School is seen as a key step to completing the city’s recovery from the natural disaster.


The Federal Emergency Management Agency has agreed to pay Springfield, Massachusetts $25 million for the destruction of public property by the 2011 tornado.  It is a final settlement that city officials worked relentlessly to obtain.


Officials with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development have approved plans by the city of Springfield, Massachusetts to spend $13 million on redeveloping an impoverished area of the city damaged by June 1,2011 tornado. 

Damaged and blighted buildings will be torn down, streets and sidewalks repaved, new houses built, a park and other public properties improved in Maple High-Six Corners, a low income neighborhood still struggling to recover from the historic 2011 storm.

City of Springfield

In the two years since a tornado tore through Springfield, Massachusetts a volunteer effort has spearheaded the planting of thousands of new trees.  The work is being done as the U.S. Forest Service conducts a study on the environmental impacts from the loss of the urban tree canopy.

More than 4,400 new trees have been planted in Springfield in the last two years in an effort to restore, largely for later generations, the shade trees that lined streets and filled public parks prior to the June 1, 2011 tornado.


Officials in Springfield, Massachusetts have marked another step forward in the city’s recovery from the tornado that caused extensive damage 26 months ago.

With children singing and bright white, blue, and gold balloons buffeted by a gentle breeze, Square One celebrated the opening of its new center on Main Street in the South End Neighborhood on Wednesday.  It is just two blocks from where the early childhood education organization’s preschool and administrative offices were destroyed when the tornado roared through Springfield on June 1st, 2011.

Officials in Springfield, Massachusetts have produced a plan for spending millions of dollars in federal disaster recovery funds.  It is the latest step in a long road to recovery from the June 1st,2011 tornado.

   Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno outlined at a city hall news conference Wednesday what he called an action plan for spending more than $13 million to build new housing, repair streets and sidewalks, remove blight, construct a new school and refurbish a park in neighborhoods devastated by the worst tornado Massachusetts has experienced in a half-century.

More than two years after a tornado tore through a low-income housing cooperative in Springfield, Massachusetts, the residents of the damaged complex face an uncertain future.  More than two dozen homes remain vacant and condemned and there is the threat of foreclosure by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.


Springfield, Massachusetts continues to rebuild from the tornado that caused extensive damage to the city 25 months ago.  A groundbreaking ceremony was held today to begin construction on a new elementary school to replace one that was rendered unusable by the tornado.


This Saturday, June 1st, marks two years since Massachusetts was hit by the worst tornado the state has experienced in a half-century.  The powerful storm carved a 39 mile long, half-mile wide path through western Massachusetts.  Three people were killed, dozens injured, and more than 1400 buildings damaged or destroyed.  Much of the devastation, but none of the deaths, occurred in the city of Springfield.  WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno as the city prepared to reflect on the 2nd anniversary of the tornado.

5/22/13 - Panel

May 22, 2013

  WAMC’s Alan Chartock, University at Albany Journalism Professor and Investigative Reporter, Rosemary Armao, and Editor of The Daily Gazette, Judy Patrick.

This morning our discussion topics include:
Osama Pics
Post Tornado Efforts
Immigration Reform Passes Hurdle
Pope's Exorcism?
Apple's Taxes
Disney's "Brave" redesign

The long term recovery group formed following the June 1st 2011 tornado in Springfield Massachusetts disbanded earlier this week. The group called Springfield Community Together consisted of volunteers from roughly a dozen philanthropic, faith based, and other non-profit organizations.  One of the board members of the long term recovery group was Steven Abdow, who is business manager for the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts.  He spoke with WAMC”s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill


The  U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has awarded more than $21 million to the city of Springfield Massachusetts to help it recover from the June 2011 tornado. 

   Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno said the money will fund specific projects detailed in the tornado recovery master plan the city produced last year.

Efforts by residents of a low- income housing cooperative in Springfield, Massachusetts to recover  from the June 2011 tornado have been dealt another setback.  The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development , which funded the  90- unit complex nearly 40 years ago, is weighing foreclosure.


A  Springfield Massachusetts couple is having a heartwarming, yet bittersweet, homecoming this Thanksgiving.  They are finally moving back to the home that was nearly destroyed in the June 1, 2011 tornado.   WAMC”s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports

The  tornado caused major  damage to the ranch style home of  Terry Humphries and  his wife MaryAnn Carroll. More than a dozen trees came crashing down, leaving holes in the roof.  Then things got worse.

Rebuilding Together Springfield

  Some people will skip a trip to the beach this Labor Day weekend to labor in tornado damaged areas of Springfield Massachusetts.  An official with the city’s long term recovery group says there is still a lot to be done to help people struggling to rebuild from the June 2011 disaster.  WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.


State funding is still available to residents of Western Massachusetts who were hit by last year’s June tornado, who are looking to rebuild and renovate their homes, and make them more energy efficient. WAMC’s Lucas Willard has more…

The state-sponsored ReBuild Western Massachusetts program is designed to help victims of the June 1st, 2011 tornado rebuild their homes and businesses with some upgrades to help save energy.


    The Massachusetts State Treasurer during a visit to Springfield Wednesday committed to fund the rebuilding of two tornado damaged schools.  Special action by state officials means city taxpayers should be off the hook for any expenses.   WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.


    A sweeping economic development bill signed into law this week by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick streamlines state funding for local infrastructure projects. State officials say an example of how it is suppose to work can be found in a Springfield neighborhood  that was ravaged by last year’s tornado.   WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.


Several of the western Massachusetts communities that were in the path of almost unimaginable destruction one year ago today will hold remembrance events.  It will be an opportunity to reflect on the one year anniversary of the worst tornado to hit the state in a half-century and also to look toward what many hope will be a brighter future.    WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.

More emergency funding is being sent to western Massachusetts communities hit by the tornadoes a year ago this week.   WAMC’s Paul Tuthill reports…

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation says $3.9 million dollars in federal funding is available for eight communities. 

Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray , who announced the money Wednesday in Springfield, said it is to reimburse the cost of repairs that were made to streets and sidewalks…