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Second tornado verified from Sunday’s storms in Maine

Arielle Smith | Courtesy Photo
Arielle Smith | Courtesy Photo
A tornado funnel cloud forming over Millinocket was photographed by Arielle Smith as she drove home from work on Sunday, June 2, 2013.
By Nick Sambides Jr., BDN Staff

PLEASANT RIDGE PLANTATION, Maine — The second of two very weak tornadoes to touch down briefly during last weekend’s heavy thunderstorms left a 60-yard swath of snapped and uprooted trees, National Weather Service officials said Wednesday.

Weather service meteorologists discovered the damage during their survey of the woods of this Somerset County area following Sunday’s thunderstorms, said John Jensenius, a warning coordination meteorologist from the weather service office in Gray.

The tornado hit about 4:35 p.m. on Sunday with wind speeds topping out at 60 mph. The swath it cut was about 40 yards wide in thick woods near Pleasant Ridge Road about two miles west of Wyman Dam. A microburst of rainfall, by comparison, damaged several thousand trees in thick woods near Rangely, meteorologist Chris Legro said Wednesday.

The tornado “was definitely on the weaker side,” Legro said.

The first tornado, weather service workers confirmed, left a path about 50 yards wide and 80 yards long, about two miles north of Eagle Lake in Aroostook County on Sunday, said Corey Bogel, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Caribou. There were no reports of damage to structures.

The Eagle Lake tornado touched down briefly at about 3:05 p.m. and had winds about 70 mph — very slow by tornado standards. Apparently the microburst of rainfall and lightning that immediately followed did more damage than the tornado, Bogel said.

Warning coordination meteorologist Noelle Runyan said that the Eagle Lake twister uprooted several trees.

The last tornado confirmed to have touched down in Maine occurred on June 9, 2011. Several trees in Caribou were torn out and a barn was destroyed, officials said. Most Maine tornadoes are weak, with winds topping out at 75 mph, and typically lasting a few minutes before fading.

For now, meteorologists don’t see tornado conditions returning to Maine this week, though rainfall is likely to hit the state this weekend, Legro said. The heaviest concentration will likely fall in southwestern Maine overnight Friday into Saturday.

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