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Meteorologists Confirm Tornado Hit Area

July 25, 2008

Some saw a funnel cloud over Barrington Beach, while others saw a water spout on Narragansett Bay.

No matter what you saw, it was a small tornado that touched down and tore through Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts, National Weather Service meteorologists confirmed yesterday.

A service team spotted the waterspout forming off Rumstick Point in Barrington at 4 p.m. Wednesday. With powerful wind speeds of 65 to 75 mph, the tornado moved swiftly onto land toward the southern part of Warren, knocking down trees and power lines in its path. Heading eastward across the Kickemuit River, its destructive winds wreaked havoc in Swansea 10 minutes later.

The tornado traveled 4.2 miles and measured 40 yards wide. One section in Warren, near Route 136 and Harris Avenue, experienced winds estimated at 90 mph.

Forecasters initially thought the funnel cloud had not touched down, but a damage report released yesterday made them reconsider.

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