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UPDATED: Powerful Storms Pass Through

Milford is no longer under a tornado watch. Massachusetts had several confirmed tornadoes Wednesday.

UPDATED: Milford and surrounding areas were no longer threatened by strong storms late Wednesday night, as a tornado watch in place for Worcester County expired at 11 p.m, according to the National Weather Service.

For more than six hours Wednesday, Milford was part of a region that was under a tornado watch, or the more severe tornado warning.

The passing lines of storms brought torrential rain and lightning strikes to Milford, and caused some street flooding.

Gov. Deval Patrick at 7:20 p.m. Wednesday issued a state of emergency in Massachusetts, and asked people to stay off the roads. He was planning to visit communities in Western Massachusetts, hard-hit by a line of storms.

In Milford, the volatile weather unnerved many residents, and resulted in cancellation of after-school events for Milford Public Schools.

By 7:30 p.m., people were venturing out, and patronizing restaurants and other businesses, including , which had a steady flow of takeout customers and deliveries.

Earlier, the quick turn in the skies and temperatures sent many people scrambling for cover. At the , a small crew of employees watched the skies nervously. Anne Caggiano, of Milford, arrived at 5:45 p.m., having left her job a little early in Worcester to join her daughter, an employee of the Milford donut shop.

Caggiano's daughter, Nicole Patterson, had called her mother, apprehensive about the weather. Caggiano said the skies in Worcester were fearsome when she left. They soon would be in Milford, too.

"It was just dark, dark, dark, behind me," she said, of the drive to Milford. Worcester was among the many locations in central and western Massachusetts that had reports of tornadoes Wednesday.

When the weather turned bleak, as a line of storms approached, the donut shop lost its satellite TV. When small hail started falling, employees nervously looked out the windows. A family of four, including two children, decided to stop their commute home and stopped at the store, entering for shelter.

Employee Jen Mickel, 29, gave the kids some Munchkins. "They just wanted to be safe," she said, of the family, who did not want to be interviewed.

According to the National Weather Service, a tornado watch means conditions “are favorable for tornadoes and severe thunderstorms in and close to the watch area. Persons in these areas should be on the lookout for threatening weather conditions and listen to later statements for possible warnings."

In the event of a tornado, the National Weather Service has advised the following:

In a house with a basement: Avoid windows. Get in the basement and under some kind of sturdy protection (heavy table or work bench), or cover yourself with a mattress or sleeping bag. Know where very heavy objects rest on the floor above (pianos, refrigerators, waterbeds, etc.) and do not go under them. They may fall down through a weakened floor and crush you.

In a house with no basement, a dorm, or an apartment: Avoid windows. Go to the lowest floor, small center room (like a bathroom or closet), under a stairwell, or in an interior hallway with no windows. Crouch as low as possible to the floor, facing down; and cover your head with your hands.

In an office building, hospital, nursing home or skyscraper: Go directly to an enclosed, windowless area in the center of the building -- away from glass and on the lowest floor possible. Then, crouch down and cover your head. Interior stairwells are usually good places to take shelter, and if not crowded, allow you to get to a lower level quickly.

In a mobile home: Get out! Even if your home is tied down, you are probably safer outside, even if the only alternative is to seek shelter out in the open. Most tornadoes can destroy even tied-down mobile homes; and it is best not to play the low odds that yours will make it. If your community has a tornado shelter, go there fast.

At school: Follow the drill! Go to the interior hall or room in an orderly way as you are told. Crouch low, head down, and protect the back of your head with your arms. Stay away from windows and large open rooms like gyms and auditoriums.

In a car or truck: Vehicles are extremely dangerous in a tornado. If the tornado is visible, far away, and the traffic is light, you may be able to drive out of its path by moving at right angles to the tornado. Otherwise, park the car as quickly and safely as possible -- out of the traffic lanes. Get out and seek shelter in a sturdy building.

In the open outdoors: If possible, seek shelter in a sturdy building. If not, lie flat and face-down on low ground, protecting the back of your head with your arms. Get as far away from trees and cars as you can; they may be blown onto you in a tornado.

Danielle Horn June 01, 2011 at 09:34 PM
I saw on Channel 7 if it continues along this route, it'll hit Milford at 5:48. I'm in my basement; are you in yours?
Danielle Horn June 01, 2011 at 10:02 PM
OK so 5:48 has passed - no tornado in this area yet but boy is it ominous looking. Editor Mary MacDonald is at the Dunkin' Donuts 0n Main Street, prepared to run into the cooler for safety if she needs to! (We just spoke.) Not too thrilled about this weather - I thought the trade off for horrible winters is that we shouldn't have to deal with this.
Kat June 01, 2011 at 10:17 PM
I was on 395 north heading into worcester....I was in Auburn and you could see debris flying around us...this was between 5:20-5:30
Charlie Schnapps June 01, 2011 at 10:21 PM
If only a tornado could hit dilapidated buildings exclusively, as long as there are no people in them, of course. Or pets. Seeing the damage this has done in Springfield, that doesn't seem to be the way it works, unfortunatley.
wendy June 01, 2011 at 10:29 PM
We designed a unique pendant with the universal tornado symbol with proceeds going to the American Red Cross to help the Joplin victims. I think we now need to include our own state in the fund-raising efforts. Today has been wild in Worcester County!
Mary MacDonald (Editor) June 01, 2011 at 10:49 PM
A tornado warning remains in place for parts of Worcester County. National Weather Service is tracking another tornado in Springfield, headed east.
Danielle Horn June 01, 2011 at 11:05 PM
Joan, this is a site for Milford news only, but I'm watching Channel 7 and there has been no specific mention of Dudley - there is a current tornado warning (worse than a watch) for Southern Worcester County, though, and they have mentioned Sturbridge and Southbridge.
Mary MacDonald (Editor) June 01, 2011 at 11:35 PM
The National Weather Service is continuing to track the volatile weather. Tornado warnings are in place for northern and southern Worcester Co. This means find shelter.
Danielle Horn June 01, 2011 at 11:47 PM
Latest update: tornado heading toward Upton (7:50 p.m.)
Mary MacDonald (Editor) June 02, 2011 at 12:46 AM
If you have interesting weather photos from this afternoon's storms, please email them to me at mary.macdonald@patch.com
Sarah elizabeth June 02, 2011 at 01:35 AM
Does this mean schools are closed tomorrow???
Mary MacDonald (Editor) June 02, 2011 at 01:48 AM
Not at this point. We haven't heard any cancellations.
Karen Raleigh June 02, 2011 at 02:23 AM
Good reporting tonight, Mary. I was happy to have the updates when my satellite went out!
Mary MacDonald (Editor) June 02, 2011 at 03:30 AM
A scary day for sure!

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