TEWKSBURY — On Tuesday July 23, three tornadoes touched down on Cape Cod. Touching down primarily in Yarmouth, Harwich, and Dennis, the tornadoes left behind clear evidence of their existence. While there were no injuries reported, the tornadoes caused much physical damage in the form of fallen trees and branches, and high-volume power outages throughout the affected areas.
According to weather forecasters, the tornadoes had wind speeds up to 110 miles per hour, and moved at about 35 miles per hour. Ranked as EF1 tornadoes, roughly 50,000 people on Cape Cod were left without power. Dennis, Harwich, and Chatham were the Cape Cod Communities with the most power outages.
Prior to these tornados, only three other tornadoes have occurred in the Cape’s history according to the National Weather Service, none of which caused serious damage.
Among those affected by the tornadoes was former Tewksbury Deputy Fire Chief John Cuneo. Cuneo’s home, as well as his small Fire/Police/EMS collectibles shop, The Fire Bell, were located right in the tornado’s path in West Dennis, close to the Yarmouth town line and down the street from the Bass River, where onlookers were able to observe the formation of one tornado.
Although Cuneo still had power at the end of the storm, his property suffered much physical damage, as large tree limbs and branches fell from the surrounding trees, and some shingles blew off of his garage and home. While the house and shop themselves were not harmed, the tree limbs and debris completely blocked off the shop door to customers, with the pile of fallen branches almost reaching the second floor window in height.
While Cuneo was able to open for business again just days after the storm, some other local businesses were not as lucky. In response to the tornadoes and the damage they caused to several Cape Cod businesses, Governor Charlie Baker’s office announced a $1 million dollar emergency loan fund that will provide emergency funds to local small businesses to help with operations and repairs.
Additionally, the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism will dedicate $100,000 to the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce in order to launch a new marketing and public relations initiative to help promote Cape businesses.
"As the recovery process continues through the region, our administration remains committed to supporting Cape Cod's small business and tourism sector during this difficult time," Governor Baker said.