Boston, MA

This Day In History: Tornadoes Blow Roof Off Cape Cod Inn & Cause Extensive Damage

Dianna Carney

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Damage on Cape Cod after a tornado struck on July 23, 2019The Boston Globe

From whale-watching expeditions to watching a live performance at the Cape Playhouse, summer on Cape Cod can be exciting. Unfortunately, three years ago today guests vacationing in Yarmouth at the Cape Sands Inn had an exhilarating experience most of us hope to never experience.

"The roof was just lifted up . . . like a blanket,” said Jason Couse to the Boston Globe back in 2019, said. “The scariest thing I’ve ever been through.”

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Damage on Cape Cod after a tornado struck on July 23, 2019The Boston Globe

“I’ve never actually seen the roof fly off before — it was terrifying,” said Diane Martin, another guest who was staying at Cape Sands Inn back in 2019.

Prior to July 23, 2019, Cape Cod had only documented three tornadoes. Within 20 minutes, Cape Cod saw two tornadoes hit with maximum speeds reaching 110 mph. One tornado touchdown was for 10-minutes in Southeast Barnstable/Yarmouth, leaving behind a 5.5-mile path, 250 yards wide. The other tornado touchdown was for 5-minutes in Harwich, leaving a 2.8-mile path, 250 yards wide.

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On This Day in Weather History: July 23, 2019. we remember the Cape Cod tornadoes which were rated EF-1.US National Weather Service Boston MA / Facebook

There was also extensive "straight line wind damage" which was originally classified as a tornado and has since been declassified as one. This straight line wind damage affected Dennis and West Harwich, as well as Chatham.

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Damage on Cape Cod after a tornado struck on July 23, 2019WBUR / The Associated Press

Fortunately, there were no deaths or injuries resulting from the two high-end EF-1 tornadoes that occurred on July 23, 2019.

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Damage on Cape Cod after a tornado struck on July 23, 2019CNN

Power restoration took 2-days and 12 hours due to debris from the storm being so extensive that additional debris removal teams and equipment had to be deployed to the area. The debris removal mission was reported by the Massachusetts government to take up to 30-days after the storm.

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