Tornadoes confirmed in Scituate, Johnston and Smithfield, Rhode Island

JOHNSTON, R.I. – The National Weather Service (NWS) confirmed that tornadoes touched down in Scituate, Johnston and Smithfield, Rhode Island on Friday morning, where residents are surveying and cleaning up the damage left behind.

It took a mere 30 seconds to bring down many trees along Byron Randall Road in Scituate. Tree tops were sheared and roof shingles were also blown off.

“We grabbed the kids, he has three children, we ran down in their basement, and probably 30 seconds it lasted,” said Sandy O’Leary, who lives in Scituate. “The house shook, the garage doors were shaking.” 

“Next thing you know, it sounded like somebody was running through the house with a freight train,” said Devin O’Leary.

George Viau, who was driving on Route 295 in Johnston at the time, said he passed a car that got flipped by the strong winds.

“The tornado comes down, it touches down, when it touches down, it touches down on a vehicle, and it took the vehicle, it twisted the vehicle,” said Viau.

Russell Maranhao was trying to cut away limbs from falling trees when he said he heard the storm coming and got his kids to safety in time.

“I told the kids, OK, I think it’s going to hit, and all of a sudden, it got really strong to a point,” said Maranhao. “Windows started to rattle, I told the kids, rush, go in the basement now.”

Across the street from Maranhao, a trailered boat was pushed 50 yards onto a neighboring lawn. And over at the nearly Highland Memorial Park Cemetery, a roof was blown off and hundreds of trees were uprooted.

“I never thought I’d see anything like that in Rhode Island, you know, we’re not in Kansas,” said Viau.

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