CLAREMONT, N.H. — It has been a fairly quiet start to severe weather season in New England, but the first tornado has officially been confirmed. This is the second year in a row where the first confirmed tornado happened in northern New England.
For reference, most severe weather occurs between June and August in Maine and New Hampshire.
On Monday evening, a cold front swept through and brought a line of strong thunderstorms with it.
There was just enough shear in the atmosphere to allow a brief spin-up. Shear, which measures how wind changes as you go higher in the atmosphere, is one of the main ingredients for severe weather.
The tornado was on the ground for 4.8 miles and touched down near North Charlestown, New Hampshire.
It moved north, heading toward the city of Claremont.
The tornado lifted as it approached city limits. NWS Gray said over 1,000 trees were snapped or uprooted from the tornado.
The Enhanced-Fujita scale, or EF scale, is based off of damage. Damage is used to estimate maximum wind gusts within the storm.
The tornado was rated EF-1 with maximum wind gusts around 90 mph.
Most of the tornadoes that we see locally are in the EF-0 to EF-1 range, with a handful of EF-2 ratings here or there.
In Maine, there has never been a tornado that received a rating of EF-3 or higher.
The only recorded tornado in New England so far this year is the one in New Hampshire. Southern New England usually has a risk of severe weather earlier than we do in northern New England.
Given the forecast for the next week or so, it looks unlikely that we will be talking about severe weather any time soon.
Last year, despite some active weather days with tornado potential, all of the surveyed damage was from straight-line wind. Before that, the last tornado recorded in Maine was in July 2020 near Sebago.
Still, it has been away since anything has come close to Maine's tornado outbreak in July of 2017.
Maine sees two tornadoes per year on average.
As an interesting and somewhat related aside, NWS Gray has only ever issued two tornado warnings after Aug. 31.
The September warning was issued last year in 2021. The October warning was issued in 2020.
RELATED: NEWS CENTER Maine Weather Forecast