GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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July 2, 2013

Dodging a bullet

Cape Ann escapes brunt of storms, tornado warnings

ESSEX — A series of storms, complete with rotation sightings that triggered a series of tornado warnings from the National Weather Service, rumbled across Cape Ann and created some anxious moments across the North Shore Monday.

But despite reports of sleet and pellets of hail in Essex, and surface flooding on roadways — including on Route 128 off Causeway Street just south of the A. Piatt Andrew Bridge — Cape Ann dodged the meteorological bullet.

From kayaks and dinghies on Conomo Point, to lawn chairs left out on Story Street, there was little to no damage caused by storms yesterday, despite tornado warnings that spurred emergency broadcast service messages and cell-phone texts from just before 3 p.m. to 4:30.

On Story Street, Erik L’Italien was sitting on his front steps as his mother, Gerri Konopka, popped her head out to give updates she was getting from TV news coverage.

“It’s going to hit at 4:23,” she said.

But while there were reports of funnel clouds passing over head, the worst weather Essex received was rain, sleet, minor flooding and swirling water.

“I don’t know what they are warning me for,” L’Italien said. “There is nothing out there.”

He said he had been in touch with friends from Danvers and the surrounding area, warning him of an oncoming tornado that was expected to hit Essex at the time.

“I’m in Essex, this is where it’s supposed to be,” he said.

Nearby, Susan St. Pierre was outside with her dog, and was on her way back from Dunkin Donuts when she first heard the news of the expected tornado.

St. Pierre jokingly said she was considering changing her dog’s name from Murphy to Toto, in honor of the dog in “The Wizard of Oz” that broke free in the face of the approaching Kansas twister.

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