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Confirmed Tornado Touchdown in Marstons Mills Highlights the Importance of Situational Awareness and Emergency Preparedness

The National Weather Service has posted the following preliminary statement regarding a small EF-0 tornado that touched down in the town of Barnstable near the village of Marstons Mills today, August 8th, at 11:52 AM:

“The storm tracked ENE from Evergreen Drive for approximately four minutes before lifting over Joe Thompson Road at approximately 11:56 AM. The primary damage indicators were an uprooted hardwood tree and a downed electrical pole, supplemented by strewn debris inclusive of smaller trees, fence posts, and branches. The damage was most concentrated near the center of the track at the intersection of Race Lane and Osterville-West Barnstable Road. Witnesses described a chaotic event, observing airborne fence posts and branches.”

The enhanced Fujita Scale classifies an EF-0 as “weak” with 65 to 85 MPH winds.

Today’s severe weather event reminds us of how important it is to stay informed, heed emergency weather warnings, and most importantly, BE PREPARED.

Cape Cod is a unique place with many area-specific hazards that change throughout the seasons. As residents or visitors of Cape Cod, it is important to be aware of these potential hazards and prepare accordingly. Hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding, winter weather, hot weather, and radiation are all hazards that residents of Cape Cod are susceptible to and must prepare for. 

What does a well-prepared Cape Codder look like when a weather emergency occurs?

  • They are signed up for Wireless Emergency Alerts from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
  • When the emergency alert appears on their phone or other device, they take the time to read the alert in its entirety and take appropriate action. In the event of a tornado, that means taking shelter immediately in a basement or interior room on the lowest floor of a sturdy building. It means if they are outdoors, in a mobile home, or in a vehicle, they move to the closest substantial shelter to protect themselves from flying debris. The alert provides appropriate instruction based on the type of emergency.
  • They understand the difference between a watch and a warning. A watch means conditions are favorable for a weather event. A warning means the conditions are happening NOW.
  • They understand the basics of flooding and flood prevention on Cape Cod, which can be found at Coastal Processes – Flood & Erosion – Barnstable County ( They have purchased insurance protection that is appropriate for their specific situation and flood risk.
  • They have read the Homeowner’s Handbook to Prepare for Coastal Hazards.
  • They are familiar with They have an emergency “go” kit for their home and car, and an emergency plan for themselves, their family, and their pets. They’ve safeguarded critical documents and valuables and know where local emergency shelters are located. They have extra medications ready and accessible in case they need to quickly leave their home.

Barnstable County officials cannot reiterate enough the importance of emergency planning and preparedness in ensuring your safety and your family’s safety. Cape Cod’s resiliency in any emergency relies first and foremost on the readiness of its residents and visitors. A prepared community makes it easier for public officials and first responders to do their jobs (and do them well) when an emergency strikes! We hope that today’s tornado touchdown prompts you to contribute to community resiliency by being prepared for severe weather events and other hazards if and when they happen.


Here on Cape Cod, we are proud of our strong regional planning contingent known as the Barnstable County Regional Emergency Planning Committee (BCREPC). We are a coalition of law enforcement, fire service, health care, public health, public works, EMS, military, and numerous other affiliated agencies as outlined by the Massachusetts State Emergency Response Committee (SERC). 

The BCREPC represents all 15 towns of Barnstable County and Nantucket and meets monthly to provide updates, conduct trainings and presentations on current disaster management topics, and to hold an open discussion on a variety of emergency pre-planning subjects relevant to our region.