FRAMINGHAM, Mass. (AP) _ Gov. Deval Patrick says the National Weather Service has now confirmed at least three tornadoes were responsible for the severe damage caused in western and central Massachusetts.

The governor briefed reporters on Thursday at the headquarters of the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency in Framingham. He returned after touring devastated areas by air and on the ground.

Patrick says the state of emergency has been narrowed to eight or nine communities that suffered the most extensive damage. About 10 others are reporting some lesser level of damage.

Among the hardest hit was West Springfield, where Patrick said 88 homes or buildings are considered total losses.

The governor says some 290 people remain in emergency shelters around the state _ about half as many who sought shelter immediately after the storms.

     (Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)


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