Hundreds of Roads Impassable, Schools Closed, 90,000 Without Power After Deadly Storm Hits Connecticut
by Nicholas Rondinone and Matthew Ormseth, Hartford Courant
May 16, 2018
As the storm moved into Connecticut, the National Weather Service issued tornado warnings – meaning a tornado was occurring or about to occur – in five of the state’s eight counties. The NWS will spend the next few days determining whether a tornado actually hit the state, or if it was simply a violent thunderstorm. Two residents of Brookfield, however, said they thought they saw the funnel of a tornado early Tuesday evening.
In Hamden, emergency crews found roads so impassable they resorted to using TV vehicles to respond to medical calls, Mayor Curt Leng said. “We are having many, many issues throughout town,” he wrote in an email. Busy Route 10 was closed in both directions, halting traffic through the morning rush hour.
In the northern part of Hamden, fallen trees trapped some residents in their homes and blocked off most of the roads. Many of the downed trees were entangled in wires that needed to be deactivated by utility companies, Leng said.
Cheshire police Chief Neil Dryfe said some of his officers ferried firefighters into a Hamden neighborhood in a police cruiser to respond to a propane leak, because the fallen trees and lines made bringing in a truck impossible.
Dryfe said about 20 streets were “totally impassable.”
“It’s as bad as I’ve seen it here since that October snowstorm five or six years back,” he said.
Gary Lessor, chief meteorologist at the Western Connecticut State University’s Weather Center, said two lines of powerful thunderstorms moved into Connecticut Tuesday afternoon. The arrived in Litchfield County about 3 p.m. and moved east toward Granby and Somers, where it weakened. On the way, it dropped damaging hail and rain, with strong winds.
At the height of the storm, 122,000 homes were without power.
A second line of storms moved across Danbury, Brookfield, New Fairfield, Newtown and Southbury and continued east, causing extensive tree and wind damage as it continued through the Naugatuck Valley and into Cheshire, Hamden and Wallingford.
East of Hartford, the storm fronts combined and moved into eastern Connecticut, causing damage as far east as Ashford, Pomfret, Woodstock, Plainfield, Lessor said.
Through the storm, some people in northern Connecticut reported seeing hail the size of baseballs — a rare occurence in Connecticut. A Norfolk man’s windshield was shattered in the process.
Bradley International Airport briefly grounded all flights after evacuating its Air Traffic Control Tower at around 4:30 p.m., but the airport reopened the tower a half-hour later and resumed flight operations.
Metro-North’s New Haven Line trains returned to a limited service with heavy delays at about 7:30 p.m. Fallen trees on the Waterbury and Danbury branches caused delays.
It’s pretty much supposed to rain continuously until Sunday.
Not that other people haven’t had it worse, here in Stars Hollow the lights never even flickered. This is, however, fair warning that I am decamping to Stars Hollow North, traveling Friday, for an indeterminate period to conduct some business and determine how it survived the incredibly cold winter (so cold that in fact it was uninhabitable).
It may take 10 days, it may take 2 weeks. During this period blogging could be suckier than usual.