30 Years Ago: One of Connecticut’s Worst Weather Events Ever
It started off like any other hot and humid July day, but by the time night fell, Connecticut had experienced one of the worst weather disasters in the states history. July 10, 1989, was a day that many from Sharon to New Haven will never forget.
Radio reports earlier in the day warned of severe thunderstorms, but no one was prepared for what actually occurred. 30 years ago to the day, a massive tornado outbreak ripped through Connecticut with heavy rain, intense lighting and baseball size hail. When it was over, trees were uprooted, power lines were down, and streets were blocked, and damage was estimated in the millions.
The first tornado touched down in the early afternoon in upstate New York west of Albany. That same supercell went on to produce the series of tornadoes that would hit Connecticut later that afternoon.
Seventeen tornadoes were confirmed that day by the National Weather Service, including two F4 tornadoes that struck Hamden and New Haven. Prior to that fateful July day, there had only been one F4 tornado ever recorded in Connecticut since tornado records were first kept in the 1950s.
The Hamden tornado caused the most damage, and was possibly the most powerful one too. At the Mohawk Mountain Ski Area, every ski lift was destroyed, with some lift chairs found miles away. According to wikipedia.org, the Hamden tornado touched down at 5:38 pm near the Wilbur Cross Parkway with violent winds up to 200 mph. Not long after that, another tornado touched down in Watertown cutting a path through Oakville and parts of Waterbury, damaging or destroying 150 homes. About the same time, another tornado, from the same system, struck the area between Carmel and Brewster injuring five people.
All in all, there were more than 575 people injured, one was killed, and nearly a thousand homes in the state were damaged or destroyed by the worst tornado outbreak in Connecticut history.
Here's at look at some raw video from WVIP-TV of the aftermath of the storm:
Here's a photo gallery of some of the 1989 tornado damage: