National Weather Service investigating whether tornadoes touched down in several Connecticut communities

Daniela Altimari, Hartford Courant on

Published in Weather News

HARTFORD, Conn. — Crews from the National Weather Service came to Branford, North Stonington and several other Connecticut communities Sunday to determine if a series of rare November tornadoes touched down in the state.

Late autumn tornadoes are extremely rare in southern New England; according to the weather service, none have been recorded in Connecticut or Rhode Island since 1950.

“Tornado time for southern New England is usually late May to early June. That’s when most of our tornadoes occur,’' said Rob Megnia, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service. New England occasionally sees tornadoes in late summer and early fall, when the rotating systems are associated with tropical storms.

A weather system that blew in Saturday afternoon spawned thunderstorms, damaging winds and locally heavy downpours across the state. About 1,760 people remain without power Sunday morning due to the storm, according to the outage map provided by Eversource Energy.

Crews from the weather service’s field offices in Boston and New York will be in Connecticut Sunday to determine whether a series of weak tornadoes touched down. Investigators will look at the pattern of wind damage as well as photos, videos and accounts of people who witnessed the storm.


The task can be especially challenging with weaker systems, such as the one that hit Connecticut Sunday. “It can be hard to distinguish if a tree came down from straight line winds or from a [weaker] tornado,’' Megnia said.

A team from the weather service office in Massachusetts is investigating possible tornado damage in North Stonington, Plainfield and parts of western Rhode Island, including Scituate and Westerly. A crew from the New York office is Branford and Guilford to determine in tornadoes touched down there.


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