NEW FAIRFIELD, CT — The severe storms, and possibly tornadoes, that rampaged through parts of Connecticut Tuesday afternoon resulted in the death of two people, including a woman who was killed when a tree fell on her vehicle while her 3-year-old passenger was inside. Somehow, miraculously, the child wasn’t injured.
The woman, 41, was killed when the tree fell on her vehicle on Brush Hill Road in New Fairfield around 5 p.m. The victim’s name hasn’t been released at this time. Another person was killed after a tree fell on his truck in the Candlewood Lake section of Danbury during Tuesday’s powerful storm, Fox 61 reports. The Hartford Courant adds that the man was working outside as the storm approached and took shelter in his truck. The man’s name also hasn’t been released.
A young man was seriously injured after the roof of a baseball dugout at Henry Abbott Technical High School blew off and struck him, according to reports.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said “Those who are still without electricity should plan for long-term outages.”
Eversource says, “Customers in the hardest hit areas near Danbury and Newtown may be without power for multiple days. Town-by-town restoration estimates are now available here. We expect to have statewide projections for remaining towns later this evening.” (Click here to see when your power is expected to return, if you are an Eversource customer.)
Malloy also announced that the Connecticut Insurance Department has activated its emergency adjuster program that allows insurance companies to quickly register their out-of-state adjusters and bring them into the state to help with claims of property and auto damage. Malloy said activating this protocol will help expedite the many anticipated claims resulting from the severe storms.
“We want to make sure that homeowners get help as quickly as possible from their insurance companies,” Insurance Commissioner Katharine Wade said. “By activating this program, insurance companies are able to quickly get more help on the ground where it’s most needed.”
Insurance companies seeking to register their adjusters can access the emergency program online at this link. Residents and business who have insurance questions and concerns related to property damage can contact the Connecticut Insurance Department at firstname.lastname@example.org. The department also has an FAQ on storm damage available on their website.
National Weather Service Visits Several CT Towns To Assess Storm Damage
Meteorologists Tuesday night said a tornado did touch down in the Oxford and Southbury area as numerous trees and power lines were knocked down. The National Weather Service sent a team to Connecticut to investigate and not just Oxford and Southbury.
They are checking these towns: “The second team will be assessing the damage in Connecticut, particularly the towns of Brookfield, Danbury, New Milford, Newtown, Oxford, Ridgefield, Southbury, Winstead, Bethany, Hamden, Cheshire and Durham.” (See storm photos from throughout Connecticut here.)
We’ll know later on if in fact there was an official tornado or tornadoes that occurred in Connecticut.
A Tornado Warning was issued for parts of Hartford, Litchfield, New Haven, Fairfield, and Middlesex counties on Tuesday afternoon.
The Carnage Left Behind
The town of Brookfield declared a disaster and Malloy visited the town on Wednesday to survey the damage firsthand. First Selectman Steve Dunn has cautioned, “Every single street has trees down. Most of our roads are impassable. We have dozens of downed power lines that have to get cleared up.”
The “Brookfield Tornado” shot in the CostCo parking lot there, credit Carolyn Russo.
Southbury and Oxford officials say they are in recovery mode and trying to get downed trees and power lines removed. Southbury declared a local state of emergency Wednesday afternoon as 98 percent of the town is in the dark.
Several trees were knocked down in Greenwich Tuesday, including one near Town Hall that led to the government building losing power for a spell Tuesday on Field Point Road. The road was temporarily closed but has since been reopened, and power was restored to Town Hall in time for it to open on schedule on Wednesday.
In West Granby, weather icon Brad Field reported that the back window of his son’s car was smashed by a barrage of hail. In Somers, what authorities were describing as a “possible microburst” uprooted a large tree. Tolland county fire officials sent an engine to Brookfield to assist with the cleanup efforts in that end of the state.
The north-central region of Hartford County was mainly spared from considerable damage. Some large hail fell in higher elevation areas such as Granby, but generally the area was limited in damage compared to the rest of the state.
Residents in northern Hamden can’t travel in certain areas because so many trees are down. Officials say trees have fallen on five houses. Two trees have fallen on Hill Street homes. The other damaged homes are on Shepard Avenue, Sunwood Circle and Westminster Street. There are several disabled motor vehicles scattered throughout the town, due to fallen trees.
Ridgefield Police are encouraging residents to exercise extreme caution when traveling, as numerous roads remain closed in town due to trees and wires blocking them. Danbury Police set up a storm shelter. Guilford Police also say the northern section of town got hit very hard by this storm. Severe storm damage was also reported in Wallingford with numerous tress knocked down there as well.
In Northford a tree fell on the house of Laura and Michael Burns and nearly struck Michael, who was sitting in a chair, WTNH News 8 reports. A 50-foot oak tree fell through their home and Michael told News 8 that “I was lying on the ground and crawling across the living room floor on my hands and knees.”
Tuesday’s powerful storm managed to destroy a barn, greenhouses and more at Clover Nook Farm on Fairwood Road in Bethany. According to a post on their Facebook page, the Bethany farm “got a direct hit” by the tornado, which resulted in a greenhouse being thrown into a second one. The farm’s old store/storage barn was also “completely destroyed” by the winds, as well as tractors and equipment.
“We are blessed to all be alive,” the post said. “Mom, Dad and I were locking down the greenhouse when it hit, the second greenhouse took off and landed on top of the greenhouse we were in.”
The state has shut down these seven parks due to the storm damage: Sleeping Giant State Park in Hamden, Chatfield Hollow State Park in Killingworth, Kettletown State Park in Southbury, Southford Falls State Park in Oxford, Squantz Pond State Park in New Fairfield, Putnam Memorial State Park in Redding, and Wharton Brook State Park in Wallingford.
A widely anticipated food truck festival scheduled for this weekend at Hubbard Park in Meriden has been canceled.
Act Of Kindness
An unaffiliated candidate running for Governor in Connecticut is offering to help residents who have been impacted by Tuesday’s storm. On his Facebook page, Micah Welintukonis 4 Governor #Micah4CT posts,
“Anyone in Naugatuck/ Oxford area know where it’s the worst? I have a bunch of water and my chainsaw. You can also text or call my cell 860-682-0233 Thanks.”
Several residents have shared locations that need help. One person wrote, “This is exactly why I’m voting for you! You’re a good man and neighbor. No doubt you’d be doing the same things once elected!”
Photo credit: Deb Sabia, Scott Street by Arch Street in Naugatuck
Patch editors Chris Dehnel, Tim Jensen, Al Branch, RJ Scofield, Rich Kirby, and Vincent Salzo all contributed to this story.