Sunny Sherman asks:
Do you know anything about a tornado hitting Saugatuck Shores last night around 9?
How else to explain a 220-pound teak table blowing off a 2nd floor deck into a pine tree about 25 feet off the ground?!
There are no official reports of a tornado — though a tornado warning was issued for southern Fairfield County during that time.
Strong winds and heavy rain knocked out power to more than 30,000 Eversource customers statewide.
Roseville Road is closed in its entirety due to downed wires. So is Coleytown Road, near #6.
At 7 a.m., that included 878 customers in Westport, and 887 in Weston — 7 and 22% of all customers in those towns, respectively. Those were the highest numbers in the state, behind Darien and Norwalk.
Among the customers without power: the “06880” office (aka “my home”). Eversource had no estimate of when it would be restored.
No comment from Eversource for my house either. No sign of any downed wires or poles and no trucks in the area as of 7 am
It’s possible there was a tornado, the tornado warning was issued specifically for parts of Greenwich and then was allowed to expire at 9pm as the storm moved south over the Long Island Sound, so it’s possible that Saugatuck Shores saw some rotating wind from that storm cell. Straight line wind can also cause major damage, there was a 76MPH wind gust in Greenwich from last night’s storm so it’s possible that straight line wind at the right direction caused that damage as well. (Wind gusts from NBC CT’s chief meteorologist Ryan Hanrahan: https://twitter.com/ryanhanrahan/status/1328181613298061312)
Sustained gale force winds (which were the forecast) can do it.
A tornado is not the only thing that can move things as Brandon has mentioned, straight line wind can also do it. My understanding is there was some rotation identified in NJ and Westchester but as the storm made its into CT, no reports of rotation. You’d likely see more damage including snapped trees and damage to homes if it was a fully formed tornado. I looked at the base reflectivity radar images and did see three potential extreme indications as the storm approached. Two were more north of us and one was headed straight for us for a brief moment (but storm was still in Westchester). Weather folks tend to look at radar for TDS: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tornado_debris_signature but that is admittedly beyond my abilities but would be cool to find a website or data feed that shows the different reflectivity so one can try to draw their own conclusion.
What is most concerning is the weather station that serves our area (OKX in Upton NY on Long Island) is blocked by a water tower and/or smoke stack. If you ever look at the single-station radar (not composite), you will see that our area is NOT properly covered by OKX’s radar. How no one has fought to correct this in 2020 is mind boggling. Perhaps Dan Woog has interest in posting this topic as a separate blog post?
What is also concerning is emergency alerts continue to be hit or miss. During this storm the emergency alerts were non-existent or inconsistent among our cell phones in our household. One phone got a tornado warning, the other severe thunderstorm, and the third nothing. I only happened to see the Tornado warning as I was monitoring the weather on my computer.
In the future, I’d secure furniture with anchors when there is a storm warning like we had Sunday. I secured my property earlier in the day due to the forecast/alerts and expectation of high wind. If you use a ground stake, make sure it can’t be pulled out. Some folks will create cement anchors that they can tie their property down with ropes to the anchors.
And the reason you want to secure the furniture is not only to save the furniture itself but prevent it from becoming a projectile that can cause significant property damage or hurt/kill someone. I’ve seen tables just like that one end up on top of cars, go through fences, and into people’s homes.
We’re right over the line in Fairfield, and got several warnings on the TV. They interrupted a program on Netflix, then when we switched back to regular cable, another warning was broadcast. We didn’t lose power, but there are many branches and big limbs that are scattered around. Our driveway is blocked.