Wow – what an afternoon! For a few days we knew today had the potential to be very active and that’s indeed what happened. A combination of adequate instability and unusually strong wind shear (for Connecticut) resulted in a widespread damaging windstorm from Ridgefield to Jewett City.
The damage in Ridgefield was quite substantial. You can see an area of 60 knot winds showing up on radar only about 3,300 feet ARL.
The storm continued to produce damage over Redding, Monroe, Shelton, and Trumbull and then really picked up steam just north of New Haven. Over Hamden and Bethany at 4:21 p.m. you can see a noticeable eastward surge/bulge in the reflectivity likely due to a descending rear inflow jet.
By 4:35 p.m. an area of strong outbound velocities (in excess of 50 knots) near the Wallingford/Durham line had developed as the radar was sampling the RIJ quite well.
Most of the damage appears to be from this RIJ that descended to the ground at the lead edge of this “bow”. By the time the bow was over East Haddam and Salem the rear inflow jet was quite clear on radar (it probably would have been clear earlier but the jet was blowing perpendicular to the radar beam) with winds over 70 knots around 4,000 feet above the ground!
At the height of the storm near 60,000 customers were without power with Ridgefield, Newtown, Durham, Chester, Killingworth, Haddam, East Haddam, Portland, and East Hampton being some of the hardest hit towns. The damage even continued farther east into Lisbon where numerous trees were knocked down.
The setup for today’s severe weather was a classic one for southern New England. A plume of remnant elevated mixed layer air kept mid level lapse rates steep along with a strongly sheared wind profile (effective bulk shear values approached 50 knots!).