A possible tornado was spotted moving through Coventry into Mansfield Wednesday evening as storms moved across the state, dumping heavy rain, knocking down trees and power lines and prompting tornado warnings in Tolland and Windham counties.
The National Weather Service said it was gathering information on a possible tornado and planned to send a survey team on Thursday to investigate. The team will investigate damage in two areas: in Tolland and in the Andover-Coventry-Storrs area.
If a tornado is confirmed, it would be the fourth this month; three others were confirmed during a series of storms on July 1.
The tree damages caused some minor power outages, mainly in Coventry and Andover.
In addition to downing trees and wires, Wednesday’s storm knocked down a barn at the Melody Farm at 1000 South St.
Dudley Brand of South Street said he and his son, Jeffrey, were watching storm coverage on television when their dog began “acting a little freaky.” He got up to walk outside, figuring that the dog “senses something.”
“Just as I was walking out the door I heard a pop, and then I heard this really loud freight train kind of noise, fast moving,” Brand said. “I could see the funnel cloud and it was pulling the metal panels off the barn up in the air.”
Brand said the 10-foot panels were swept so high that they looked like roof shingles in the sky, he said.
“It was very fast moving and it went in a direct line,” he said of the funnel cloud. “It was heading right towards Windham Airport.”
The storm was moving so quickly that Jeffrey Brand did not make it outside in time to see the barn panels in the sky, his father said.
“This barn was probably 40 by 60 feet,” Dudley Brand said. “It was a good size structure.”
He said he believes no livestock were inside.
UConn student Nick Stanczyc captured a photo of a funnel cloud moving across Coventry and into Mansfield about 5:45 p.m. He was at the intersections of routes 31 and 32 near the Mansfield-Coventry border.
Stanczyc, of Avon, was at work at Eastern Connecticut Wine and Spirits in Mansfield when he noticed that a group of people had stopped in the store’s parking lot and were looking north. He went outside, noticed the funnel cloud and had enough time to snap two photos before it was gone.
“It was moving pretty quick,” he said. “It probably lasted 10 or 15 seconds [then] moved out of view.”
Stanczyc said he saw some debris in the air, but added, “I couldn’t hear anything from it.”
The National Weather Service and local officials reported several trees down at Mountain Spring Road near Old Post Road in Tolland, several trees down near South Street and Bunker Hill Road in Coventry and trees down on Depot Road in Mansfield, and wires down along Route 195 in Mansfield.
The heavy rain caused flash flooding on poorly drained streets in Hartford and brought traffic to a crawl on I-91 and I-84 Wednesday evening.
More scattered thunderstorms are predicted for Thursday, which could produce heavy rain, as well as flooding in poor-drainage areas, according to FOX CT meteorologist Rachel Frank.
The weather service confirmed three tornadoes in Connecticut on July 1. Two were from the same storm, touching down in Windsor and then in Enfield, that afternoon, the weather service said. Earlier in the day, a tornado was confirmed in Greenwich and Stamford.
The first tornado tore across Windsor, Windsor Locks and East Windsor, knocking trees and power lines, destroying an inflatable sports dome and ripping tobacco netting from fields along Kennedy Road in Windsor and carrying them into Windsor Locks and across the Connecticut River and I-91 and into East Windsor.
By Dave Owens, Hartford Courant