Updated: Monday, 06 Jul 2009, 12:07 PM EDT
Published : Sunday, 05 Jul 2009, 11:12 AM EDT
New Haven (WTNH) - Twenty years ago an F4 tornado touched down in Hamden, ripping houses from their foundations in a part of the country that rarely sees such weather. It was an afternoon that Storm Team 8 Meteorologist Dr. Mel Goldstein says he'll never forget.
"I never saw the sky get so dark in the afternoon," Dr. Mel recalled. "Midnight dark at 5:30. I was weather anchoring, Mark Davis was anchoring the news, and I said 'Mark, I never saw the sky get so dark as it is right now,' and he said 'Dr. Mel, I never saw you perspire on the air as you are perspiring right now.'"
On July 10, 1989, a massive storm system tore through the Northwest corner into Hamden and then across Long Island Sound. It was the longest swarm of tornadoes that ever hit Connecticut in the history of the state, levelling houses, dumping torrential rain, and whipping trees around with gusty winds wherever it went.
When it reached the Newhallville section of Hamden the tornado touched down. It was an unprecedented event in Connecticut weather history.
"There never was anything like that," said Dr. Mel. "This had winds over 200 miles per hour... It was the kind of tornado that Dorothy is familiar with in Kansas."
Dr. Mel said as hard as it is to believe we do have a "mini-Tornado Alley" right here in Connecticut that goes through the Northwest corner, through the central part of the state and into Long Island Sound, the exact path the 1989 storm took.
"When you look at the population density that exists in Connecticut, it doesn't take much to cause tremendous damage."
To read the New Haven Register's full article on Dr. Mel's experience during the Tornado of 1989, go to their Web site at www.nhregister.com.
[Editor's note: This story has been edited to correct date of storm. Our apologies for the confusion.]