(WTNH) — Would it surprise you to learn there have only been four hurricanes to hit Connecticut directly over the past 100 years? It’s true. Let’s get into a little more detail, starting with the storm that’s most fresh in our memories — Isaias.
Tropical Storm Isaias hit August 4, 2020, in the middle of the pandemic. Very little rain fell, but the 60 to 70 mile per hour wind gusts caused three-quarters of a million power outages.
It also spawned the first-ever tornado – an EF-1 in Westport – to be associated with a tropical weather system in Connecticut. There was a similar loss of power eight years earlier with super Storm Sandy. It arrived in Connecticut in late October of 2012.
Initially, computer models had it going out to sea, but it took a sharp left turn, bringing a nine-foot storm surge that devastated the coasts of New Jersey, New York and Connecticut.
In late August 2011 Tropical Storm Irene’s 60-70 mph winds hit, knocking power out to over 800,000. The wind caused extensive flooding damage on the shore, while heavy rains caused widespread flooding across interior Connecticut.
Our most recent hurricane hit September 27, 1985. Early forecasts had Gloria arriving in Connecticut as a category 2 or 3 but fortunately, it weakened to a category one hurricane. It’s eye
crossed Westport at low tide, which spared the state from the kind of coastal damage seen in Irene and Sandy.
But there were still over 700,000 power outages. Before Gloria, there was Category 1 hurricane Donna. Donna came ashore in Old Saybrook on September 12, 1960. The rains and storm surge were significant in southeastern Connecticut.
Just five years before was a historic flood of 1955 that killed 87 Connecticut residents. It was caused by back-to-back heavy rains from two former hurricanes, Connie on August 12, 1955, followed by five days later by Diane.
Eighteen inches of rain fell. There was catastrophic property damage with entire neighborhoods and downtowns destroyed from the resulting flooding.
Just one year before, a Category 2 named Carol slammed into Groton in August of 1954. Southeastern Connecticut was hit hard, but the majority of western Connecticut was spared.
And then there is Connecticut’s worst natural disaster – the hurricane of 1938. A Category 3 that struck without warning, Hundreds of people across New England died. Victims of catastrophic coastal and inland flooding and ferocious winds. 115 miles per hour sustained winds at landfall near Milford with peak gusts over 150 miles per hour.
Weather records show that two other hurricanes of this magnitude struck Connecticut. One in 1815 and the other 1635. So the big questions are when will the next big one arrive in Connecticut and are we ready? Sadly the answer is no.
So join News 8 Meteorologist Joe Furey and Storm Team 8 this Friday at 4:30 pm for “Hurricane Season 2021: Prediction and Preparedness” for everything you need to know.