Thursday, August 30, 2012

Mansfield Connecticut Tornado?

The eastern end of the worst of the possible tornado damage. Photo from August 29, 2012, the day after the storm. Attention, Nipmuck Trail crews! 

I was out of town for the big thunderstorms on Tuesday morning, but when I returned in the afternoon there had been an inch or so of rain, and some boards and buckets around the yard were blown over. I didn't think much more about it until Wednesday evening, when a walk in the nearby woods revealed an area of trees that had been knocked down or had their crowns snapped off.

The worst destruction is in a more or less circular spot, perhaps 200 feet across, just west of the Lion's Club Memorial soccer field. Some very large trees were uprooted, including a really beautiful old Eastern White Pine with a trunk a good three feet in diameter. Within the circular blowdown, the trees seem to have been mainly knocked outwards from the center, and every mature tree was wrecked. The destruction continues in a more subdued fashion to the east, where some branches were down and blown out into the soccer fields, and to the northwest, where there were scattered broken branches and downed trees in a path stretching to Chaffeeville Road, about half a mile away.

 The view into the center of the windthrow.

There doesn't seem to have been any news coverage of wind damage in Mansfield. The downed trees were confined to a wooded part of town that is mostly state park land and UConn research forest, and it doesn't seem that any houses or power lines were hit. The worst of it happened out of sight of the roads. I wonder what exactly happened: was it a tornado or microburst? Or maybe a mini-Tunguska blast? ;) Where would you even report something like this?

The soccer fields got away with fairly minor disruption, although this spot is not more than 500 feet or so from the heart of the blowdown.


A Novel said...

I agree, i was going by chaffeeville road for a few days, and i kept thinking that someone was doing some logging well after closer inspection i noticed the trees came up with the roots/tops ripped off/trees leaning heavily....must have been some very heavy winds, tornado-esque indeed!

Matt said...

The parks department has cleared the trees from the wood roads and hiking trails near the soccer fields, but last I checked the Nipmuck Trail along the Fenton River (near the damage you can see from Chaffeeville) was pretty much impassible, though you can pretty easily walk around the blocked section through a hayfield.