A severe thunderstorm accompanied by strong winds took down trees and utility poles throughout the Meriden area Tuesday, knocking out power for thousands of customers and closing local roads.
About 4:45 p.m., a severe storm capable of producing a tornado was tracked over the Danbury area. The storm was moving east at 55 mph, and reached south-central Connecticut about 5:15 p.m.
Gary Lessor, meteorologist with the Weather Center at Western Connecticut State University, said the Meriden area was one of three concentrations for severe weather, including heavy rain and wind gusts up to 60 mph.
About 2,500 power outages were reported in Meriden and 3,200 outages in Cheshire, according to Eversource Energy. Information on Southington and Wallingford was not immediately available. About 120,000 outages were reported statewide.
Wallingford School Superintendent Salvatore Menzo said town schools would be closed Wednesday.
“Powerful storms are still making their way through the state. Strong winds have caused trees to topple onto power lines,” Eversource said Tuesday night. “Remember, STAY AWAY from downed lines.”
Southington Fire Battalion Chief Eric Heath said the department responded to numerous calls for trees and branches down on wires. Trees also fell on many houses on Marion Avenue, one puncturing the roof.
Wallingford Fire Battalion Chief Jim Duffy said several utility poles came down. Trees also fell down on houses, and debris blocked local roads across town.
On Route 150 in Wallingford, a downed tree closed a section of the road by the railroad bridge.
Duffy said public works crews were out with chainsaws to cut fallen trees and plow trucks were working to reopen roads. Trees also came down on Route 15 and Interstate 91 in Wallingford.
Duffy said fire crews removed three people from two cars that had live power lines on them.
“They were smart and stayed in the vehicle,” Duffy said.
About 5:30 p.m., a pole in the area of Miller and Paddock avenues in Meriden snapped in half and was hanging over the road. Meriden Deputy Fire Chief Ryan Dunn said crews responded to calls for wires and trees down.
Dunn encouraged people to stay away from fallen power lines.
"You never know if it's live or not," he said.
About 7 p.m., a rollover crash was reported on I-91 north by Exit 15.
In Cheshire, a tree also reportedly crashed into a house at 120 Bellamy Road and at 1270 Avon Blvd.
Brian Paul, who lives in the Mountain Road area of Cheshire, said when he arrived home from work he went into the basement with his family as a precaution. The storm knocked down trees and wires in his neighborhood.
"We were locked up in the basement during the storm," Paul said.