Severe weather hits Durham, Middlefield

Severe weather hits Durham, Middlefield

reporter photo

An early evening thunderstorm Tuesday brought high winds and heavy rain as a severe storm rolled through.

The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning at 5:15 p.m. as the storm moved east.

Gary Lessor, meteorologist with the Weather Center at Western Connecticut State University, said Tuesday  the Meriden area was one of three concentrations for severe weather, adding that heavy rain and wind gusts up to 60 mph were forecast.

At the height of the storm, Eversource reported 974 customers in Durham without power and 548 in Middlefield. By Wednesday afternoon, Eversource showed 659 people in Durham and only 3 in Middlefield were without power.

Regional School District 13 canceled school Wednesday due to road closures in Durham and power loss at Coginchaug Regional High School. 

Superintendent Kathryn Veronesi said schools are expected to open Thursday, with extra considerations at the high school, which is on generator power. The high school’s AP exam scheduled was disrupted.

Veronesi said the last day of school and graduation most likely will remain on the dates scheduled. The Board of Education will discuss that topic at its meeting tonight, to be held 7 p.m. at Strong School. 

In Durham, public works and Eversource crews worked to clear several road closures and repair downed power lines, including Parmelee Hill Road by Wildwood Lane, Old Washington Trail, Canterbury Drive and Creamery Road by Cedar Drive.

Durham First Selectman Laura Francis said as of 4:45 p.m., four roads remained blocked and public works crews will continue working until around 6 p.m.

“The roads that are blocked right now, residents do have a way to get out,” she said. “Residents that were totally blocked without any access to a way out, have been resolved.”

Steven Willets, of 289 Parmelee Hill Road, came home Tuesday to find his wife’s car in the driveway crushed under a fallen tree branch. She was not in the vehicle and there were no reported injuries from the incident.

Willets said as he approached his home, a firefighter on scene, who happened to be a neighbor’s son with whom he was aquatinted, told him about the accident.

Another branch from the same tree,a 200-year-old sugar maple, fell on Willets’ house, damaging part of the front porch and knocking down power lines. As of Wednesday afternoon, the home was still without power and the wires on the ground were live.

Middlefield residents fared better. First Selectman Ed Bailey said damage overall was minimal.

Power outages mostly affected Jackson Hill Road and the Lake Beseck area, he said, and was restored fairly quickly.

The town had two fallen trees, including a thin but long branch across power lines on Jackson Hill Road, which was removed by mid-afternoon Wednesday.

Middlefield Town Hall briefly lost power, Bailey said, adding  that “the building shook.”

Middlefield Volunteer Fire Company Chief Peter Tyc and crews accompanied an engine, utility vehicle and ATV to nearby Brookfield as part of a mutual aid response to the town’s storm damage.


Twitter: @LCTakores


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