A year ago area residents were confronted by a severe storm, with near-tornado strength winds and torrential rain, that resulted in downed trees, massive power outages, flooding, and damaged homes.
On May 15, 2018, residents received tornado warnings throughout the afternoon and by 4:45 p.m. the storm made its way through the Danbury area and New Haven County. National Weather Service officials said a tornado struck Beacon Falls, Bethany and Hamden and weakened near Sleeping Giant State Park, when it morphed into a microburst and moved into the Wallingford area.
John Argo stood outside his Wallingford home Wednesday as he recalled the storm that downed trees, totaled his pickup truck and damaged parts of his home at 103 Pond Hill Road.
The truck “was sitting right here and the two trees went this way and into my truck,” Argo said.
Argo watched as his pickup was crushed by one of the fallen trees. Another went through his grandson’s bedroom. The family left that night, but returned the following day.
“Everything in the room was ruined but we were able to live in our house,” Argo said.
At first a tarp was placed on the roof to prevent more water from pouring in. It took four months to repair the roof and the bedroom.
In Cheshire, a large tree crashed into a home on Bellamy Road. The house was later condemned by the town building department. Heather Meyerjack and her family gathered in the basement of the home during the storm, unaware that the tree had destroyed the roof and much of the second floor.
Gary Lessor, a meteorologist at Western Connecticut State University, said the microburst had sustained winds of 100 mph and moved along a seven mile path, ending east of the Tyler Mill Preserve in Wallingford.
In Wallingford, more than 20 roads were closed in the days after the storm, several schools were closed for a week and 6,000 homes lost power. Wharton Brook State Park was closed for nearly eight months and the Tyler Mill Preserve is scheduled to open this month.
On Wednesday, workers from Onofrio’s Total Construction laid down the foundation to a new garage at 21 Birch Drive in Wallingford. The old garage was damaged by a tree in the storm. Company owner Dave Onofrio said what was left of the garage had to be taken down and it took several weeks before the debris could be cleared. The storm kept local construction companies busy.
“We were all over the place,” Onofrio said. “We did this one, we did the garage across the street.”