November 28: The Portland Gale Leaves Connecticut Buried

  Today in 1898, after two relentless days of wind and snow,  a massive storm that became known as The Portland Gale finally moved off the Connecticut shoreline, but not before bringing the state to a stand-still. The storm had formed on November 26th, when two large storms intersected over New York state, then marched…

October 3: Windsor Locks Devastated by Massive F-4 Tornado

  On this day in 1979, one of the most devastating freak storms in state history spawned a massive F-4 tornado that tore through north-central Connecticut.  Just after 3:00pm, a funnel cloud touched down in the Poquonock area of Windsor and carved a path four miles long and a quarter-mile wide northward through Windsor Locks,…

September 23: The Great September Gale of 1815

  On the morning of September 23, 1815, the first major hurricane to hit New England in 180 years made landfall at Old Saybrook, Connecticut.  Since the word “hurricane” was virtually unknown in colonial America at the time, residents later identified the monstrous storm as the “Great Storm” or “Great Gale” of September 1815.  With…

August 19: Back-to-Back Hurricanes Wreak Devastation Across Connecticut

  On this day in 1955, torrential rains from Hurricane Diane — the second hurricane to hit Connecticut in five days — triggered catastrophic flooding across the state.  After Hurricane Connie dumped six inches of water across the state earlier in the week, the 14 – 20 additional inches of rain from Diane proved too…

August 9: The Worst Tornado in Connecticut History

  On the afternoon of August 9, 1878, the worst tornado to ever hit the state of Connecticut roared through Wallingford, wreaking unimaginable destruction throughout the entire town.  In the late 19th century, most Connecticans lived under the impression that the monster tornadoes that annually devastated the Great Plains could never happen in New England;…

July 29: Heavy Rains Devastate Bridgeport

  On this night in 1905, heavy summer rains brought sudden disaster to southwestern Connecticut.  In the span of only seventeen hours, more than 11 inches of rain fell on the greater Bridgeport area, causing widespread street and coastal flooding.  As the deluge stretched into the early morning hours of the following day, the Ward’s…

July 10: Connecticut’s Worst Tornado Outbreak

  On this day in Connecticut history, the worst recorded tornado outbreak in state history tore through the state, as multiple twisters killed two people, devastated a historic forest, and left behind numerous trails of destruction in their wake. While local meteorologists had warned local residents about the high potential for severe weather on July…

July 9: “The Year Without a Summer”

  The winters of the early 19th century — the last decades of what the “Little Ice Age” that chilled North America and Europe for centuries — were among the coldest in Connecticut’s recorded history, with salt-water harbors freezing over on a regular basis and blizzards that regularly dumped several feet of snow on the…

June 2: Protecting Connecticut From Devastating Floods

    Today in 1943, only a few years after a series of catastrophic floods devastated dozens of towns across Connecticut, the Army Corps of Engineers presented Congress with a comprehensive plan to implement flood control projects along the entire Connecticut River valley.  Attached to their proposal was an price tag of 56 million dollars…

May 27: Oldest Operating Volunteer Fire Department in New England

  From the earliest days of Connecticut history, fire posed one of the greatest mortal dangers to Connecticut residents — especially to the English settlers whose homes, barns, fences, and other structures were made of timber and often clustered closely together.  In the 17th and early 18th centuries, before the advent of portable water pumps,…

May 16 – Largest Earthquake in Connecticut History

  On this day in 1791, Connecticans were rattled by the largest earthquake ever recorded in Connecticut history.  Two powerful tremors, occurring within minutes of each other, terrified residents and damaged homes throughout the central part of the state.  Reports from as far away as Boston and New York City confirmed the presence of seismic…

March 27: Staffordville Dam Bursts, Killing Two

On March 27, 1877, the Staffordville Reservoir Company’s dam burst, flooding the valley for a distance of five miles and causing the loss of two lives. The dam, on the east branch of the Willimantic River, gave way at 6 a.m. and washed away bridges, smaller dams, houses, tenements, a church, livery stables and the…