TWO SEVERE STORMS IN 1996

On June 20 1996, from 414 PM to 420 PM, unusually large hail fell in Connecticut. Baseball size hail, 2.75 inches in diameter, fell in Vernon and Manchester with 2 inch diameter hail reported in Ellington. The hail broke windows and damaged many automobiles. Damage was estimated at several hundred thousand dollars. Doppler radars in both Taunton and Brookhaven detected strong rotation in the low levels of the storm but a bit less than with the Great Barrington tornado that occurred three weeks earlier. Tornado warnings were issued for this severe storm. No tornadoes were reported but this was an unusually dangerous severe storm.

Another unusual phenomenon occurred on July 15 1996 early in the morning, between 645 and 8 AM, and mainly affected western Massachusetts and northern Connecticut. A very fast moving squall Line, termed a derecho, raced across the area. It was part of a thunderstorm complex which tracked from the upper peninsula of Michigan to the coast of New England between midnight and 930 AM. One person was electrocuted from a downed power Line in front of her home in otis Massachusetts where winds gusted to 92 mph. Trees were downed throughout the area and many electric customers lost power. It is interesting to note that there were many reports of load roaring sounds like a freight train and thus people thought they experienced a tornado. But a National Weather Service survey revealed purely straight-Line Wind damage. Microbursts, which are small downbursts, can cause loud roaring sounds, especially if they reach 158 mph like the one that occurred at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland in 1986.