Tornado cleanup continues in WolcottPosted: Updated:
Cleanup continued Monday following a twister that barreled through Wolcott over the weekend.
The tornado touched down Sunday afternoon and left homes and the athletic fields behind Wolcott High School damaged.
Sporting equipment, including a batting cage on the school's baseball field, was strewn over the property.
"It was dark, noisy, pouring like crazy, just eerie. Just an eerie feeling in the air," said David Amato of Wolcott. "[I] looked out the back door, saw it start to swirl around, picked up a table off our deck and heard a loud crash."
Amato, who's a volunteer firefighter, told Eyewitness News that he was on his way home from a call when the storm arrived. It hit his home on Kalko Drive.
"Tree down on the camper, tree on the house, live wires down," he said. "Just shocking."
A tarp covered up a hole in the roof. The family's camper was out of commission as a result. Amato said it couldn't have come at a worse time.
"We were supposed to go camping Sunday, so looks like vacation plans are a little torn up right now," he explained.
The National Weather Service said it was an EF-0 tornado that whipped through with 85 mph winds. It was 100 yards wide.
Eyewitness video shot from a vehicle in town showed the dark gray clouds that filled the sky.
Business owner Joseph McDonald witnessed the tornado on Sunday.
"It was going through the woods up Center Street, took down my palm tree, took everything else," McDonald said, adding that he doesn't want to see anything like that again.
Others saw the damage right in their yards.
"I heard a loud bang and I ran upstairs to check the kids and make sure they were all right," said Pamela Bisaillon of Wolcott. "They both were. I came outside, and the tree was on the camper, the house and the vehicles."
Bisaillon said it sounded like a train rumbling through her neighborhood.
The twister toppled trees, sending a few onto some homes.
"I saw the wind picking up and I said to my wife, ‘I need to pull up the awnings, it's getting really bad,'" said Bernie Nolan of Wolcott.
Jay Dobensky calls himself a storm chaser and said he was in pursuit even though he steered clear of the tornado's path.
"My takeaway is that as much as I'd like to see something like that again, I'll cross my fingers that we don't have to see something like that here ever again.," Dobensky said.
The NWS confirmed the tornado touched down just before 1 p.m. Sunday. It cut a little more than a half-mile path behind the athletic fields at the high school then headed northeast on Kalko Drive before lifting on Stagecoach Lane.
It took only six minutes, but it left behind a good deal of damage.
"Everyone is OK, and I'm really grateful for that because it was really scary and really loud," said Bisaillon.
Police said no one was hurt in the storm.
At the high school, the batting cage wasn't the only thing damaged. A soccer net was also flipped onto another part of the field.
"You look through past the field, and the path it took through the woods, it just cleared it out," said Wolcott Mayor Tom Dunn. "So, thank God it was in the woods and it wasn't through properties."
Dunn said he was in Boston on Sunday when his phone started ringing about the storm. Monday morning, he was out speaking with neighbors and took in the sights.
He said crews from the Department of Public Works would be out to help chip up tree limbs.
It's an inconvenience, but Amato said he was looking at the big picture.
"The roof on the house has holes in it, the siding is torn up on the house, but it can all be replaced," Amato said. "Everybody is safe, that's the big thing."
Even if he can't get a new camper, he said he'd still like to go camping because after what happened, he could use a vacation.
The last tornado that came through Wolcott was in June of 1996 and started in Waterbury. That F-1 tornado in 1996 caused much more damage than Sunday's tornado.
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