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Introduction: A Tornado, Here in Wethersfield?

By Wethersfield Historical Society on January 26, 2011 11:41 AM

 "A great thunderstorm; an extensive flood; a desolating hurricane; a sudden and intense frost; an overwhelming snowstorm; a sultry day - each of these different scenes exhibits singular beauties in spite of the damage they cause.  Often while the heart laments the loss of the citizen, the enlightened mind, seeking for natural causes, and astonished by the effects, awakes itself to surprise and wonder" (St. John De Crevecoeur quoted in Early American Winters, II 1821-1870)
At 4:45 p.m. on Friday June 26, 2009 a category EF1 tornado struck my hometown of Wethersfield, Connecticut.

Along with most of our town's residents both my wife Marsha and I were caught in the ferocious weather.  Still neither of us thought that what we had experienced was anything more than unusually heavy winds and rain - and certainly not a tornado.

Nor did we know that this was not the first time our town had been struck by such a violently rotating destructive vortex.  Or of the other life-changing attacks of nature that had visited Connecticut's "most auncient town" since shortly after its incorporation in 1634.

All attempts to rate the importance of anything are, by their very nature, extremely subjective.  And so it is with the following.  Each of these events that I am about to recount had, at the time it happened, a significant impact on the town of Wethersfield - as did many others in our village's long history.

Working with Melissa Josefiak, former Assistant Director of the Wethersfield Historical Society, I have tried to come up with a cross-section of the types of natural disasters that have befallen our berg since its inception.  There may well be other more worthy candidates. 

Nonetheless, following is my take on "Wethersfield's Top Ten Natural Disasters".

(Please click on the underlined name to go directly to that chapter or the WHS Website Home Page)

1. The 17th and 19th Century Floods
2. The 1727 Earthquake
3. The 1787 Tornado
4. The 1831 and 1834 Fires
5. The 1888 Blizzard
6. The 1936 Flood
7. The 1938 Hurricane
8. The 1973 Ice Storm
9. The 1978 Blizzard
10. The 2009 Tornado


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