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Tornado hit eastern Connecticut and parts of Rhode Island, National Weather Service says

Heavy rains caused road closures and flooding throughout many areas of Connecticut Wednesday including Mohegan Drive (above) in West Hartford.
Patrick Skahill
Connecticut Public
Heavy rains caused road closures and flooding throughout many areas of Connecticut Wednesday including Mohegan Drive (above) in West Hartford.

A tornado hit the eastern Connecticut town of Killingly on Wednesday, among four tornadoes that touched down in southern New England, weather authorities said.

The National Weather Service determined an EF-1 tornado touched down in Killingly and traveled to Foster, Rhode Island, with estimated peak winds of 100 mph. Weather officials surveyed the area and damage on Thursday.

There were no reports of significant damage in Killingly. There were road closures on Wednesday due to downed trees and power lines.

The weather service said the tornado began on Bailey Hill Road, between Cranberry Road and Ledge Road. The tornado moved northeast toward Ledge Road before dissipating in Foster, Rhode Island, officials said. Shingles were pulled off a two-story home and some trees were either snapped or uprooted in Killingly.

The National Weather Service said that three other tornadoes hit southern New England Wednesday between 4 and 5:30 p.m.: an EF-1 tornado with peak winds of 100 mph touched down in Glocester, Rhode Island; an EF-1 tornado with peak winds of 100 mph hit Lincoln, Rhode Island; and an EF-0 tornado hit North Attleborough, Massachusetts, with peak winds of 75 mph.

Weather service officials said late Wednesday that it appeared at least one tornado had formed, based on radar data and videos.

Severe thunderstorms made their way through Connecticut Wednesday, bringing heavy rain, winds and hail.

As of midday Wednesday, between 2 and 4 inches of rain had fallen in some areas, the weather service said. There were reports of some small stream flooding caused by the heavy rainfall.

A variety of flash flood warnings were in effect throughout the day Wednesday.

A tornado warning was in effect for a while Wednesday afternoon for east-central Windham County and western Providence County in Rhode Island.

Meanwhile, people in flooded parts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island are cleaning up even as they brace for more rain.. Nearly 10 inches of rain fell in six hours Monday, which weather officials described as a “200-year event.”

Before this week’s storms, eight tornadoes had hit southern New England this summer. That comes as the climate is warming. But more tornado confirmations could also be due to advances in weather radar technology, as well as more reports from citizens.

“Cellphones, social media — we know about tornadoes when they happen," Joe Dellicarpini, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Boston, said during a recent webinar. “Whereas 10, 15, 20 years ago, we may have heard of one, but it probably was more often we heard about wind damage that was probably a tornado and we just didn't know it was and we just heard about wind damage and that was that.”

While tornadoes in the fall are rare in New England, they can happen, such as two tornadoes that hit southeastern Connecticut and Rhode Island in November 2021. Dellicarpini points to warming ocean waters as a factor in late-season storms.

The Associated Press contributed to this report, which has been updated.

Patrick Skahill is a reporter and digital editor at Connecticut Public. Prior to becoming a reporter, he was the founding producer of Connecticut Public Radio's The Colin McEnroe Show, which began in 2009. Patrick's reporting has appeared on NPR's Morning Edition, Here & Now, and All Things Considered. He has also reported for the Marketplace Morning Report. He can be reached at
Eric Aasen is executive editor at Connecticut Public, the statewide NPR and PBS service. He leads the newsroom, including editors, reporters, producers and newscasters, and oversees all local news, including radio, digital and television platforms. Eric joined Connecticut Public in 2022 from KERA, the NPR/PBS member station in Dallas-Fort Worth, where he served as managing editor and digital news editor. He's directed coverage of several breaking news events and edited and shaped a variety of award-winning broadcast and digital stories. In 2023, Connecticut Public earned a national Edward R. Murrow Award for coverage that explored 10 years since the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting, as well as five regional Murrow Awards, including Overall Excellence. In 2015, Eric was part of a KERA team that won a national Online Journalism Award. In 2017, KERA earned a station-record eight regional Murrow Awards, including Overall Excellence. Eric joined KERA after more than a decade as a reporter at The Dallas Morning News. A Minnesota native, Eric has wanted to be a journalist since he was in the third grade. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from DePauw University in Indiana, where he earned a political science degree. He and his wife, a Connecticut native, have a daughter and a son, as well as a dog and three cats.
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