The last seven weeks have been extremely dry across southwestern Connecticut. Officially, just eight of the last 50 days have featured any measured rain at Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Stratford. Some light rain and snow showers are expected later tonight into early tomorrow morning, but it should do little to offset a half-foot deficit in the rain gauge this year.
However, 41 years ago today, the weather picture was quite different across southwestern Connecticut. Residents were recovering after a drenching rain and wind storm. Winds gusted to 67 miles-an-hour and over three inches of rain fell across the region, causing broken windows, downed trees, power outages, and significant property damage. It was the first of two significant rainstorms within a week during the wettest November on record.
Nearly a foot of rain (10.22") fell during November of 1972, establishing an all-time record for the month. Consider that the normal average rain for the entire month is 3.65 inches. This November, by contrast, nine of the first 10 days were completely dry. The November 8, 1972 storm delivered 3.04 inches of rain. Just six days later, November 14, nearly three more inches (2.84") soaked the area.
According to the Thursday, November 9, 1972 edition of The Bridgeport Post, "The full force of the coastal storm struck between 2 and 4 o'clock yesterday, slowing traffic on the Connecticut Turnpike and the Merritt Parkway, as the wind-driven rain cut visibility sharply. Public Works Department crews in Bridgeport and across the county were kept busy throughout the afternoon and evening cleaning up fallen tree limbs and branches."
The report stated that the worst electrical interruptions occurred in Norwalk and New Canaan, where 2,600 customers of the Connecticut Light and Power Company were without electricity for varying amounts of time yesterday afternoon and last night. The United Illuminating Company reported a large number of small power failures, resulting from wind gusts, but no major power interruption.
According to the newspaper account, in Milford, a wind gust sent a beach umbrella high in the air and smashed it down on a police patrol car at 2:30 p.m. at Yale Avenue and Easy Street. The policeman said he was unable to avoid the umbrella. It damaged the patrol car's searchlight and left fender, and a moment later struck a parked car anb flew off. Smashed display windows were plentiful as wind gusts reached gale level. One gust of wind peeled off a 30-foot section of a new roof on the Pleasure Beach ballroom.
This November is quite different from the soaker we experienced back in 1972. After tomorrow morning's light rain and snow showers, it will turn windy and much colder with a daytime high temperature in the lower 40s. Temperatures will begin to moderate by the end of the week and this weekend, but no rain is in sight until at least the beginning of next week.