Paul is a full-time fifth-grade teacher at an elementary school in Fairfield ... Paul is a New York Emmy award winner (2007), five-time Emmy nominee, and four-time winner of the Connecticut Associated Press Broadcasters' Association award for 'Best Weathercast' in Connecticut (2006, 2008, 2009, 2012) ... The local weather journal is a two-time winner of the Communicator Award of Distinction (2012 & 2013) ... Paul was inducted into the Housatonic Community College Hall of Fame and received the Distinguished Alumni Award (2012) ... Follow Paul on Twitter @PaulPiorek ...

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Marking the 60th Anniversary of Hurricane Connie in 1955

Many long-time area residents will never forget the deluge which happened 60 years ago today. Hurricane Connie brought nearly four inches (3.92") of rain to the region on Friday, August 12, 1955. Take a look at the front page of The Bridgeport Telegram from Saturday, August 13, 1955.


Long-time area residents will never forget August of 1955 when two of the most memorable hurricanes --- Connie and Diane --- battered the Northeast. Hurricane Connie soaked New England with torrential rains on August 12 and 13, 1955. Then, just five days later, Tropical Storm Diane followed suit creating massive flooding not seen since the 1930s. Take a look at the front page of The Bridgeport Telegram from Saturday, August 20, 1955.


The combination of Connie and Diane yielded rainfall totals close to 25 inches in some areas, resulting in unprecedented flooding. Nearly all of the major rivers in the lower Connecticut Valley exceeded flood stage. Some rivers rose more than 20 feet over their banks. Read the Valley News archive of daily weather events from August of 1955 to gain a better understanding of the power of those two August hurricanes!

While the two hurricanes affected the entire Atlantic coast, Connecticut suffered the most damage. For example, of the 180 lives that were lost, 77 were in Connecticut. Of the 680 million dollars in property damage, over 350 million dollars occurred in Connecticut. Over 200 dams in New England suffered partial to total failure. Many of these were in the area immediately south of Worcester, in the Thames and Blackstone headwaters. Here is a photo of Winsted, Connecticut, virtually devastated following the flood.


If August was not bad enough, two months later, a four day storm dumped an additional 12-14 inches of rain in southwestern New England. This event was not as widespread as the August storms, but record flood levels were achieved in some locations of the Housatonic and Hudson River basins. The tropical season has been fairly quiet thus far, but things usually stir in late August and September. Tropical Storm Irene (2011) and Hurricane Gloria (1985) are two recent examples.


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