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

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Tornado Ripped Through Bridgeport Five Years Ago Today

It only took a matter of minutes, but a violent thunderstorm spawned a tornado which ripped through the Greater Bridgeport area three years ago today, resulting in much damage, destruction, and a loss of electricity for thousands. A powerful cold front collided with a hot and humid air mass to set the stage for a Tornado Warning and a strong thunderstorm cell between 2 and 3 o'clock Thursday afternoon, June 24, 2010.

The temperature soared to 90 degrees for the second day in a row at Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Stratford that day, but the dew point --- or moisture content in the atmosphere --- was extremely high. As the front approached, the sky darkened, the heavens opened up, and vivid lightning along with hurricane-force wind gusts ripped through the Park City. Here is a photo of Washington Park in Bridgeport taken by one of our viewers, Melissa, following the storm.

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There was dangerous cloud-to-ground lightning and a wind gust of 78 miles-an-hour in Bridgeport. The average wind speed during the height of the storm was 43 miles-an-hour. Nearly a half-inch of rain fell in a short period of time, resulting in some minor flooding of low-lying areas. But, it was the wind damage which caused a state of emergency to be declared in Bridgeport. Take a look at this picture of a fallen tree in the Park City taken by Takina.

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Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch and former Governor Jodi Rell arrived on the scene to survey the damage from the storm. "It looks like Godzilla went through and ripped roofs off and threw cars around and tore wires down," Finch said as he spoke with reporters and residents who had gathered in the streets. "I mean, it's really amazing," he added. Shelley sent two photos of the damage on East Main Street.

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Bethany sent the following photo of downtown Bridgeport.

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Personally, my family and I ran to the basement that afternoon once we heard a Tornado Warning was issued and the skies darkened. In a matter of minutes, the wind began to howl and heavy rain fell. My sons were worried that a tornado would rip apart our home. Not unexpectedly, the power went out, but the storm exited shortly thereafter. We didn't get our electricity back until just before midnight. Here's one more photo taken by Amanda of minor flooding on James Street in Bridgeport.

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Paul