October Tornadoes: Rare, But Not Unheard of

Oct 8, 2013

The damage caused by the 1979 tornado in Windsor Locks cost more than $800 million in today's dollars.
Credit Windsor Locks Fire Department

Although Connecticut is not in tornado alley, it still has a place in the record books for violent twisters.

Last week's EF-4 tornado in Nebraska was the first violent October tornado to strike the United States in 34 years. Back in 1979, three people died when a F4 tornado hit Windsor Locks, Connecticut. It was one of the costliest tornadoes in U.S. history.

"The damage was absolutely remarkable in some areas on Rt. 20," said NBC Connecticut meteorologist Ryan Hanrahan. He also said there was a neighborhood that "was literally swept away -- only the foundations were left."

Hanrahan said the midwest sometimes sees violent tornadoes in the middle of nowhere. But here in Connecticut, "we're so densely populated that if you get a significant tornado to touch down, chances are it's going through a neighborhood and impacting houses and businesses."

Since 1950, only six violent tornadoes have struck the entire country during the month of October. The three months with the most tornadoes? April, May and June.