HAMDEN, CT (WFSB) -- Exactly one year ago, wild weather touched down across CT, including a number of devastating tornadoes.
Hamden was one of the hardest hit towns, and for some, it’s still not back to normal.
In the northern part of town, there are plenty of reminders of last year’s tornado.
One year later there are still trees down off into the woods, stacked up on properties, and homes that are still trying to finish up some work.
“All across here there were 100-foot trees, all came this way, the wind came across,” said Shane Murtagh.
For he and his family, the past year has been quite a process.
There are huge tree stumps all over their Still Hill Road yard, along with a bright blue tarp on the roof of the family’s home and garage.
“We had to initially pay for a good portion of trees. They did give us some emergency payments that we put towards that cost, but we had a lot of out of pocket, basically what we could afford. The rest is ongoing,” Murtagh said.
They didn’t realize how bad the damage was until the fall, when the roof started leaking during heavy rains.
“Dealing with the insurance company, adjusters, trying to get stuff fixed and see what we could get covered, that’s kind of complicated. They cover this, they don’t cover that, just an ongoing battle with that,” Murtagh added.
See more photos from last year’s storm damage here.
Across Hamden, there are reminders of what will now be a memorable May day.
“It’s just devastating what’s happened here. The area has been cleaned up, it will never look the same for folks that have been here all their lives, like myself,” said Craig Cesare, director of Hamden’s Public Works Dept.
Wednesday May 15 didn’t just mark one year since the tornadoes touched down, but it’s also his 21st wedding anniversary.
With roughly 200 homes damaged, and thousands of trees knocked down all over town, Hamden spent around $3 million to get everything cleaned.
“We’ve been dealing with FEMA, getting close to our final settlement with them, it’s going well. We’re optimistic for the best,” Cesare said.
Other towns like Wallingford were also impacted by those tornadoes one year ago.
For many, it’s been quite the process, including for a family in Wallingford, that was just finally able to move back into their house, two months ago.
“All of these trees, they were everywhere. They were on our playground, on our lawn, on his truck which got totaled,” said Meredith Gervais, of Wallingford.
In all, 22 trees came crashing down onto their property, including one right through their roof, sending debris and water into their child’s room and her closet.
“The whole backside of the roof had to come off. Sixteen rafters broke on the roof, water damage throughout all three floors, all the flooring had to come out, sheet rock walls had to come out, insulation,” said Jeff Gervais.
Their insurance company put them up in a hotel, but after a few weeks, they moved in with Meredith’s mom.
They were there for 10 months while dealing with insurance and waiting to start making repairs.
“They come out, look at the house for an hour, cut us a check and after all the estimates we got, it wasn’t even going to come close, so we had to get a public adjuster involved too,” Jeff Gervais said.
The couple said the house is not completely finished, but they wanted to be back in their home for their youngest child’s birthday back in March.
They said they are just thankful to be home after a life-changing experience they’ll never forget.
“This was a journey, this is part of our story, our life, good things happen, bad things happen. It was so confusing when it happened and it was scary when it happened, but what happened as a community with our friends and our family, it was a blessing,” Meredith Gervais said.
The couple adds that while it was a journey, they’re quick to point out that they have a lot to be thankful for, adding they know people who’ve had it worse and are still not back.