HAMDEN, CT (WFSB) - It's been one year since an outbreak of severe weather, including an EF-1 tornado in Hamden, left destruction.

Sleeping Giant State Park remains closed. It's unclear when it will reopen.

The National Weather Service determined that the tornado moved along a nearly 10 mile path on May 15, 2018.

"I saw it from the highway, this huge cloud," said Sharon McKay of Hamden. "It was amazing, scary."

The tornado had winds of up to 110 mph.

Thousands of trees were uprooted and dozens of homes in the surrounding town were damaged.

"Some of the roads were impassible because trees were down," said Christine Kinelay of Hamden.

Power lines and street lights were snapped in half. Power was knocked out for days. United Illuminating said 350 poles were destroyed.

Hundreds of trees came down in the West Woods section of Hamden alone. Some of those were tossed through homes.

"Many of the beautiful pine trees were destroyed and many had to be taken down so the devastation is still very visible one year later," Kinelay said.

A number of neighborhoods were left unrecognizable, homeowners said. They had to deal with thousands of dollars worth of damage.

For days, Hamden Public Works Department crews worked around the clock to clear the trees.

See pictures of the devastation here.

At Sleeping Giant, the destruction of the trees changed the landscape of the park.

"I used to use it all the time, I can't wait until it opens again," McKay said.

The Sleeping Giant Park Association said more than 2,000 trees were lost.

"Initially we all cried, as someone said it was gut-wrenching to see all the devastation and where do you start?" said Julie Hulten, Sleeping Giant Park Association.

Hulten is a volunteer for the association.

"Kind of looking at it now, you forget and you go 'wow, what a change,'" she said.

Hulten said volunteers put in 3,000 hours and worked with the state to help clear the trees and plant new ones. They also worked to replace trail markers.

"We're trying to make a nice balance between expediency and keeping the spirit of the Sleeping Giant, which has been for Hamden its totem," she said. "It is really home."

Officials said they're still working to reopen a popular trail.

They said they hope to have some trails open by the summer.

Copyright 2019 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.