An EF-1 tornado touched down in Coventry and Mansfield Wednesday, the National Weather Service confirms.
The tornado had a path length of 3.2 miles and left behind a track of damage.
Trees completely uprooted, others sheared off at the top. Broken branches and tree trunks, strewn across the landscape. Coventry’s Skungamaug River Golf Club was left in disarray after Wednesday’s storm.
“We’ve had hurricanes but never anything like this,” said club owner John Motycka, who estimates there are over 100 trees down.
Acres of destruction, include 30 and 40 foot trees snapped in half, laying near fairways. Thursday the National Weather Service (NWS) assessed the wide-spread damage to determine if this was a tornado.
“What your look for is which way is the damage falling and if there is any twisting going on with the trees in different directions,” said meteorologist Alan Dunham, who leads the investigation for the NWS.
The NWS assessment started in Mansfield where the concentrated damage appears to end and also included an inspection in Vernon where it’s believed to have begun. The report is not expected to be complete until Thursday evening.
As rain and wind whipped through Tolland County Wednesday, the normally serene golf club was anything but.
“The rain was going horizontal. The wind was blowing like crazy. It just came out of nowhere,” said Motycka.
Co-owner Susan Motycka, said she noticed birds acting strange before the skies went dark. “The ornamental grasses were parallel to the earth. The rain in sheets, and gray looking because of the rain was so heavy,” she said.
Downed trees were reported throughout Coventry, with reports of isolated power outages. Coventry Emergency Management Director John McLoughlin says this golf course was among the hardest places hit.
“You can see how the trees are snapped in half mid-way up like 10 feet off the ground is indicative of the strength the wind was packing when it came thru,” said McLoughlin.
While the golf course owners have a long and perhaps expensive cleanup ahead, they are grateful no one was hurt.
“We’re just really thankful that everyone got in off of the golf course,” added Susan Motycka. “Happy that everyone was safe.”