Thea Digiammerino

Hamden Continues Storm Cleanup Efforts

Officials in Hamden are still trying to assess all the damage left behind by a tornado and destructive microburst that hit the area Tuesday.

The popular Sleeping Giant State Park remained closed Friday and officials warned residents to stay away from the mountain. Many residents remained without power or with heavy tree damage all over their properties.

There has been some progress in cleanup efforts. Both public crews and private contractors have been out working on cleanup and tree removal. But it’s a long road to full recovery.

“I was waiting for the sky to turn black for a thunderstorm and it was white, and I said this is more than a thunderstorm and the funnel was in my yard,” said Hamden resident Roberta Guarino.

Guarino’s home of 42 years is in the northern Hamden neighborhood hit hardest by Tuesday’s tornado.

“I take it a day at a time and I thank god I’m alive and my family is OK,” she said.

Police Chief Thomas Wydra said it’s remarkable that nobody was seriously hurt.

Nearly every home in the area of Still Hill Road had tree damage.

“We had gotten the warning over our phone we saw one tree fall in our neighbor’s yard then we just had a whole bunch of them fall on our house, on our driveway on our cars, everything demolished,” said Michelle Reed. The family lost four cars.

Hamden Mayor Curt Leng said 40 United Illuminating crews are working around the clock to restore power. The Department of Public Works plans to deploy crews for 12-hour shifts until anything is open and passable.

Officials warned residents to stay away from damage and not try to drive through roadblocks.

“Everybody needs to assume that all these wires are live, please be careful,” said Craig Cesare, Hamden’s Department of Public Works director.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal said he plans to share photos of the devastation with his colleagues in Washington, in hopes of bringing federal resources to help with the long recovery ahead.

“This kind of devastation is what FEMA was designed to assist,” Blumenthal said.

For now, the neighborhood is pulling together.

“We’re gonna get through it, what else are you gonna do,” Reed said.

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