For the country, 2021 was an active year for weather. States saw several major landfalling hurricanes, a crippling ice storm in Texas, and record-setting tornadoes in the south.
Here in Connecticut, one weather phenomenon was much more common than the others: the rain.
This past summer, four separate tropical systems brought drenching rainfall, washed-out roads, and flooded many basements across the state.
Mostly Quiet Winter:
The winter was a mild one overall with our snowfall ending up close to average at 41.1 inches at Bradley Airport. The only unusual thing is that Bridgeport recorded more snow that season than the Hartford area, with a total of 43.8 inches!
Our coldest temperature of the year was on January 30 and 31, when both days dropped to 1° at Bradley Airport (with temperatures slightly below zero in the hills).
The following day, our largest widespread snow of the year occurred, with eight to 16 inches falling statewide by the morning of February 1.
March was a quiet month, and virtually snowless, with only 0.1” recorded in the Hartford area. There was a spring snowstorm on April 16th that dropped a few inches of snowfall on top of our blooming flowers, but that quickly melted as April warmed up.
Summer Storms and Flooding:
June was much hotter than normal, ranking 3rd-hottest on record in the Hartford area.
Our hottest temperature of the year was reached on June 29 when the thermometer soared to 99°. The combination of heat and humidity made for a steamy July as well.
But by July, tropical systems began moving up the coast, taking aim at Connecticut.
Our first taste of tropical weather was in early July, as Tropical Storm Elsa moved in on July 9. We had some gusty winds and numerous downpours but escaped any major damage in the area.
A weak but rainy Fred made its way through as a former tropical storm on August 19, dropping 4 inches of rain and further soaking the state. A tornado was spun up as Fred passed through, touching down in Thompson. Heavy rain also brought headaches for residents and commuters, causing localized flash flooding in areas like West Hartford and Bloomfield. This storm also helped to set the stage for heavier flooding later in the summer.
In late August, Hurricane Henri headed up the east coast, gathering abundant moisture from the Atlantic Ocean as it neared New England. As the storm made landfall, the hurricane-force winds weakened, but the rain remained. While the storm is seen as a “dud” in the wind department, the rainfall totaled 3 to 5 inches across the state.
But Henri was not without its damage. Heavy downpours caused damage in Manchester as it washed away a road by a condominium complex on Ambassador Drive. No injuries were reported. A tree fell onto a home in Canterbury as well due to the winds and the saturated grounds.
Ida brought arguably the year’s worst weather to the state on the night of September 1.
After making landfall as a major hurricane in Louisiana, the storm held its tropical rainfall together as it marched into the northeast.
Several hours of extremely heavy rain led to flash flooding and dangerous conditions.
Connecticut State Trooper Brian Mohl was killed when his vehicle was swept away by floodwaters in Woodbury.
That night, between 4 and 9 inches of rainfall came down across the state. From June through September, the Hartford area picked up an incredible 28.5” of rain. As many people have remarked, it seemingly rained every weekend and was either hot and humid or cool and rainy.
November is not exactly tornado season in Connecticut, but we had the majority of our twisters that month, and all of those happened in one day!
November 13 takes the prize for the most bizarre weather day of the year as a rainy storm system ended up dropping four tornadoes across the state. These were weak tornadoes and didn’t amount to much damage (no injuries were reported) but it’s still a reminder that our weather can be unpredictable at times.
Connecticut wasn’t the only place that saw out-of-place tornados.
After a historic quad-state weather system rolled through much of Western Kentucky in December, multiple tornadoes left widespread damage and many lives were lost. The tornadoes killed at least six people in Illinois; four in Tennessee; two in Arkansas, where the governor said nursing home workers shielded residents with their own bodies; and two in Missouri.
Hopefully, 2022 treats us well, but it’s important to always be prepared for whatever the skies throw our way.
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