Tornado takes down soccer dome and causes power outages for many

By Calla Vassilopoulos - Staff Writer
East Windsor, Windsor, Windsor Locks - posted Wed., Jul. 3, 2013
The collapsed soccer dome, which was destroyed by the July 1 tornado, covers trees along Interstate 91 between exits 44 and 45. The dome blew onto the highway during the storm, causing multiple lanes of traffic to be closed. Photo by Calla Vassilopoulos.
The collapsed soccer dome, which was destroyed by the July 1 tornado, covers trees along Interstate 91 between exits 44 and 45. The dome blew onto the highway during the storm, causing multiple lanes of traffic to be closed. Photo by Calla Vassilopoulos.

A tornado forced 29 campers and five counselors out of Sports World's soccer dome in East Windsor on July 1. The dome collapsed early that afternoon, shortly after Kathy Russotto, director of the Fun Time Sport Camp and Sports World manager, received a weather alert on her phone. Once she received the alert, she began evacuating everyone to a building adjacent to the dome, where everyone was kept safe and no injuries occurred.

“As soon as we got the last kids in, we put them under tables, because the wind had picked up so violently,” said Russotto. “The kids got under the tables and the next thing we heard was this very, very large noise, and we looked out and our dome was gone.”

The severe winds blew the dome onto Interstate 91, causing several lanes of traffic to be closed near exit 45, said Lorin DeLucia, an East Windsor resident who lives approximately 1.5 miles from the dome. She said there was foam and plastic everywhere. DeLucia was able to see the dome from her home before it collapsed. She said this is the second time the dome has happened - the first being in the October 2011 snowstorm.

“We thought it was just a normal storm,” said DeLucia. “The dogs were panicking because there was a little bit of thunder and lightning, but then 15 minutes later it all calmed down like nothing even happened. That's when we went outside and realized the dome was gone.”

DeLucia said she did not lose power, although the lights flickered a few times. The same was not true in Windsor Locks, where there were more than 800 outages, according to reports from Connecticut Light and Power. DeLucia works in Windsor Locks and said by the time she got to work Monday evening power was restored, but South Center Street received a lot of damage, including debris and the netting from Windsor tobacco fields.

The tornado began in Windsor on Hayden Station Road, according to the National Weather Service. DeLucia said her grandmother, who lives on the road where everything began, could not get into her house or driveway due to a “huge” tree that had fallen in her yard, also causing road blockage for other residents. A portion of a warehouse roof on Kennedy Road was also blown off, according to Windsor Police Chief Kevin Searles. He said there were also a few other trees down and some power outages.

According to the National Weather Service, winds reached a maximum speed of 86 mph. The twister, which was classified as an EF-1, is said to have traveled 200 yards from Windsor Locks to East Windsor between 1:30 and 1:45 p.m.


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