Ugh, so those tornadoes really did a number on one of our state’s most popular parks. Sleeping Giant State Park will remain closed throughout the summer.
NBC Connecticut reports that a microburst opened up right over the park last Tuesday. Due to the extensive damage, state officials feel that the park is now too dangerous for hikers. Because of this, the Sleeping Giant Park Association will keep the park closed until fall.
In a Facebook post, they wrote:
“Even professional construction concerns brought in to consult are shaking their heads at the absolutely overwhelming task of cleaning up JUST the picnic and parking areas, and the Tower Path.”
Four tornadoes, a macroburst and a microburst struck the state last week. There’s still some people without power even though we had the National Guard helping with cleanup.
Eversource confirmed yesterday that the storms last week were worse than Sandy!
Tuesday’s storm caused more damage to the system than Superstorm Sandy:
•Sandy: strongest wind 85 mph. May 15: 110 mph.
•Sandy: nearly 1,700 broken poles. May 15: more than 1,800.
•Sandy: 105 miles of line down. May 15: 288 miles of line down (twice the length of CT). pic.twitter.com/ujsoPsh6gS
— Eversource CT (@EversourceCT) May 20, 2018
So, even though we saw more home-related damage in 2012, last week’s storm pummeled every inch of the state. The powerful winds ripped up healthy trees from one corner of CT to the next.
One woman was unfortunately trapped atop the top of Sleeping Giant when last week’s storms hit. Why was she up there? She honestly expected to take cool photos of the promised lightning storm.
She had absolutely no idea just how chaotic the storms would actually be. Hailey Wilson detailed her endeavor:
“It felt like survival for about 45 minutes. There were two gusts that were so loud and heavy and strong.”
Although she snapped a few photos, she eventually took shelter in the building atop the mountain to wait out the storm.
However, going down happened to be more like an obstacle course than an easy hike. She said into her camera while hiking down:
“That was by far the most terrifying thing I’ve ever done. The trails look nothing like they did when I came up.”
She said it made her feel all-the-more alone because she worried that no one would be able to climb up and rescue her.
Luckily, her car escaped the storm unscathed and she was able to leave. She says it took her about three hours to drive to her home in Meriden.
However, she’s among the lucky ones. Two people died in Tuesday’s storms and countless others were injured.
The microburst in Hamden was 1/2 mile in width and 7.25 miles in length. It also unleashed 100mph winds in the area. The national weather service says the microburst was actually a formed tornado in Beacon Falls. The tornado rampaged for 9 miles until it turned into a more-severe microburst by Sleeping Giant State Park.
NBC posted several jaw-dropping photos of the aftermath.
All the trails at Sleeping Giant State Park will remain closed throughout the summer as crews work to clear them. Safety is the main objective and, as of right now, the trails remain impassable due to the sheer amount of downed trees.
The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection says people need to obey the “closed” signs until the park is safe to the public. The DEEP also says people should stay away from all closed parks in the meantime and respect the crews working hard to rebuild the areas.
So far, there’s no determination yet when the parks will open. As for Sleeping Giant State Park, it will probably be sometime during the fall and not before.
How will this affect your summer hiking plans?
So, with that said, are you sad you won’t be able to hike Sleeping Giant this summer?