Here is the statement issued by the National Weather Service about Friday night's storms.
PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT...CORRECTED
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TAUNTON MA
730 PM EDT SAT JUN 27 2009
...PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT...
...EF 1 TORNADO CONFIRMED IN WETHERSFIELD ON FRIDAY JUNE 26...
THIS IS A PRELIMINARY STORM SURVEY REPORT. ADDITIONAL DETAILS WILL BE INCLUDED IN A SECOND REPORT TO BE ISSUED ON SUNDAY JUNE 28TH.
A REPRESENTATIVE FROM THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE OFFICE IN TAUNTON MASSACHUSETTS CONDUCTED A STORM SURVEY IN FARMINGTON AND WETHERSFIELD CONNECTICUT TODAY DUE TO THE MAJOR DAMAGE WHICH OCCURRED IN THESE TOWNS ON FRIDAY. IN ADDITION...A SURVEY TEAM FROM THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE FORECAST OFFICE IN UPTON NEW YORK CONDUCTED AN AERIAL SURVEY OF THE SAME AREA. THESE SURVEYS CONCLUDED THAT...WHILE MOST OF THE DAMAGE THAT OCCURRED ACROSS SOUTHERN HARTFORD COUNTY WAS DUE TO STRAIGHT LINE WINDS...A NARROW TORNADO OCCURRED IN WETHERSFIELD CONNECTICUT. THIS TORNADO WAS RATED AN EF 1
ON THE ENHANCED FUJITA SCALE...INDICATING WIND SPEEDS BETWEEN 85 AND 100 MPH. DUE TO ONGOING STORM WARNING OPERATIONS...MORE INFORMATION WILL COME IN A LATER REPORT TO BE ISSUED TOMORROW...SUNDAY JUNE 28TH.
Photogallery of tornado damage from FOX61.com
Photogallery from storms on FOX61.com
Meteorologist Joe Fury saw the damage first-hand and made the call on Friday night. But we still have to wait for confirmation and investigation by the National Weather Service. This is why...earlier this month, a TV station relayed a viewer report of a tornado on the ground in Arkansas. Even as the tornado warning expired, the station's meteorologist continued to report a tornado on the ground producing damage due to these viewer's emails. This all turned out to be a hoax, and the FBI is investigating.
Another article about the hoax if you're interested
If you recall, there was an incident in 2007 where WFSB displayed a tornado picture that was a fake. The storm looked potentially tornadic on the radar; however, the photograph looked very unrealistic for Connecticut.
Geoff Fox has a great blog entry about this: http://www.geofffox.com/MT/archives/2007/07/21/know_your_source.php
It should also be noted that the tornado warning issued on that 2007 storm was a result of a police officer spotting a funnel cloud. That was found to be an error. Not all Police officers are certified weather spotters. No damage was found in the area where this alleged tornado was reported.
It's so tough to go live, ad lib, and make quick decisions about the information you're given. But I think we as a station handled the situation Friday well. I leave you with a photo of the calm after the storm. This pic was taken by a viewer named Robert looking southeast from the North Cove region of Essex Village and captures the richness of a clearing summer sky while the sun sets after the storms.