The National Weather Service investigated Friday’s storm damage in eastern Glastonbury and determined it was caused by a microburst (straight line winds) and not a tornado. Winds were estimated at speeds from 85-100 mph in the hardest hit area at around 4:30 PM.
A microburst is a fast moving column of sinking air that comes down from a cloud. When that air hits the ground, it spreads out in all directions. Microbursts can cause extensive damage and can sometimes look like tornado damage.
The damage area in question was from Homestead Drive, Paddock Street and Wassuc Road to just north of Hebron Avenue. In this area numerous trees were uprooted or snapped off near the tree base. In the Butler Drive/Needletree Lane area, 30-40 trees were uprooted with damage to three homes.
Here's what the velocities looked like around the time of the microburst. You can clearly tell this is a mesocyclone or rotating storm. The red color is rain/wind moving away from the radar. The green shows wind moving towards the radar. The rotation was over such a broad area! But the NWS in Taunton issued a tornado warning anyway, just to be safe.