My first definite weather memory. I was five and we were coming home from Fishers Island. I first remember my parents commenting on how ominous the sky looked down the coast as we crossed the Sound on the ferry. As we approached East Haven, things went pretty bananas. I remember we were in traffic and the sky was ruddy green and then black, with frequent cloud to ground lightning. It began pouring and the wind was buffeting the car. As we got near the reservoir, my dad said something like, "What the hell is going on?" and indicated to a whole stand of pine trees off to the right that had been sheared off mid-trunk and metal road signs that were bent over. Once we got into New Haven, it took us hours to get to our house in Hamden. Our normal exits were blocked by fallen trees and we had to weave around back roads trying to find an open route home. I remember a roof across one street and tons of downed trees and lines. When we finally made it, we had half of a major pine down in the yard and two windows that had been knocked out by hail. Mind you we lived about 2 miles from where the tornado touched down. For years afterwards, when we'd drive through East Rock, there were large chunks of insulation and roofing hanging like confetti from the trees, which we believe were the remains of the roof of the Albertus Magnus gym.
Anecdotally, I belonged to a playgroup at the time that met at a house right in the tornado's path. The mother who oversaw it was from Kansas and she told us later that she took one look at the green sky, grabbed her kids and went straight to the basement. Her son had panic attacks every time he heard thunder for years after that. Also, my godparents lived about a quarter mile from the worst damage and I remember my godmother pointing out a badly damaged oak tree on their street that had a slate shingle embedded a good three inches into it. Wonder if it's still there... My uncle lived not far from the touchdown too (he was right in the middle of the May tornado this year on Gaylord Mtn Rd) and he said from his basement window the air took on a weirdly yellow/brown color and he could see debris going sideways down his street at tremendous speed. Anyway, a special day in NE weather history.