The Hamden tornado was easily the most destructive tornado in a series of tornadoes on July 10th, 1989. A total of 17 tornadoes ripped through New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Jersey during that outbreak.
Around 5:38 p.m. the Hamden tornado touched down near Route 15. Cars were thrown into the air, rows of houses were completely destroyed and an industrial park was flattened.
The tornado stayed on the ground for only seven minutes, but the damage was done.
The damage path was about five miles long, stopping just short of the city of New Haven. Approximately 400 structures were demolished from the tornado.
As meteorologists surveyed the damage, the tornado was classified as an EF-4 tornado, with winds of over 150 miles per hour and possibly as high as 200 miles per hour.
The storm cell was so strong that winds even gusted to 80 miles per hour in downtown New Haven, which is equal to that of a Category 1 hurricane. Winds associated with the tornado itself were equivelant to the strongest possible hurricane, which would be a Category 5 storm.