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After Devastating Storms, Hamden’s Sleeping Giant Has ‘Very Different’ Set of Clothing

Julie Hulten, a volunteer with the Sleeping Giant Park Association, said her group is eager to help clean up the park, but they're staying out until they get the green light from the state. Photo by Patrick Skahill for Connecticut Public Radio

Julie Hulten, a volunteer with the Sleeping Giant Park Association, said her group is eager to help clean up the park, but they’re staying out until they get the green light from the state. Photo by Patrick Skahill for Connecticut Public Radio

In May, several tornadoes touched down in Connecticut — destroying homes, uprooting trees and knocking out power to thousands of customers. The tornadoes also devastated several state parks, including the iconic Sleeping Giant State Park in Hamden.

Walking through Sleeping Giant’s picnic area, the once-shaded grove is virtually unrecognizable.

Pine trees are everywhere, uprooted and scattered like toothpicks. Picnic tables are flipped sideways, pinned in place by dead trees that fell like dominoes. Cooking grills are twisted, square frames wrapped like molten metal around sheared-off trunks.

Tom Tyler, director of Connecticut state parks, surveyed the devastation.

“What’s striking to to me is the unbelievably high number of trees that were just sheared off halfway up,” Tyler said, “indicating the tremendous forces that were at play here to snap these big pine trees like they were twigs.”

Those forces were at play across Fairfield, Litchfield, and New Haven counties on May 15, when four tornadoes touched down in Connecticut.

The National Weather Service said Hamden was one of six towns those tornados hit.

Visit WNPR for the full story.