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Storm Touches Down in Connecticut Tobacco Country

David Savona, Gregory Mottola
Posted: July 1, 2013

Editor's note: This story was originally posted on Monday. It was updated on Tuesday after the National Weather Service confirmed the storm was a tornado.

A tornado struck the Connecticut River Valley on Monday afternoon, tearing the netting away from a Connecticut-shade tobacco field and flattening plants that were almost ready to be harvested.

The tornado, with maximum winds of 90 miles per hour, touched down in the tobacco town of Windsor, then moved 2.25 miles as it made its way across the neighboring towns of Windsor Locks and East Windsor, according to the Hartford Courant.

Windsor Locks tobacco field.
Photo by David Owens/Hartford Courant

The storm caused some damage to homes, blew a truck over on its side and knocked out power to thousands in the state.

The tobacco netting from a field of Connecticut shade was torn away and ended up strewn across trees, on power lines and on neighboring houses.

A photograph posted by the Courant showed a damaged tobacco field, its netting removed and the mature plants flattened to the ground. This is the heart of shade tobacco growing season in Connecticut, when covered fields are typically full of plants nearly ready for harvest.

The damage, while dramatic, should not have a great impact. The tobacco in the field was for General Cigar Co., the maker of Macanudo cigars—which are wrapped in Connecticut shade—and one of the biggest consumers of that type of cigar wrapper. According to Ernest Gocaj, General Cigar's director of tobacco procurement: "The crop loss in Connecticut is not significant and it will not have any impact on General Cigar."

Tobacco has been grown in Connecticut for hundreds of years. The hot, humid summers in the region are ideal for growing tobacco but can also spawn severe storms.

For more storm photographs, check out this gallery from the Hartford Courant.

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