Update 10 p.m.: According to a report by News Channel 12, 10 people were injured and six were sent to the hospital from a microburst at the Boy Scouts of America ConnJam in Orange. A microburst is a strong downdraft with a rush of damaging winds on or near the ground. Microbursts are similar to tornadoes and are quick-hitting and capable of extreme damage. Witnesses at ConnJam say the microburst at today’s event lasted only around 10 seconds.
Earlier report: Huge wind gusts and what could possibly be a tornado interrupted the festivities at a Boy Scout ConnJam event in Orange this afternoon, sending several people to the hospital.
Around 12:15, a funnel-shaped swirl of wind smashed a scouting pavilion, uprooted tents and tore down an inflatable obstacle course and bounce house, according to Rick Phillips, assistant scoutmaster of Weston Troop 788, who is attending the event with 12 Weston Boy Scouts and several adult leaders.
One adult and six children were sent to the hospital, Mr. Phillips said. He believes the adult suffered a gash to the head and scouts were injured when the wind tore through the bounce house. No one from Weston was injured and phone calls were made to parents reassuring them everyone was all right, he said.
The wind surprised the group from Weston who were in their tents and having lunch at the time. An approximate 100-foot high funnel-shaped gust tore its way through the tent-filled grounds carrying paper goods and plates from the food pavilion. The wind then disappeared quickly, Mr. Phillips said. He said some people, including law enforcement officials, believe the gust may have been a tornado. It has not been officially classified as such at this time.
There are approximately 3,500 people attending the two-day Boy Scouts of America ConnJam event, which is being held at the Orange Fairgrounds. The event is going on as scheduled.