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Strong Thunderstorm Threat Wednesday


In order to get severe thunderstorms you generally need two things - instability in the atmosphere and strong wind shear. Where the two are juxtaposed there's the potential for severe thunderstorms as long as there's a mechanism for the storms to form in the first place.

Wednesday appears to be one of those times where the ingredients may overlap for a period of time. The winds near the ground will be light out of the south while the winds a couple miles above our heads will be out of the west at more than 60 mph. When winds change speed and direction with height you have wind shear. In this case we have 40 to 50 knots of wind shear between 0 and 6km up which is a sizable amount.

We also have a triggering mechanism moving into southern New England to fire storms in the first place. A cold front and upper level disturbance will swing in from the Great Lakes on Wednesday which should be enough to get showers and thunderstorms going by early afternoon to our northwest.

The question that remains, however, is how much instability will be in place. It's important to figure out how buoyant - or unstable - the atmosphere is. Generally when the air is unusually cold overhead and unusually warm and moist below you have a unstable airmass. The stronger the instability the faster air can accelerate upward resulting in strong updrafts and thunderstorms. 

We have a cold pool of air that will be moving in aloft but it's unclear how warm and moist the low levels of the atmosphere will be. This graph from the Short Range Ensemble or SREF (see below) shows a large spread in possible instability values. CAPE (Convective Available Potential Energy) ranges from several hundred j/kg to nearly 1500 j/kg. If the higher amounts of CAPE verify we could very well see some big storms Wednesday evening. If it's on the lower side of things the storms will likely struggle to maintain themselves.

Given the unusually cold mid level temperatures and strong wind shear - if the instability cooperates damaging winds and large hail would be a threat. It's still early but this is something I'm watching closely. At this point we have a threat for strong/severe thunderstorms in the forecast after 4 p.m. on Wednesday. How widepread or significant the threat is remains to be seen. 

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Former Panama Dictator Manuel Noriega Dies at 83


Manuel Noriega, the former Panamanian dictator whose brutal six-year reign was ended by a U.S. invasion, has died at 83, a hospital in Panama confirmed to NBC News.

Noriega early on caught the attention of the CIA and became a paid informant for the U.S. agency. He then rose to power through the military and served as de facto leader of Panama in the 1980's.

However, Noriega became a brutal, repressive leader and established himself as a drug lord, with some of the biggest banks being used to launder drug money. President George H.W. Bush ordered troops to Panama in 1989 and by Jan. 31, 1990, Noriega was in custody.

Noriega was convicted of drug smuggling and racketeering, becoming the first foreign leader to be convicted of crimes in a U.S. court. He was released in 2007 after serving 17 years of his 40-year sentence.

Photo Credit: AP, File

I-84 Reopens After Crash Involving Bus and Car


Interstate 84 has reopened in Vernon after an accident between a bus and a car overnight.

Connecticut State Police said the accident happened around 2 a.m. in the area of exits 67 and 66.

According to police, the car was traveling in the left lane passing the bus, which was in the center lane, just before the accident occurred. As the car made the pass it began to switch into the center lane, but police said the vehicle began to slow down in a “rapid and unpredictable manner,” causing the bus to collide with it.

No injuries were reported, but the car sustained serious damage and had to be towed from the scene.

The bus suffered some damage to the front end but was able to be driven away.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Progress Report on Trump's Border Wall


President Donald Trump is four months into his term, so NBC News took a look at the progress he's made on his signature promise: building a wall on the 1,900-mile-long United States' southern border.

Construction doesn't seem to have begun, despite Trump issuing an order on his fifth day in office for Customs and Border Patrol to do so with cash on hand.

The estimated cost of building a concrete wall ranges from $1 million to $21.6 million per mile, but ProPublica reported that CBP only had $20 million on hand. CBP did not respond to inquiries about new construction, but there are no signs of any activity.

Trump also promised Mexico would fund the construction, and now says the money will come eventually, as Mexico denies it will pay for it. And the wall may end up looking more like a very tall fence, according to a statement from the director of the Office of Management and Budget.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News

Trump's Communications Director Set to Leave White House


Mike Dubke, the director of communications in Donald Trump's White House, is set to leave after three months on the job, NBC News confirmed. 

A senior official told NBC News that the Republican media strategist submitted a letter of resignation. 

Dubke's departure was first reported by Axios, which said he submitted the resignation May 18 and offered to stay on through Trump's first trip overseas. His official last day is unclear. 

The move comes as Trump has been mulling role changes for his communications team, sources told NBC News.

Former campaign aides Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie, meanwhile, have been brought back into Trump's orbit, sources said.

Photo Credit: Getty Images, File

Statue of Dog Peeing Pops Up Near NYC's 'Fearless Girl'


There was a brand new statue down on Wall Street, but this one didn't last long.

A New York City sculptor, Alex Gardega, claims he put a statue of a dog right next to the "Fearless Girl" that was placed across from the iconic "Charging Bull" earlier in the year. 

The statue, named "Sketchy Dog," was standing next to the wildly popular statue of a young girl staring down Wall Street's famous "Charging Bull" with its leg up as if to urinate. Gardega said that he removed the statue around 12 p.m. Monday, about three hours after he put it there.

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"I took it away personally," he said. "I didn't want to leave it to be taken and certainly had no rights to bolt it to the ground. Most people were amused or perplexed by it."

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Gardega said the "Fearless Girl" wasn't made by some individual artist making a statement, but made by a billion-dollar financial firm trying to promote an index fund.

"I have a lot of empathy for the creator of the bull, Arturo," Gardega told NBC 4 New York early Tuesday. "I'm a pretty happy person, not seething or angry and certainly not anti-feminist. My piece is not without a sense of humor. There is plenty of room for Fearless Girl it just interferes with another artists work/vision."

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The "Fearless Girl" was put in front of the "Charging Bull" for a short-term stay in March for International Women’s Day.

Mayor Bill de Blasio had said later on that the statue could stay a bit  longer.

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12 Bystanders Rush Into Creek to Rescue Dallas Cop


A Dallas police officer was hospitalized Monday after a collision that sent the officer's patrol car airborne, landing about 30 feet below in an Oak Cliff creek.

He was rescued in part by a group of bystanders that rushed into the creek to help right the cruiser and help the officer, who was left with critical injuries. Police hailed the quick response from the "brave and caring citizens" as inspiring.

The officer, responding to a burglary call, was driving southbound on the 3100 block of South Westmoreland Drive near West Keist Boulevard at about 2:15 p.m. when a Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck failed to yield and T-boned the squad car, sending the officer's car into Fivemile Creek, police said.

Dallas Police Sgt. Warren Mitchell, a department spokesman, said officers continue to search for the driver of the truck, who fled the scene after the crash. He also said there may have been more than one person in the truck at the time.

DPD said the officer, whose name has not been released, was transported to Methodist Dallas Medical Center with critical injuries. His condition is stable, police said. 

Several fellow officers were seen entering the hospital Monday evening.

"All of a sudden we heard this loud crash," said witness Lenora Jefferson. "The officer was minding his own business, and then all of sudden we just saw those two collide, and the officer's car became airborne and went into the creek, the ravine."

"I immediately got on the phone to call 911 and told them they needed to get some officers here because one of their comrades had been involved in a crash, and he's in that creek there — and I think it's awful — and they needed to get here as soon as they can, quickly. And they were here quickly," Jefferson said.

Police don't yet know whether the driver intentionally struck the officer's vehicle, and the investigation is ongoing.

A bystander recorded video of at least a dozen people who ran into the creek to try and push the patrol car back onto its tires and help rescue the officer.

Benji Rogers works nearby and was one of the good Samaritans who rushed down to help. He used to work in law enforcement, he said, and his instincts immediately kicked in.

"I knew nobody. Nobody knew me. And everybody was on the same page," Rogers said. "Even in today's society with everything that is going wrong, that's the right thing to do, absolutely. And I wouldn't have thought twice. Everybody just helped out like they're supposed to."

In response to an NBC 5 tweet showing the bystanders' video, Dallas police said Monday evening: "Thank you to these brave and caring citizens who ran to the aid of one of our officers today. The love from our community is truly inspiring."

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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Rain Dampens Shoreline Memorial Day Business


Memorial Day is typically a big day for businesses on the shoreline. But the rain definitely put a damper on that.

Captain Scott's Lobster Dock, in New London, had several empty tables. A stark difference to what it looked like Sunday when the line was so long it took an hour to order.

"Yesterday it was jammed packed. We had music, we had a raw bar," said owner Susan Tierney.

Tierney said she and her staff ordered less food, anticipating the holiday rain.

But it didn't stop the Stearns family, of Boston, from making the trip.

"We were talking about going to McDonald's instead because we could've just eaten inside," said Owen Stearns, who has young kids. "But we decided that Captain Scott's is such an institution and it's part of our Memorial Day tradition, that we had to brave the weather and come out here."

In Groton, not many people were on the green at Shennecossett Golf Course this Memorial Day, either.

"We had a good morning scheduled. But (the rain) really knocked us out," said Head Professional Todd Goodhue. "But we did have four groups that went out in the rain."

Monday's weather didn't stop sailors at Niantic Bay Yacht Club from racing out on the water.

"Cause we waited all winter! It was a rough winter... It's what we live for," said sailor Jeff Shay of Lexington, Virginia.

But the beach at the Yacht Club, that normally is packed when then sun is out, was completely empty.

So, parents took their kids inside to places like NASKART in Montville to race karts or take advantage of the trampoline park.

NASKART opened specially for the holiday and staff said they saw at least 100 more people than expected.

"Today was supposed to be a rainy day and the kids would've been stuck inside. So we drove all the way up from the Bronx to come," said mom Javine Baez, who made the trip with two other families.

"I'd honestly prefer to be here. It's better than sitting home all day," said 12-year-old Terrell Tyler.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Guy Fieri Spotted at Branford Wedding Venue


Wedding guests at WoodWinds in Branford Sunday night may have spotted a famous face.

The venue posted a photo of a guest with who they identified as celebrity chef and TV personality Guy Fieri on their Facebook page.

The photo was captioned “Just met guy fieri. Heading straight to flavortown.”

Fieri is a restaurateur and TV host. According to his biography on the Food Network website, his career started in 1996 when he opened Johnny Garlic’s in Santa Rosa, California. Today he own multiple restaurants across the country, including one at Foxwoods Resort Casino, and hosts two shows on the network – Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and Guy’s Grocery Games.

Fieri's social media accounts did not indicate why he was in Connecticut. NBC Connecticut has reached out to his publicist for confirmation of the visit.

The WoodWinds is a wedding and events venue on Schoolground Road in Branford. There were multiple weddings at the venue Sunday night.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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Pedestrian Struck on I-84 East in Newtown; Off-Ramp Closed


Serious injuries have been reported after a pedestrian was struck on Interstate 84 east Newtown Tuesday morning.

Connecticut State Police said the accident happened at the exit 11 off-ramp. Seriously injuries have been reported, but no other details were immediately available.

The ramp is closed while police investigate.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Security Increased at Thomas Edison Middle School in Meriden


Security is increased at Thomas Edison Middle School in Meriden today after a student posted something on social media yesterday, according to the spokesperson for ACES, the regional educational service center that runs the school. 

School administrators made police aware of the posting and security was increased at the middle school as a precaution today. 

Officials said school administrators are disciplining the student. 

Thomas Edison Middle School is located at 1355 North Broad St, in Meriden.

Photo Credit: NBC Boston

Modernist Tuscan Villa for Sale in Washington


Photo Credit: Klemm Real Estate

Driver Who Hit Subway Might Have Suffered Medical Emergency


The driver of a Penske truck that crashed into a Subway restaurant in Farmington on Tuesday morning might have suffered a medical emergency while driving, according to police.

The driver was going west on Route 4, near Knollwood Road, when he went off the road, hit a utility pole and a parked car before hitting the corner of the building at 1426 Farmington Ave. at 11:21 a.m. , police said. 

No one else was injured, according to police. 

Emergency crews and building officials are at the scene and witnesses are asked to call Farmington Police at 860-675-2400.

Photo Credit: Mikayla Bernetich

Marine Surprises Sister at Graduation Party


A marine from Connecticut had a sweet surprise for his sister this weekend.

Larissa Gade of Wallingford said she was devastated that her brother Jason missed her graduation from Quinnipiac University due to his military service in the US Marine Corps.

But Jason had a plan. Over the weekend he surprised her by coming home for her graduation party. Check out the video where he makes his appearance in a load of hay bales.

Photo Credit: Gade Family

These Spelling Bee Words Knocked Out the Competition


Words that are difficult enough to boot spellers from spelling bee competition rounds are called knockout words. 

With the premier spelling bee in the nation kicking off this week in Washington, D.C., here are five knockout words selected from the last 10 years, as provided by the Scripps National Spelling Bee's office. Competitors who misspelled these words placed fourth or higher in the competition.

Try this quiz to see if you can spell words that befuddled past Scripps National Spelling Bee contestants. 


Photo Credit: Getty Images
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West Haven Boy to Compete in National Spelling Bee


A 12-year-old West Haven boy will be competing this week to become the best speller in the country.

Arin Bhandari, a sixth grader at May V. Carrigan Intermediate School, will be the one competitor from the state in the national spelling bee.

The bio on the national spelling bee website says Arin enjoys academic challenges, has impeccable grades and is active in the school community, participating in the student council, drama club and the school band.

He also swims competitively and aspires to attend Harvard or Yale.

Take the test and see how you do. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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7-Year-Old Hartford Girl Found


A 7-year-old Harford girl who was reported missing after her mother took her has been found, according to police, who said the incident was a custody issue.

A Silver Alert issued Tuesday said police were looking for 7-year-old Paige Prescod and Paige’s mother, 34-year-old Khalilah French.

Both have been located and are safe, according to police.

First Alert: Strong Thunderstorms Possible Wednesday


NBC Connecticut Meteorologists have issued a First Alert for potentially strong to severe thunderstorms Wednesday evening.

We're forecasting showers and thunderstorms to move into western Connecticut between 6 and 8 p.m. 

Here's a look at First Alert Future Radar at 9:30 which shows a line of thunderstorms moving across the state.

Some of the storm have the potential to become strong to even severe. Strong and severe storms have the capability of producing damaging winds and hail. The storms will also produce a fair amount of lightning.

Make sure to stay with the NBC Connecticut First Alert Weather Team for continuing updates on this thunderstorm threat.

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Congressional Probe Now Includes Trump Lawyer Michael Cohen


President Donald Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, confirmed to NBC News that he has received requests for information from the Senate and House intelligence committees as part of their probes into Russian interference in the U.S. election.

A congressional aide told NBC News similar requests letters seeking to learn information about communications with Russia were sent to former Trump aides Carter Page, Roger Stone, Paul Manafort, Mike Flynn and others.

Cohen is a long-time lawyer for both Trump and his business organization. He has served as executive vice president of the Trump Organization and special counsel to Trump.

Photo Credit: AP

Man Accused of Stealing Car, Cigarettes in Milford


A man accused of a car theft and a gas station burglary in Milford was arrested after a chase on Sunday and Milford officers are working with other local agencies where similar types of burglaries have happened.

Police said they received a complaint about a stolen late 90s model green Subaru motor vehicle and license plate from a dealership on New Haven Avenue.

Then, around 3:50 a.m., a burglary alarm went off at a New Haven Avenue gas station. Police found that the front door was forced open and several cartons of cigarettes were stolen.

When police reviewed video surveillance, they realized the car matched the description of the stolen car, which was seen around 4:50 a.m. in the Interstate 95 northbound rest stop.

But David Schoendorf, 42, of Branford, fled on I-95 northbound and there was a brief chase, police said.

Officers said they called it off due to public safety concerns and Schoendorf turned the vehicle around on I-95 North and began heading south.

When police found and searched the car, they found several cartons of cigarettes in the vehicle, but Schoendorf was nowhere to be found.

While checking the I-95 South rest stop, police saw Schoendorf and they took him into custody.

Schoendorf was charged with first-degree reckless endangerment, third-degree larceny, possession of a controlled substance, disorderly conduct, interfering with an arrest, second-degree breach of peace, reckless driving, operating an unregistered motor vehicle, misuse of a license plate and no insurance.

He was held on a $250,000 bond.

Photo Credit: MIlford Police
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