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Hartland of the Storm

Neighbors Still Picking Up From Wednesday’s Wild Weather

  • Line workers repair downed power lines on Martinsville Rd.  in Hartland, Vt., on Sept. 13, 2013. <br/>Valley News - Jennifer Hauck

    Line workers repair downed power lines on Martinsville Rd. in Hartland, Vt., on Sept. 13, 2013.
    Valley News - Jennifer Hauck Purchase photo reprints »

  • Darren Nolet cleans up debris around his home on Martinsville Rd. in Hartland, Vt., on Sept. 13, 2013.  His back porch was badly damaged during a storm on Wednesday night, as well as a boat, Winnebago, and his Corvette. Nolet said everyone in the neighborhood had been helping each other out after the storm, "That's the best thing about Vermont," he said.  "Everybody helps everybody. "<br/>Valley News - Jennifer Hauck

    Darren Nolet cleans up debris around his home on Martinsville Rd. in Hartland, Vt., on Sept. 13, 2013.  His back porch was badly damaged during a storm on Wednesday night, as well as a boat, Winnebago, and his Corvette. Nolet said everyone in the neighborhood had been helping each other out after the storm, "That's the best thing about Vermont," he said. "Everybody helps everybody. "
    Valley News - Jennifer Hauck Purchase photo reprints »

  • Brett Frazer of Winooski, Vt., talks on the phone to the power company  on Sept. 13, 2013. Frazer owns a home on Martinsville Rd. in Hartland, Vt. that has three rental units. The power has been out since Wednesday evening. <br/>Valley News - Jennifer Hauck

    Brett Frazer of Winooski, Vt., talks on the phone to the power company on Sept. 13, 2013. Frazer owns a home on Martinsville Rd. in Hartland, Vt. that has three rental units. The power has been out since Wednesday evening.
    Valley News - Jennifer Hauck Purchase photo reprints »

  • Line workers repair downed power lines on Martinsville Rd.  in Hartland, Vt., on Sept. 13, 2013. <br/>Valley News - Jennifer Hauck
  • Darren Nolet cleans up debris around his home on Martinsville Rd. in Hartland, Vt., on Sept. 13, 2013.  His back porch was badly damaged during a storm on Wednesday night, as well as a boat, Winnebago, and his Corvette. Nolet said everyone in the neighborhood had been helping each other out after the storm, "That's the best thing about Vermont," he said.  "Everybody helps everybody. "<br/>Valley News - Jennifer Hauck
  • Brett Frazer of Winooski, Vt., talks on the phone to the power company  on Sept. 13, 2013. Frazer owns a home on Martinsville Rd. in Hartland, Vt. that has three rental units. The power has been out since Wednesday evening. <br/>Valley News - Jennifer Hauck

Darren Nolet has a routine when a thunderstorm rolls in at night. He grabs a beer, jumps into the hot tub on the back porch of his Martinsville Road home and watches the light show.

Around 8 p.m. Wednesday, he was set to enjoy an imminent storm when another force of nature took over — hunger. Instead of heading into the tub, Nolet drove to his favorite Chinese restaurant for takeout.

By the time he returned, three weeping willows trees in his yard had fallen victim to the wind, and the roof above the hot tub had collapsed near the exact spot where he otherwise would have been taking in the storm.

“I’m so lucky my tummy said I’m hungry, I need to go get Chinese food,” Nolet said Friday, as he and many of his hard-hit neighbors continued to recover from the Wednesday night storm.

By late Friday, there were about 120 customers still without power in Hartland and Widnsor. All remaining homeowners without service in Windsor County should have electricity restored today, GMP said.

Utility crews descended on Martinsville Road on Friday, where downed power lines criss-crossed the dirt road, and toppled trees and limbs made for narrow passage in some spots. About half the road’s residents were expected to have their power restored late Friday, and the other half are expected to have service some time today.

Green Mountain Power said it has made steady progress in restoring power to the last of the 46,000 customers who remain without electricity.

More than 500 workers, including out-of-state and contract crews, were part of the effort to restore service in Vermont, GMP said. It was the third largest storm-related power outage in the past 12 months, behind Super Storm Sandy and a December wind storm, each of which affected 48,000 customers.

In addition to Hartland and Windsor, outages were all but resolved in Tunbridge, Strafford, Sharon, Pomfret, Barnard, Bethel, Hartford and West Windsor late yesterday.

Liberty Utilities, Public Service of New Hampshire and New Hampshire Electric Co-op reported no significant outages on the New Hampshire side of the Upper Valley late Friday.

Hartland Town Manager Bob Stacey said while power outages were reported across the town, the most significant damage was confined to the Martinsville Road area. Hartland Elementary School, which is located on Martinsville Road, was closed Thursday because of an outage, but reopened on Friday. (Damon Hall operated without power Thursday, but had electric service on Friday.)

Flooding was minimal, Stacey said, adding the town’s roads were all in decent shape.

“It was the high velocity winds that took a toll,” Stacey said.

Friday afternoon, Theresa Hoisington and her husband, David, stood in the middle of a closed section of Matrinsville Road and watched crews reattach power lines to utility poles in front of their home.

The Hoisingtons said Wednesday night’s wind and rain sounded like any other late summer storm.

They thought nothing of it until they woke up and saw powerlines and limbs strewn about the ground.

The couple said they had made it through recent days in good cheer. On Thursday, they took a red wagon, predominantly used by their grandchildren, and hauled an empty tank to the gas station a mile away, so they could fuel a generator. During the trip, they stopped in Damon Hall and paid their taxes.

“There are a lot of things that could have happened structurally, it could have been cold, people could have been hurt...” Theresa Hoisington said. “Those things didn’t happen, so it’s awesome. It’s (just) a short-term inconvenience.”

Nolet had it worse. He said he began to worry about the storm Wednesday night when he drove back from the restaurant, and struggled to find a navigable road home. His worst fears were confirmed when he finally arrived.

Glass from his doors had blown through his kitchen and dining room. His dogs were hiding in the cellar.

His Baja sports boat, for which he paid about $14,000, was destroyed — completely cracked down the middle — by a falling limb from a weeping willow tree, as was a Winnebago motor home he had parked in the yard. He said he did not have insurance for the boat.

But he was most upset by the destruction of his back porch, which he said was the primary reason he bought the home 15 years ago. It was a peaceful, private spot where he said he spent many free hours. He hopes he can afford to rebuild it.

Mark Davis can be reached at mcdavis@vnews.com or 603-727-3304.