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Storms hit some neighborhoods hard and left others unmarked

  • Tomas Bueno and Maria Bueno, of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., check out the damage caused by fallen trees on their daughter's house on Marsh Family Road in Quechee, Vt., on Thursday, July 1, 2021. The Buenos' daughter and son-in-law are in Florida and asked them to check on the house after hearing about the storm. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News / Report For America photographs — Alex Driehaus

  • Sean Smith, owner of Smith and Sons Tree and Land Care Services, LLC, saws a tree trunk into pieces as he clears away debris from a property on Marsh Family Road in Quechee, Vt., on Thursday, July 1, 2021. Smith said he is removing debris from several properties on the road following damage caused by a storm on Wednesday. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Eustis Cable Enterprises linemen, from left, Jaylen Goodwin, Logan Hood, and Luke Plumley replace cable lines on Marsh Family Road in Quechee, Vt., on Thursday, July 1, 2021. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News / Report For America — Alex Driehaus

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 7/1/2021 9:58:48 PM
Modified: 7/1/2021 10:00:31 PM

QUECHEE — A heavy thunderstorm that blew through the Twin States on Wednesday reached wind speeds of a Category 1 hurricane in parts of Hartford and brought down power lines and more than 100 trees around the Upper Valley, according to weather experts.

Most of the power outages had been resolved by Thursday afternoon, with just a few customers in Bridgewater, Lebanon and Plainfield reporting outages at 2 p.m. But the lasting damage of the storm may take a while to fix.

At least five homes in Hartford reported some kind of storm-related damage, such as trees hitting their property or houses, and siding and roofing blowing off in the heavy winds, Hartford Fire Chief Scott Cooney said.

“We had a steady stream of fire alarms and a lot of reports of trees on wires,” Cooney said Thursday.

The calls started coming in around 3 p.m. Wednesday as the storm began and lasted into the evening as residents around Hartford saw their power go off and around six telephone poles taken down by the winds, he said.

The most serious calls came from an area in Quechee around Marsh Family Road, which was rendered “completely impassable” by downed trees and branches from midafternoon until 11:30 p.m., Cooney said.

“I think we had a very unique event happen in a specific part of town,” Cooney said.

A particularly bad section of road was the intersection of Marsh Family Road and Davenport Lane, which the National Weather Service called “ground zero” for the storm, with around 100 trees in the wooded area snapping off or uprooting due to the high winds, according to a news release from Scott Whittier of the National Weather Service’s Burlington office.

Winds in that area of Hartford reached between 70 and 80 miles per hour, which is within the wind speed of a category one hurricane, according to Brooke Taber, meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Burlington office. He said the impact of the storm in that area was worsened by the surrounding environment and terrain, with two rivers nearby and the Connecticut River only a few miles away. Additionally, the heat and humidity in the days leading up to the storm may have played a part in its intensity, he said.

“There were conditions that were favorable for severe thunderstorms yesterday. It created the right amount of instability,” he added.

Other parts of the Upper Valley experienced similar problems as a result of the storm. Jack Smith, who works with Upper Valley Property Service, said he and his boss were putting up a fence on Advent Hill Road in Hartland when the heavy winds blew through Wednesday afternoon, forcing the men to take shelter in their truck.

“We tried to make it back out but all the roads listed were blocked off by trees and downed power lines,” Smith wrote in a message to the Valley News on Thursday. Smith, his boss and residents in the area spent a while using chainsaws to clear trees from the road before he was finally able to make it back to Wilder two hours later, Smith said.

In Lebanon, the impact of the storm was split, with northern and eastern parts of the city seeing little damage, but multiple problems reported near Route 12A and Trues Brook Road.

At a home on Seminary Hill Road in West Lebanon, lightning struck a nearby tree just after 3 p.m., traveled underground and started a small fire in a dryer vent in the basement, Lebanon Fire Chief Chris Christopoulos said. No one was injured in the blaze, and firefighters were able to get it under control quickly, but it caused some damage to the house, he said.

Closer to Plainfield, the area around Trues Brook Road was particularly hard hit by the storm, Christopoulos said. A tree fell through a roof at a home on Chelsea Circle, causing damage to the rafters but no injuries; on Trues Brook Road another downed tree caused damage to a house.

Additionally, Christopoulos said downed trees on Route 12A and Trues Brook Road forced officials to close sections of both roads while they worked on clearing the area.

Anna Merriman can be reached at amerriman@vnews.com or 603-727-3216.




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