Storms sweep through Vermont
STAFF and WIRE REPORTS | September 09,2012
Vyto Starinskas / Staff Photo
Low, ominous rain clouds move over the Vermont State Fair in Rutland, where fairgoers were instructed to seek shelter until the storm passed Saturday evening.
A tornado watch was posted in Vermont as a late-summer storm blustered up the East Coast on Saturday.
The storm, actually a line of intense thunderstorms which stretched from Quebec to Virginia, swept into Vermont around 5 p.m., with gusting wind and heavy rains, leaving nearly 10,000 utility customers without power from St. Albans to Bennington.
Andrew Loconto, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Burlington, said at 6:30 p.m. Saturday that forecasters were about to lift the statewide tornado watch — but not before a series of violent storms carrying estimated wind speeds of up to 60 mph caused at least a few power outages.
“And there could have been winds speeds locally higher than that,” Loconto said.
Reports of downed trees and power lines in East Wallingford came in at about 5:15 p.m. “In Rutland County, that’s all we’ve heard of as of now,” he said.
The system was on track to exit the state before sundown, according to Loconto, who attributed the severe weather to an easterly moving cold front colliding with warm, muggy air in the Champlain Valley.
In Montpelier, a shortlived downpour drenched the Capital City in a matter of minutes. High winds carried the heavy rains sideways down city streets as pedestrians sought cover.
The heavy rain disrupted the South End Art Hop in Burlington, the Vermont State Fair in Rutland, and numerous other public events statewide. At the Vermont State Fair, a public-address announcement asked people to get in their cars or under cover as the dark line of clouds loomed over the Taconic Mountains to the west.
Officials had fairgoers waiting for Scotty McCreery’s performance stand up against the grandstands so they did not have to lose their place in line.
The Rutland High School girls’ soccer team was caught by the storm while returning from a game against Champlain Valley Union High School, and had to use garbage bags to catch the water leaking into the bus.
In Manchester, the Jay Hathaway Memorial Half Marathon and 5K went off in muggy weather Saturday morning without a hitch, but by 6:30 p.m. the town, along with Arlington and Sunderland, had more than 1,800 homes without power, according to Green Mountain Power.
No watches had been issued in Maine or New Hampshire Saturday afternoon, the National Weather Service said. But a high-surf advisory was in effect until Sunday evening along beach areas of New Hampshire. The high surf advisory extending into Maine also included threats of lightning strikes.
Southern portions of New England — western Connecticut and Massachusetts — also had tornado watches.
In Maine, forecasters said thunderstorms packing high winds could hit much of the state. Meteorologist Tom Hawley said New Hampshire couldn’t rule out a severe front moving through about midnight.
“I will be shocked if any points east of the Penobscot (River in eastern Maine) will get severe weather,” Hawley said.
In New York City on Saturday, a tornado hurled debris in the air and knocked out power.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.