I am hoping that everyone had a decent 4th of July, despite the active and dangerous weather! I was keeping very busy in the weather center keeping tabs on severe thunderstorms with damaging winds and hail, as well as torrential downpours and frequent lightning.
Here's the scoop...
Scattered severe thunderstorms raked the region from north to south on the 4th, starting around 2:30pm, and finishing shortly before 11pm. These t'storms were a result of a weak trough of low pressure that passed before a cold front. Several reports of damage to trees and powerlines resulted from wind gusts estimate in the 60-70 mph range. There were a few personal damage reports including trees on cars, boats flipped, and one tree on a small plane in South Burlington. Finally, and this one realllly amazed me, there was one report of tennis ball sized hail from Peasleeville, NY that smashed windows (wow...that sounds like armageddon now that I type it). NO injuries that I am aware of. For a full list of damage and flood reports from the National Weather Service in Burlington, click here.
A bit more in detail now, of what happened! To start, there were several individual complexes of thunderstorms causing a variety of impacts through the afternoon and evening. Two in particular that stood out..one that passed through Lamoille, Washington, and Caledonia county around the 4-5pm timeframe, the second passed out of Montreal and travelled down the Champlain Valley region around 6:30-8pm. While there were several other smaller storm complexes, these two stood out.
Let's first discuss the storms that passed through northeastern Vermont. A cluster of thunderstorms travelled southeastward at about 40mph. The storms eveolved as they travelled, at one point bubbling up to such a high and powerful storm, it essentially collapsed on itself. A rush of dense air came screaming out from the bottom of the cloud, and then hit the ground spreading out, resulting in destructive winds. This is called a microburst. The National Weather Service traveled on Thursday, to the regions that experienced the maximum wind speeds, estimated at 60-70 mph, even 80 mph locally! Some of the hardest hit regions were Danville, Walden, and Cabot. Several clusters of trees were blown down as the storms blew through.
The photo below is a photo of the damage done in Walden, Vermont as the microburst downed several trees, note the uni-directional damage. This photo is courtesy of the National Weather Service in Burlington from their damage survey on Thursday, July 5th.
Finally, here's what radar looked like as this storm blew up over the northeast kingdom in Vermont at 4:20pm.
Next, the Champlain Valley storms. A powerful line of thunderstorms called a bow-echo barrelled southward out of Montreal and down the Champlain Valley at 40-60 mph! A bow echo is seen on radar as a line of thunderstorms, bowing into a backwards c-shape with the leading point (or apex of the 'c') packing the most destructive winds. This region of maximum wind speeds passed right through Vermont's most populated region, Burlington and surrounding towns/communities. Winds were estimated at 60-70 mph at the peak blowing down several trees and powerlines. In addition to damaging winds, this storm also carried along an incredible amount of moisture, producing torrential downpours which led to brief flash flooding on many city streets. At our Fox44/ABC22 studio in Colchester, we picked up 1.56" as the storm passed through. Here's what the bow echo looked like on radar at 7:10pm as it was crossing into Burlington (among many other towns)...notice the bright red and orange region in the backwards 'c' shape (which I have annotated in purple).
I received several photos and video through social media. Thank you to everyone who safely submitted storm reports and photos.
This photo was sent to me via Twitter from @TommyHorrocks. The photo is from the microburst in Danville, VT.
This photo was actually sent by morning meteorologist Steve Glazier who went out to check out some damage on Wednesday evening. The photo was sent from I-189 in South Burlington of a tree downed across the road...one of the many downed by the bow echo.
This photo is the beauty of the storms, sent in to our Fox 44 Facebook page by Ellen Richards in Berlin, VT.
Fox 44 News reporter Matt Austin and photographer Bob Conley braved the storms to capture some incredible footage. You can check that out by clicking here.
If there is any silver lining here. Many areas were behind on rain for the year and could have used some! Well, Burlington certainly did that with 1-2" for many in the Burlington area and surrounding regions. For the Burlington Int'l Airport, here is the yearly tally for rain...still a bit below average, despite the brand new 1.41" in recent days.