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possible tornado in Vermont

To accompany the report of the Alaska tornado, we had quite a show here in northern Vermont on Monday, including what the NWS thinks may have been a tornado, based on radar imagery.

I missed that specific event, but had my own adventure while driving home with my kids just as a severe T-storm blew into the town of Richmond, which is about 15 minutes east of Burlington. The tops of the trees began blowing wildly as the result of what I (and apparently, later, the weather service) estimated to be 70-mph winds resulting from a microburst. I was ready for it and quickly pulled over in a parking area, taking great care to stay out of range of any power lines or trees.

A few minutes later, quarter-sized hail started falling. I realize that's a walk in the park for those of you in the Plains who think nothing of having your chase vehicles pounded by baseballs, but for northern New England, it's a big deal. It didn't last long, but it was impressive.

The nastiest stuff blew over after about 10 minutes, and I was quite happy with my decision to wait it out on the side of the road when I drove the 20 minutes home and found large tree limbs along nearly my entire route, along with a few downed trees, including one that fell halfway across the road. The next day, Tuesday, I saw a 2-foot diameter tree down near my son's daycare. It had fallen all the way across the road (the blockage had been removed by the time I saw it).

Turns out the wind event was quite destructive to a popular nonprofit ski area where many of the local kids up here (including mine) learn to ski. This article discusses the damage, as well as the possible tornado:


Hopefully they'll be able to raise the money to do the necessary repairs before the snows return.

This kind of severe weather isn't once in a lifetime here, but it's quite rare, so I thought I'd report on it. Just to give you an idea of statistics, there have only been 37 tornadoes in Vermont since 1950. There has never been a tornado-related death, nor a tornado stronger than F-2.
Between 1998 and 1990 when I lived in Brattleboro VT in SE VT, the nearby Newfane VT newspaper ran an extremely humorous cartoon with a man holding on for dear life suspended on a street sign while a tornado raged behind him. The caption read: "looks like a tornado, sounds like a tornado, feels like a tornado; must be straightline winds.."
This particular storm had several funnel cloud reports, and alot of damage but was classified as straight line.
During the time I lived in New England there were occasional controverseys that came up over this type of thing.
By the way, after living in the Midwest for several years, my first F-2 damage was seen in MA, and my first apparent tornado picture was taken from the top of Mt. Monadnock in southwest NH, of a rain wrapped funnel cloud that had reports of downed telephone poles below it. It emerged just east of a clear slot in an intense storm.