Wednesday, May 28, 2014

No Tornado In Vermont Tuesday, But Supercell Thunderstorm Was Super Impressive, Super Damaging

From the National Weather Service: Storm damage
in Addison County, Vermont. Add caption
Meteorologists with the National Weather Service in South Burlington, Vermont spent the day Wednesday exploring Addison and Rutland counties, Vermont, along the path of an intense supercell thunderstorm that prompted tornado warnings on Tuesday.

The scientists found no evidence of a tornado, but did find an impressively large area of wind and especially hail damage.

Judging from what the National Weather Service said, and eyewitness accounts, this might be one of the most damaging single thunderstorms Vermont has ever seen.

Squall lines with multiple thunderstorms have probably on occasion caused more damage in Vermont, but this single supercell, which formed in the New York Adirondacks around 2:30 p.m. and dissipated in far southeastern Vermont around 6 p.m. is one for the record books.  
Hail broke these windows on Merchants Row in downtown
Rutland, Vermont. Photo from 

According to the National Weather Service report on the storm issued Wednesday evening, a three mile wide, 20 mile long swath of wind damage was noted from Bridport to Sudbury.

Within that swath, there was 40 to 60 mph winds, but in some spots in this area, downbursts caused winds of 75 to 85 mph.

A barn was damaged, as were some silos, and a utility pole snapped. Many, many trees toppled.

As the storm marched southeastward in to Rutland County, the wind tapered off, but the hail really became intense.

The chaos in Rutland, Vermont during the supercell thunderstorm
Photo by Kell Giffin, via NECN.  
There's no way to know for sure, but it might have been one of the worst hail storms in Vermont history.  

The hail started in Bridport, and continued in an incredibly long 35-mile swath to south of Rutland.

In many places, the hail was quarter to golf balls sized. In Proctor, newly leafed out trees are bare again, since an incredible volume of falling hail took the leaves off the trees.

In Rutland, many, many cars were dented, windows are shattered and gardens ruined.

In Cornwall, so much hail fell during the storm that some was left on the ground 24 hours after the storm passed. Photographs and videos taken during the storm in Rutland showed the ground totally white with hail, and visibility near zero in thick falling hail and rain. The images looked as if they were taken in an intense winter blizzard.

Flash flooding for the intense hail and downpours caused flash flooding in Rutland, damaging cars, homes and buildings as basements flooded.  
The menacing supercell thunderstorm rolls
into Shoreham, Vermont Tuesday in this
image from WPTZ-TV.  

So yes, Vermont has gone without a tornado since May, 2012, but this storm in Addison and Rutland counties was one for the record books. And the insurance adjusters.

It will be interesting to see if anybody tallies the dollar amount of damage from the storm. I'm guessing it could go into the millions of dollars.

Here's a video of the storm and its aftermath in downtown Rutland, Vermont. Note the shredded leaves on the sidewalk from the hail, the accumulated hail, and especially the flash flooding:

Another video of the intense hail in Rutland, Vermont yesterday:

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