Storm topples trees, knocks out power in Hollis

·2 min read

Aug. 6—A short, violent storm left devastation in a section of Hollis on Friday afternoon.

The storm came on quick, residents of the Silver Lake area of Hollis said, with a summer thunderstorm quickly becoming violent.

"You could watch the wind line go right up the lake," said Tom Vitullo, a local resident, after the storm, as he helped a neighbor chainsaw a path down a driveway.

The high winds lasted just a few minutes, residents said. But the brief storm ripped down dozens of trees, blocking several roads and leaving almost 700 homes without power.

Two pine trees fell on Zachary Leishman's truck, just as he was getting in. He thought he was going out into the rain, but did not realize the severity of the storm.

"I've never had my life flash before my eyes like that," Leishman said. "I'm lucky to be alive."

Hollis Fire Department Chief Robert Boggis said no one was hurt in the storm.

Fallen trees blocked Federal Hill Road and Wood Lane, trapping several people in the neighborhood.

Jeffrey Randell said he sheltered in his bathtub when he heard the wind pick up — a recent transplant from North Carolina, Randell has seen violent weather.

Randell lost power when falling trees ripped down power lines, and utility poles snapped. With the residual air conditioning in his house dissipating into the muggy summer evening, he decided to make a reservation for the night at a hotel in Nashua.

But with several fallen trees blocking his street, Randell was not sure he would be able to get out.

As of 6 p.m. Friday, workers were clearing trees from the roads. Eversource spokesman William Hinkle said crews were on site. More than 1,400 homes and businesses in Hollis and Nashua lost power, but Hinkle said different areas would be restored at different times. By 7 p.m., power had been restored to Nashua and other towns, but almost 700 customers in Hollis were still without power.

Beyond the low-lying Silver Lake area, most of Hollis was spared.

The National Weather Service has not determined exactly what happened, but meteorologist Michael Clair said there was nothing pointing to a tornado.

Instead, Clair said the weather service suspected a small storm dissipated, and a strong wind gust swept across the area. With the current hot, humid air mass hanging over New Hampshire, Clair said the service saw several small storms Friday. But none were as violent as the storm in Hollis.