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Nashua;61.0;http://forecast.weather.gov/images/wtf/small/fg.png;2014-11-24 11:14:38
Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Humid air spawns strong storms in Nashua area, across New England on Tuesday

Strong thunderstorms rife with thunder, lightning and torrential rains that at one point triggered a brief tornado warning jangled the nerves of residents across Hillsborough and Rockingham counties Tuesday afternoon.

But aside from several reports of street flooding and a slew of power surges that set off residential and business security and fire alarms throughout the area, the storms left little, if any, damage and caused no known injuries. ...

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Strong thunderstorms rife with thunder, lightning and torrential rains that at one point triggered a brief tornado warning jangled the nerves of residents across Hillsborough and Rockingham counties Tuesday afternoon.

But aside from several reports of street flooding and a slew of power surges that set off residential and business security and fire alarms throughout the area, the storms left little, if any, damage and caused no known injuries.

Weather experts cautioned Tuesday night that more storms are due to move through the area in the next 24-36 hours. On Tuesday evening, meteorologists were watching a line of storms in New York and southern New England that were moving northeast.

During the height of Tuesday afternoon’s storms, deep water accumulated at two perpetually flood-prone locations in Nashua – parking lots in parts of the Twin Ponds and Bayridge residential complexes and the intersection of Daniel Webster Highway at Silver Drive – around 4:30 p.m., roughly 20 minutes after the heaviest downpours began.

The water receded fairly quickly around the apartments and condos, but nearly 3 feet of standing water made travel tricky for motorists on the Daniel Webster highway for more than an hour.

A significant traffic backup resulted in the southbound lanes as drivers skirted the edges of the small pond that covered the right lane and part of the middle one in front of McDonald’s restaurant.

One mid-size car that apparently got in a little too deep sat in the right lane with its flashers on, causing a second bottleneck just south of the flooded area.

Nashua Fire Rescue Deputy Chief Karl Gerhard said the department responded to between eight and 10 alarms that were activated by power surges attributed to lightning. The first few came in from the north end of the city, he said, then the pattern switched to several south-end locations.

A crew also responded to the Daniel Webster Highway flood, Gerhard said, adding that wind didn’t seem to play a major role in Tuesday’s round of storms.

But a series of powerful wind bursts did blast their way through the southern end of Hudson, according to Fire Capt. Todd Hansen.

There was no serious damage “that we saw,” Hansen said, but several employees of BAE Systems at 65 River Road told crews they spotted what seemed to be clouds beginning to form a rotating pattern as they watched the storm approach.

BAE was one of several calls for alarm activations that firefighters answered, Hansen said. Two lightning strikes set off, and caused some damage to, the building’s alarm system, he added.

In Merrimack, meanwhile, the storm seemed to be the strongest in the north end of town, where numerous alarm activations were reported along with a power outage in the Bedford Road area.

A fire official said around 6 p.m. that the department had received no reports of flooding or injuries from the storm.

The same was true in Milford, where a dispatcher said there was nothing to report in the wake of the storms.

High winds did, however, make their presence felt in central and northern Middlesex County in Massachusetts, prompting the National Weather Service to issue a tornado warning for neighboring Tyngsborough at 4:05 p.m.

Several reports of trees toppled, some into houses, and wires down came out of Tewksbury, North Andover and Lawrence. Massachusetts State Police said they received a number of reports of street flooding across central Massachusetts.

The storms departed almost as rapidly as they arrived, moving east toward Rockingham County and afflicting the Londonderry and Windham areas on the way.

At 6 p.m., PSNH reported nearly 200 outages in Windham and about 60 in Londonderry, while Unitil reported several hundred customers without power across more than a dozen Rockingham County towns that the utility serves.

Dean Shalhoup can be reached at 594-6443 or dshalhoup@nashuatelegraph.com. Also, follow Shalhoup on Twitter (@Telegraph_DeanS).