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Nashua;64.0;http://forecast.weather.gov/images/wtf/small/skc.png;2014-09-22 08:11:22
Thursday, July 17, 2014

Goodbye heavy rains and humidity; hello dry, sunny skies

The skies in the Nashua area opened up several times from Tuesday through Wednesday night, and while there were several reports of streets flooding and waterlogged parking lots, there were no funnel clouds over Nashua.

A photo of a funnel cloud that appeared on Twitter on Wednesday morning turned out to be an apparent hoax, according to the National Weather Service’s Boston office. Several users unwittingly retweeted the photo, which was of a real tornado – except it was one of the many twisters photographed during the deadly Nebraska outbreak last month. ...

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The skies in the Nashua area opened up several times from Tuesday through Wednesday night, and while there were several reports of streets flooding and waterlogged parking lots, there were no funnel clouds over Nashua.

A photo of a funnel cloud that appeared on Twitter on Wednesday morning turned out to be an apparent hoax, according to the National Weather Service’s Boston office. Several users unwittingly retweeted the photo, which was of a real tornado – except it was one of the many twisters photographed during the deadly Nebraska outbreak last month.

What was real in these parts, though, was heavy rain and water, especially in northwestern Hillsborough and a large part of Cheshire counties, according to
Hudson-based meteorologist Doug Webster.

The town of North Weare appears to be Hillsborough County’s rainfall jackpot over the last 48 hours, where, according to Webster’s figures, 4.13 inches came down during the period.

Even more – upwards of 4.5 inches – was reported in parts of Cheshire County, where flooding was widespread in towns like Winchester and Swanzey, both of which had a number of washed-out roads by the time things calmed down.

Meanwhile, Webster said, Hudson managed just over 1 inch of rain; less was recorded in Nashua. Pennichuck Water Works’s automated rain gauge – which is a good indication but isn’t official, Webster said – recorded about 0.60 of an inch Tuesday and another 0.17 Wednesday, for a two-day total of about three-quarters of an inch.

The wide disparity in totals is indicative of the nature of summer storms, which, Webster said, can produce blinding downpours in one place but barely a sprinkle as close as a mile or so away.

“They’re known to vary greatly,” he said of rainfall totals associated with the seasonal storms, adding that the same goes for the frequency, and intensity, of lightening, thunder and wind.

Other local totals include about three-quarters of an inch in Merrimack and Litchfield, while Manchester reported 1.16 inches, Webster said.

While Tuesday’s round of storms affected Greater Nashua more than the brief Wednesday downpours, many Massachusetts towns and cities saw the most action Wednesday.

Lowell, for instance, came in at 2.75 inches of rain through the period, while rainfall totals coming out of nearby Pelham and Windham hovered at a mere 0.04 to 0.05 inches, Webster said.

Wednesday also was worse than Tuesday on the Seacoast and southern York County, Maine, where multiple incidents of downed trees and wires, flooding and other wind damage were reported.

Many residents throughout the region may have been startled Tuesday afternoon when their cell phone or other devices suddenly came to life with ominous tones and the words “tornado warning” as the rain pelted down and thunder and lightening filled the skies.

Such early warnings are becoming more common, Webster said, because recent advances in meteorological technology allow forecasters and severe-weather experts to detect even the earliest hint of cloud rotation on their Doppler radar.

“They can see how the wind is blowing, and if they see indications of rotation, they issue a tornado warning,” Webster said. “You’ll start seeing more (tornado) warnings now.”

Experts advise people to not panic when a tornado warning is issued, but plan a route to a safe place like a basement and keep closely apprised of emergency warnings until the danger has passed.

The upside to all the storminess, Webster said, is that by Thursday, they will be replaced by a fine stretch of summer-like weather.

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