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Franklin microburst demolishes one summer home

Union Leader Correspondent

October 31. 2012 2:19PM
The remains of a summer home that was destroyed in a microburst Tuesday night in Franklin on Webster Lake. (DAN SEUFERT)

FRANKLIN - A heavy thunderstorm produced a microburst over Webster Lake Tuesday night, dropping trees on summer homes on Lakeshore Drive, leaving at least one home a total loss.

'Those were some good-size trees,' said Al Robidoux of Peabody, Mass., as he looked over the damage to two of his summer homes, one of which was demolished by large falling trees in the storm Tuesday night.

No one was injured in the microburst, as many of the homes on the lake are unoccupied. Robidoux was at his Massachusetts home at 7 a.m. this morning when he was called by Franklin authorities with the news of his loss.

He said he has insurance, so the house will be rebuilt.

'I'm kind of sad but in a state of shock as well,' he said. 'We see microbursts around here every once in awhile; you just hope it doesn't hit you.'

The National Weather Service said a line of thunderstorms crossed northeastern Massachusetts and moved north into New Hampshire between 9 and 10 p.m. Tuesday night.

Radar indicated the storm formed a microburst, a column of sinking air that produced a straight line of high winds up to 60 mph, in the Webster Lake area of Franklin and Andover, according to the weather service.

Downed tree limbs and branches littered the roads around the lake, and other homes suffered minor damage. Many trees lay on power lines, and power was out in the lake area Wednesday morning.

Weather service meteorologist John Jensenius said microbursts are not uncommon in New Hampshire, but it is a little unusual to have them occur this time of year. Although severe weather does occur in October, typically, he said, there is not enough tropical air hovering over New England.

Hurricane Sandy has changed that the past couple of days. The north has tropical air while down south, they're experiencing the cooler temperatures, he said.

'The difference is the Carolinas will be in the 60s in a couple of days, and it will be gradual cooling off here heading into November," he said.

Jensenius said the best way to describe what happened is when you spill a glass a milk while running, the milk splatters outward.

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