Despite heavy rains, tornado warning, Nashua OKBy KIMBERLY HOUGHTON
Union Leader Correspondent
July 16. 2014 8:36PM
NASHUA — Following a brief tornado warning and numerous bouts of heavy rainfall, the city otherwise fared well during this week’s storms, according to emergency officials.
“We did have significant amounts of water, but we had no river flooding, so that was good,” said Justin Kates, director of the city’s Office of Emergency Management.
Severe weather struck the area Tuesday, followed by heavy rain again Wednesday that caused some concern from local officials.
A tornado warning was issued about 4 p.m. Tuesday for the southeast corner of the city, said Kates.
“Thankfully it wasn’t in the center of the city,” he said, explaining once the tornado warning was issued, he quickly began following updated weather patterns.
Almost as soon as the tornado warning was posted, a shift of wind moved the location of the possible weather event toward Hudson and Pelham, Kates said.
“Certainly, when we get a warning like that, the first thing is concern. However, I was actually more worried about the flash flood warning,” he said.
A significant amount of rainfall pooled along the Daniel Webster Highway in the area of McDonald’s restaurant, and vehicles were getting stuck in several inches of water, he said, warning motorists to always avoid high water — even if it looks like it is manageable.
That area of the roadway, according to Kates, has a poor drainage system that cannot handle heavy rainfall in a short period of time.
“This has been going on for decades there,” Kates said of the water accumulation during storms.
Despite the warnings about traveling through water, Assistant Fire Chief Steven Galipeau said people still attempt to drive in it.
There were two or three areas in the city where motorists were having difficulties with high water on the roadways, but there were no serious complications, according to Galipeau.
On Tuesday, the city did experience some electrical surges, which created a high call volume for fire crews since several fire alarms were activated during the worst of the thunderstorm.
Regarding Tuesday’s tornado warning, a photograph circulated online on social media sites Wednesday of a possible funnel cloud in the city. That was quickly debunked, though, by the National Weather Service via Twitter stating that, “it is a fake,” and that no funnel cloud touched down in Nashua this week.
While there was no tornado event, Kates stressed that tornadoes can occur in New England.
“There is a potential, and people don’t often know how to react to that,” he said. If there is a possibility of a tornado, Kates said residents should keep their windows closed, retreat to an interior room or basement with few or no windows and cover themselves with blankets.