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Round of storms lead to flood warnings, lightning strikes

By KEVIN LANDRIGAN New Hampshire Union Leader
August 08. 2018 10:07PM
This vehicle struck two utility poles in Weare on Wednesday. (COURTESY DENIS VEILLEUX)

Summer's second heat wave ended Wednesday when temperatures failed to reach 90 for a fourth straight day, but high humidity triggered a strong round of storms at nightfall.

Heavy rains resulted in a wide flash flood warning area for much of New Hampshire and a number of lighting strikes, according to weather forecasters and first responders.

By 8:30 p.m., the National Weather Service in Grey, Maine issued a three-hour flash flood warning in parts of five counties.

Rockingham, Strafford, Hillsborough, Belknap and Merrimack counties were all included in the target area, with reports of 2 to 3 inches of rain by 9 p.m. More rain was expected overnight.

Manchester, Concord, Hooksett, Goffstown, Bow and Candia were all in the affected region, which also included communities from Lebanon to the west and Farmington to the east.

"Flooding is occurring or is imminent," the weather service advisory said. "It is important to know where you are relative to streams, rivers, or creeks which can become killers in heavy rains. Campers and hikers should avoid streams or creeks."

The Red Cross reported Wednesday night that two adults and their two cats had to leave their flooded home on Federal Street in Concord.

Volunteers were ensuring the residents had a safe place to stay Wednesday night and will meet with the family in the coming days to offer any further assistance, officials said.

Eversource reported 26 customers were without power after a vehicle struck two utility poles at the corner of John Stark Highway (Route 114) and East Road in front of Weare Middle School. The driver was taken to an area hospital.

While thunder and lightning could be heard or seen in many communities, Wednesday's storms led to few power outages — in contrast to Tuesday night.

By 9 p.m. Tuesday, the four major utilities reported more than 7,000 of their customers were without electricity.

At the same time a day later, only 305 customers of Eversource, Unitil, the New Hampshire Electric Cooperative and Liberty Utilities had no power, with Sanbornton (126) the town with the most outages.

Lightning was believed to be the cause of a barn fire at the corner of North Shaw Road and High Street in Spofford. The blaze broke out about 4:50 p.m. Wednesday.

The blaze caused significant damage to the barn and went to two alarms as several area towns assisted. Witnesses told firefighters that no one was in the building at the time the fire started.

There were no injuries, officials said.

Firefighters were investigating whether a lightning strike started a fire that broke through the roof of a Jaffrey residence at 4 Gilson Road.

The blaze went to two alarms just after 6 p.m., and was reported under control less than an hour later.

In Gilmanton, a fire went to three alarms and caused significant damage to a 40-by-60-foot structure at 128 Stockwell Hill Road.

The fire was declared contained about 8 p.m., more than an hour after it was reported.

Officials reported there were no injuries at either the Jaffrey or Gilmanton fires.

Public Safety Weather Lebanon Farmington Gilmanton Bow Candia Concord Goffstown Hooksett Manchester Weare Rindge Spofford

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