Storms leave people in the dark

NEWPORT, VT - Several rounds of thunderstorms pushed hot weather away from northern Vermont Monday, bringing in cooler temperatures for Tuesday.“There were several rounds of storms just across the North Country, one right after the other,” said Andy Nash, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Burlington. “We see these a few times each summer.”Some of the storms formed near Ottawa. The storms produced strong winds and lightning that downed trees and power lines and caused power outages. Golf ball sized hail hit some areas around Chittenden, Addison, and Orange Counties. Winds near Malone, NY, were reported at 63 miles per hour, Nash said. The storms weakened as they entered the Northeast Kingdom. Nash said the National Weather Service might not hear of downed trees or utility lines for a few days.The storms left thousands of residents in the dark, some for only a a few minutes and others for hours.Elizabeth Gamache, spokesperson for Vermont Electric Corporative, stated in an e-mail that heavy winds and rain caused trees to uproot and fall on power lines resulting in widespread damage to the VEC system. During the peak of the outage, around 10 p.m. Monday, about 6,100 VEC members were without power. Although the damage was widespread, the hardest hit areas were Franklin, Grand Isle and Lamoille Counties. Approximately 400 members were still without power at 11:30 Tuesday morning. By 4 p.m., 80 members were in the dark. Statewide, as many as 17,000 people were without power at one time or another.Today will be a “nice, refreshing summer day,” Nash said. However, that may not last long as Nash predicted that humidity would return Thursday. There might also be some showers and thunderstorms, but nothing severe. Things may get unsettled this weekend.