Thunderstorms & Arthur Rock New England July 2-5 2014 | NECN

Thunderstorms & Arthur Rock New England July 2-5 2014

Arthur sinks lighthouse boat and damages island

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    Manchester New Hampshire reported High Temperatures of 90 on July 1, 91 July 2, and 94 July 3rd - The first heat wave of 2014. At the same time a weather front from Canada inched across New England July 2-5 wreaking havoc with severe thunderstorms knocking down thousand's of trees in New England. That front then merge with Category 1 Hurricane Arthur on the night of July 4th causing major flooding from southeastern Massachusetts to eastern Maine and Eastern Canada.

    The wind also ripped dozens of boasts from there mooring on Nantucket and Downeast Maine where winds gusted 60-70 mph on the backside of hybrid Arthur (Arthur transitioned from warm core tropical to a cold core baroclinic Nor'easter very quickly Friday Night July 4th. July 5th goes into the books as the coldest and wettest July 5th on record in Eastern Maine. The news was even worse in Canada where Post Tropical Storm Arthur created wind gusts past 85 mph and knocking out electricity to nearly a quarter million customers in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

    I am compelled to tell this story after reading an Email in our NECN viewer feedback inbox. It's a sad story of damage to an historic landmark... now in need of our help. Here is the unedited message.


    From: Tim Harrison [Timh@lhdigest.com]
    Sent: Sunday, July 06, 2014 8:21 PM
    To: Tim Harrison
    Subject: Arthur Sinks Lighthouse Boat Press Release 2 photos attached FMI call 207-259-3638 or 207-259-3833

    Arthur Sinks Lighthouse Boat and Damages Island

    This past Saturday, Little River Lighthouse in Cutler, Maine was hit especially hard by Hurricane Arthur as high winds literally flipped over the Nautico catamaran boat while it was tied up at the dock at the lighthouse and left it submerged in the water upside down. Additionally the high winds toppled many trees, which fell over the boardwalk that leads from the boat house, up and across the island, to the lighthouse. One gigantic tree fell next the boat house said Tim Harrison, founder of the Friends of Little River Lighthouse, the nonprofit that manages the historic lighthouse. He said, "It just missed the boathouse. If it had fallen a few feet slightly the other way it would have crushed the boathouse."

    Harrison said the loss of the boat, which had been donated several years ago, is a devastating blow to the group, which had planned to use the boat to transport visitors to and from the island for its first Open House of season, which will be held this Saturday, July 12 from 10am to 2pm. Harrison also said it was the best of the three small boats that the lighthouse owns and was the best equipped vessel to use in transporting guests and supplies to and from the island lighthouse.

    As soon as it was realized that the freak weather event had flipped the boat over, the local lobstermen immediately launched a salvage operation in an attempt to save the boat. However, once on dry land it was realized that the boat and its 50hp Mercury outboard engine were damaged beyond repair. Harrison said that for a while it looked like the whole town turned out to help or offer moral support.

    Harrison said that he's not sure what the insurance company will cover for the loss of the boat, however he did say "I doubt that we will get anything near what the boat and engine is really worth. The loss of this boat is devastating to our entire season and the ongoing restoration of the lighthouse."

    Harrison said it could take anywhere from several days to several weeks to cut up the trees that fell on the island. "It all depends on how many volunteers are willing to work with chain saws and weather conditions." One large tree fell on the gravesite of two shipwrecked sailors whose bodies washed up on the island in 1898. The group has posted a number of photos on its Facebook page of the boat recovery and the tree damage at the lighthouse.

    Anyone wishing to make a donation to the lighthouse can do so on-line at www.LittleRiverLight.org or by mail to Friends of Little River Lighthouse, P.O. Box 671, East Machias, ME 04630. You can also call them at 207-259-3833.