(NECN: Jack Thurston, Danville, Vt.) - High winds and heavy rain tore through central Vermont and the state's Northeast Kingdom Sunday, affecting homeowners in Marshfield, Plainfield, Cabot, Danville, St. Johnsbury. Other communities in the region and elsewhere in the state also saw severe weather roll through.
In Danville, winds were so severe they peeled the roof right off of a home on Walden Hill Road. Contractors working there told New England Cable News it all came off in one sheet.
Elsewhere in Danville, Roger Pearson was clearing his front yard Monday, after dozens of trees on his road toppled. One landed close to his home.
"You pick up the pieces and you move on," he said, noting that Vermont's storm damage was nothing compared to the destructive and deadly tornadoes that recently tore through Oklahoma, where he has relatives. "Yards and cars and fences can be replaced-- families can't be."
The Bruce Badger Memorial Highway in Danville, and other back roads near it, were among the several roads in central and northeastern Vermont left impassable for a while Sunday, because of downed limbs. That hampered clean-up and utility restoration work Monday.
Pearson's son Nathan, a sixth grader, told NECN he was really scared when the sky got black, the rain whipped the town in almost horizontal sheets, and the trees started falling.
"It felt like the house was shaking a lot," he remembered. "And I felt like I wasn't going to make it. But I did."
His school was closed for the day because of all the damage around town. A fallen tree hid several headstones in the cemetery, and utility crews raced to restore electricity.
Vermont's largest power company, Green Mountain Power, said at the worst of it, 20,000 customers statewide were affected. Many of them were in the Northeast Kingdom, spokeswoman Dotty Schnure said.
"We heard anecdotally from customers that they had lived there 40 years and had never seen anything like that," she added. "All that damage does affect infrastructure and takes time to restore it."
Schnure said crews will work through Monday night, and said it may take until Tuesday for some customers to get their electricity back.
"We've got more than 500 people attacking this storm," she said. "We're trying to get power back on just as quickly as possible, but there was a lot of very bad damage."
Danville resident Jules Wolfson told NECN he was glad his home escaped damage from a fallen tree.
"We made it through," he said, smiling.
Wolfson and Pearson are just two of the many residents of rural New England who keep in mind that if we're not in winter, we're preparing for it. Both said their fallen trees will provide firewood for relatives and neighbors.
"God gave us the tree and it'll give somebody heat," Wolfson said. "He giveth and taketh."
Green Mountain Power said it wants to remind everyone to stay far away from downed power lines. The utility explained it's often not apparent if the lines are electrified until professionals assess the situation, and that could pose a very dangerous risk to safety of people and pets.