Vermont Microburst Destroys Summer Home, Causes Widespread Damage

A powerful microburst destroyed a summer home on the shores of Lake Champlain in Addison, Vermont, and caused other serious damage to property in the area.

The National Weather Service estimated the wind speeds at 80 to 100 miles per hour when the microburst struck the area of Potash Bay Road at approximately 6:15 p.m. Thursday.

The microburst, which initiated over the lake, destroyed a seasonal residence on the road, and caused minor injuries to the occupant.

Neighbors said it appeared the structure was actually lifted off the ground with the woman inside.

The National Weather Service described the roof as partially peeled off from the residence, causing the home to collapse.

Martin D’Onofrio, who owns the neighboring property, said part of the destroyed home sat on pillars, which may have enabled wind coming off the lake to get underneath the home and wreck it.

“The winds come off the lake, then crawl up the side of the embankment,” D’Onofrio said, pointing out toward the water. “It allowed those gusts to come underneath the house—caught it just right, and put it on its roof.”

Neighbors who rushed to help said the woman was clutching her dog and had some bad bumps and bruises. They noted she appeared to escape more serious injury because a couch and its cushions might have protected her a bit.

“Everyone on the road has the utmost kindest things to say about her and how she handled the entire experience,” D’Onofrio said. “We’re just glad she’s okay. And everyone on the road is coming together and pitching in.”

Hail caused significant damage to D’Onofrio’s property, especially to siding and window sills.

The National Weather Service estimated the hail at 1-1.5 inches in diameter, made even more damaging when accelerated by the 80-100 mile-per-hour winds.

“It looks like, literally, hail the size of a golf ball impacted right there,” D’Onofrio said, pointing a hole in his siding. “It looks like a shotgun hit the house. Missing siding—debris everywhere!”

Even in what residents described as a typically peaceful lakefront paradise, violent summer storms can form quickly–especially on very hot and humid days like Thursday.

However, none of the neighbors necn spoke with seemed able to remember a summer storm quite so powerful as Thursday evening’s.

“You could just feel it picking up in intensity,” resident John Breen recalled. “The whole house was shaking. Normally you get line storms coming across the lake and they cause minor limb damage. I’ve never had trees come down.”

The National Weather Service said severe thunderstorms can cause as much damage as an EF-0 or EF-1 tornado, and have significant paths of destruction.

On Lake Street in Addison, which is close to Potash Bay Road, a line of pine trees and other softwood trees uprooted, folded, and split under the wind’s assault, leaving town crews and utilities racing to clean up the mess.

Addison hopes after this brutal blast, the community will be spared the next round of severe weather. 

Contact Us