Thunderstorms Break Hot Weather

Strong storms ushered in more bearable air after a hot start to the week

Vermonters sweated through a hot start to the week, before thunderstorms rolled in during the afternoon.

Some isolated damage came from the storms Monday, including downed trees on Interstate 89 between exits 9 and 10, as reported to the National Weather Seevice.

The storms ushered in cooler air after what was a hot start to the week.

At Still Smok’n BBQ in Essex Junction, there’s no day off for hot weather.

Brothers Larry and Phil Bissonnette are always at their 200-225 degree smoker preparing food for customers, no matter the air temperature.

“It gets hot,” Phil Bissonnette said of the smoker, which is wood-fired. “Standing behind it gets hotter. My brother has to do that. I don’t have to do that because I’m not good at fires.”

They make sure to stay hydrated: good advice for anyone dealing with the kind of heat Vermont and the rest of the northeast saw Monday.

Temperatures climbed into the high 80s and low 90s, with an even higher heat index—what the temperature feels like to people when humidity is factored in.

The high temps were also on the minds of electric utilities, whose usage demands on these extreme days can influence prices for bulk power for the whole year.

“On a day like this, everything we can do to reduce the amount of energy that we use during the peak time will save our customers money,” said Josh Castonguay of Green Mountain Power.

So GMP has built out a network of large batteries to store energy, like at the Stafford Hill solar farm and microgrid facility in Rutland.

The company taps into the batteries for some of its needs, instead of relying entirely on the grid, during the costly demand spikes on really hot days.

Green Mountain Power said it has enough energy storage capacity in its battery units to take the equivalent of 3,000 homes off the grid at peak times.

Castonguay said that kind of conservation can have a real impact on ratepayers.

“That’s worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, easily,” he told necn. “And as that goes on through the year, it becomes millions of dollars overall.”

Some high schoolers were staying cool during Monday’s heat, while helping get Rutland’s new municipal pools ready to open.

Lifeguards were in their final training tests before the White Memorial Park Pool and renovated poolhouses open to the public Friday night.

City voters approved a $2.5-million bond to replace a crumbling facility that had been closed for several seasons.

“It’s the first thing people think about is swimming in the summer,” observed lifeguard Ethan Notte. “And it’s been missing in the city for what, three years now? So it’s really good to be back.”

“Both pools are heated,” noted Rutland Recreation & Parks Superintendent Kim Peters. “We have the cool nights here in Vermont. So in the morning, you’re going to wake up to a 78 degree pool, as opposed to a 68 degree pool, which makes a big difference.”

The new White’s Pool area has play features for kids as well as a traditional lap pool, and is sure to be a popular place to be for all the hot days still to come this summer.

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