New Hampshire

‘Like a War Zone': Major Damage Reported in Southern NH as Storms Move Through Region

Fire officials in Hollis said they are working on multiple scenes with trees on top of houses and cars, and several main roads are impassable

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A fast-moving storm moved through Hollis, New Hampshire, around 2:30 p.m. Friday, causing extensive damage across town.

Hollis police said there was strong wind, rain, thunder, lightning and hail, and numerous trees and wires are down. At least six homes were damaged but the full extent of the damage may not be known Friday night.

The Hollis Fire Department said they were working on multiple scenes with trees on top of houses and cars, and several main roads were impassable due to the storm damage. Some 911 callers even reported being stuck in cars with wires on top of them.

New Hampshire Homeland Security and Emergency Management described it as "a significant town-wide weather event."

Eversource was working to restore power to about 1,500 customers in the area -- on a dangerously hot day -- and public works crews were going to begin cleaning up once the downed wires have been safely cleared.

Seven roads were still closed as of 3:30 p.m. due to downed trees and wires, police said, including Silverlake Road, Rocky Pond Road, Wood Lane, Federal Hill Lane, Deacon Lane, Apple Lane and Winding Valley Road.

No injuries have been reported, but lightning did strike a residence, and a tree landed on a house on Winding Valley Road, according to police.

Residents who spoke to NBC10 Boston Friday night said they were incredibly frightened by what happened in their neighborhood.

It was an incredibly close call for Zach Leishman.

"I could have been dead," he said. "I could have been dead right there."

"I was right here. I was right here when it happened, like in the actual cubby hole right here, like sitting down where the pedals are, just hoping and praying," he explained.

Leishman was headed to work, about to back up his truck when the storm knocked down two trees directly onto his vehicle.

"I curled up underneath the dashboard thinking this is my last day, I’m done, I’m gonna die. This roof is going to collapse," he said. "I’m lucky to be here."

Downed trees caused a lot of damage by Silver Lake.

"I couldn’t believe it. It looked like a ghost town. You can’t even go up the road over there. It’s completely blocked," said Giuseppe Musto. "Every tree is down. You look around, houses are destroyed. I mean it’s sad to see something like this."

"Total devastation, unbelievable," said Cynthia Bonenfant. "Never seen anything like it."

Mike Jenkins says they moved in a few months ago, but luckily no one was home when the storm hit Friday.

"There’s a branch that goes through that loft bedroom that could have been dangerous but hey no one got hurt so that’s all I care about," he said.

The National Weather Service has also confirmed isolated pockets of tree damage in parts of northeastern Massachusetts, including Acton, Concord, Dracut and Lowell, though not as severe as the damage reported in New Hampshire.

NBC10 Boston meteorologist Pete Bouchard said it was likely a microburst.

Hollis, a town in Hillsborough County in southern New Hampshire on the Massachusetts border, has a population of just over 8,000 residents.

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