Tornado Strikes New Hampshire RV Park
A midday line of violent thunderstorms tore northward through eastern New Hampshire on Thursday (July 24), creating a narrow swath of destruction that left one person dead, destroyed homes, and downed trees and power lines, blocking roads.
"It was actually three minutes of hell," Craig Moulton said as he stood in front of his trailer in the Merrymeeting RV Park in Alton, N.H. hours after a tornado hit, littering the park with pieces of shattered trees.
Moulton had just heard the tornado warning on a radio at his trailer when he looked outside, saw his neighbor's American flag flying straight out and knew what was coming, according to The Union Leader, Manchester, N.H.
"Get away from the windows," yelled Moulton, of Blackstone, Mass., as he grabbed his son and a friend and took cover in the middle of his trailer.
For three minutes they listened as a powerful storm whipped through the park a little after 12:30 p.m, obliterating trees and plunging branches through windows.
"I'll tell you, this is a nightmare," he said.
Miraculously, Moulton's trailer had no damage. Many of his neighbors weren't so lucky. Many residents at the RV park had similar stories: a warning, a dash for shelter and a terror. At least a dozen of the park's approximately 75 trailers were damaged during the storm.
Three minutes of hammering wind and torrential rain left parts of Alton in ruins as hundreds of trees were uprooted and many power lines felled. There were no local reports of injuries, but damage was widespread.
Few areas were hit as badly as the RV park off Route 11, just south of the Alton traffic circle.
Debbie Previte and her daughter Jill, both of Chelmsford, Mass., had just returned from shopping when they learned of the storm warning.
"Ten seconds later all you could hear was trees going down everywhere and glass shattering," she said.
Before they knew what was a happening, a giant tree toppled into the roof of their trailer's main section. The women were in a different part of the building and escaped harm. Previte's husband, Peter, was away when the calamity occurred.
"My husband called me from work and said, 'Did the lawn furniture blow away,'" Previte said. "I said, 'No, a pine tree came down and held it in place.'"