Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


July 10, 2014

Powerful storm topples trees, utilities

The fierce winds that bombarded the Merrimack Valley on the eve of July 4 last week sent trees toppling in Andover, knocking out power and causing minor flooding.

The wind gusts recorded last Thursday, July 3, between 5 and 5:30 p.m. reached 60 miles per hour, according to the National Weather Service.

While no injuries were reported, the storm that included pelting rain left considerable property damage in parts of town in its wake.

At Homewood Suites by Hilton Boston/Andover on Riverside Drive, the wind brought down a massive tree, which fell across the hotel’s outdoor pool, putting it out of commission. The pool was still closed as of early this week and hotel staff were hoping to have repairs completed by the weekend.

Nearby on North Street, a pine tree 32 inches in diameter at its base came crashing down in Thomas O’Leary’s front yard. O’Leary, who has lived at 142 North St., just across River Road from Greater Lawrence Regional Technical School, for 31 years, said the wind came from the northwest.

“It came up so fast,” he said, and was accompanied by “so much water that I thought it was a tsunami.”

“It was scary,” he added. “What power.”

While the huge tree blocked his driveway, it did almost no damage, he said – just some scratches on his car.

“It fell perfectly,” he said – almost as if a crew of professional tree cutters had done the job. O’Leary said the pine, which had a “good, long life,” was expected to be removed by early this week.

He wasn’t the only person in Andover to report downed trees last Thursday.

At 5:30 p.m., trees were reported to have fallen on Riverside Drive, Enmore Street and North Street, where a car was hit. A few minutes later, trees were reportedly blocking Federal Street as well as the ramp from Route 125 to Route 28 south. Telephone poles were reported down on Vine Street, with wires dangling in the road and tangled in tree branches.

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