Steve Denton looks at the damage to a cabin at Camp Dudley after a severe storm made its way through Westport Sept. 6.
A quick moving storm made its way through Westport Sept. 6, up-rooting trees, damaging soccer equipment and cabins at Camp Dudley, even overturning an airplane at the Westport Airport.
The storm hit around 4 p.m., as Camp Dudley Business Manager Fred Guffey was returning to town when he saw the system.
“It was quick, but very destructive,” Guffey said. “While approaching we thought we saw what appeared to be a funnel cloud, but we sort of blew it off as just our imagination. When we got close to the Dudley Road, a "brown mass" of rain and wind swept across the road.”
Director Matt Storey was in his office when the storm hit.
“It lasted about 15 minutes, and there were big chunks of hail on the porch,” Storey said. “I looked at the basketball court and thought that there was a lot of brush for such a quick storm, then we went out and looked around.”
“We had many trees down, damage to several buildings and limbs and debris everywhere,” Guffey said. “We traveled up the road a short ways to where our soccer fields are located, and the goals had all been overturned and two large trees were down across the Dudley Road at the farm just north of camp.”
Guffey also said that parts of two roofs from the farm had been blown off and pieces of the roofs were down in the Camp Dudley fields, over 150 feet away.
Guffey and Storey then went to North Point.
“We could see that all the tops of several trees had been blown out and the entire road to North Point was totally blocked by trees,” he said. “Walking down to North Point, we came upon more trees down and debris.”
Guffey said that the damage made him think again about the funnel cloud he thought he saw.
“I saw all the damage and thought maybe we were not so far off after all,” he said. “I am not going to say that it was, but I do know what I saw.”
“You can see that there is a swath where all the damage happened,” employee Jeff Schwoebel in between cutting up downed trees near one of the cabins damaged by the weather event.
Conor Lahiff, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service out of Burlington, said that they had been monitoring the storm cell that came through Westport and into Addison County, Vt., before dying out.
Lahiff explained that there was broad rotation associated with the cell, but there was not the tight rotation that they would see with a tornado.
“With a storm like this, there can often be gust fronts out in front of the storm, that cause heavy wind like we saw here,” Lahiff said.
Lahiff also said that there could have been an accompanying shelf cloud, which can take on the appearance of a funnel.
“Shelf clouds are a lot of times mistaken for a tornado,” he said.
Lahiff also said that the storm damage all moving or leaning in the same direction would also point to a gust front.
“That is what we would have expected to happen with that storm cell,” he said.
Lahiff said that the NWS had issued a severe thunder storm warning for Westport and the surrounding area at 4 p.m.
Lahiff added that the NWS had not received any other reports about the storm,.
Those with more information on this storm or any other severe weather activity can call 802-862-2475 and follow the prompts for reporting a severe weather event.