Photo Gallery | High winds cause significant damage
WILLIAMSTOWN — Chris LaDouceur and Tara Gervais were in bed shortly after midnight when they heard a loud crash.
The couple walked outside to find that the wind had knocked down a large tree in the backyard and another onto the roof of their house at the corner of Route 2 and Frenier Avenue in Williamstown. Fortunately, the tree did not crash completely through the roof and no one was injured.
"Police showed up right away," said LaDouceur, taking a break from hauling wood.
An intense thunderstorm left a swath of damage early Thursday as it tore through parts of Williamstown and North Adams.
The National Weather Service issued an alert shortly before midnight warning of a quick-moving thunderstorm with possible wind gusts up to 60 miles per hour.
About 30 minutes later, it hit.
In about a 30-minute span, beginning at 12:30 a.m., emergency personnel responded to multiple calls throughout the area, according to North Adams Fire Director Stephen Meranti.
Firefighters responded to a fire sparked by a downed power line on Leonard Street during that period. Responders also answered calls for trees and wires down on Massachusetts Avenue and Galvin Road.
Amalio Jusino, co-chairman of the Northern Berkshire Emergency Planning Committee, said the storm left a clear, narrow path of damage from Williamstown into the area of Massachusetts Avenue in North Adams.
"I think what it is is just straight line wind damage," said Luigi Meccariello, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Albany. "The storm was moving very fast."
He noted forecasters did not identify the potential for tornado activity prior to the storm's arrival. To investigate the incident further, the National Weather Service would have to work with local officials and determine the damage significant enough to warrant a site visit.
The storm was part of a line of heavy rain that raked across the entire region. Pittsfield received 1.96 inches of rain overnight due to the storm, while North Adams reported 1.09 inches at Harriman and West Airport.
Showers were expected to continue sporadically through the area through Thursday evening, eventually turning into some minor snowfall. After that, the weekend looks clear, albeit cooler.
Friends were helping clean the fallen trees from the backyard and roof Thursday morning and a claim has already been filed with the insurance company to pay for damage to the roof.
"Great work by all to quickly recognize and respond to this isolated incident and assure a rapid recovery with no injuries reported," Jusino wrote in a post to the emergency planning committee's Facebook page.
Contact Adam Shanks at 413-496-6376