Strong storm hits Cheshire, Ashuwillticook Rail Trail
Photo Gallery | Strong storms leave path of downed trees and power lines
CHESHIRE — An early afternoon thunderstorm swept a path of destruction through a residential section of town, leaving downed trees and wires and damaged utility poles in its wake.
Town Emergency Management Director Corey Swistak said the police and fire departments began receiving multiple calls about damage as the storm passed through about 1:30 p.m.
Most of the destruction was along the Main Street, East Main Street, Mill Hill Road and Meadowbrook Drive areas.
Power was knocked out to about 1,300 customers initially, but by 4:30 p.m. that number was down to about 1,100 customers without power. By about 5:30 p.m., all but about 115 customers had power restored, according to information from National Grid.
East Main Street was closed for a time due to the number of downed trees.
Several National Grid trucks and Verizon vehicles lined the roadway and a backhoe could be seen moving tree branches and debris from the road. Swistak said there were no reported injuries, no reported missing persons and minimal damage to property.
Numerous trees were felled by winds along the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail, Swistak said. Crews associated with the state Department of Conservation and Recreation were inspecting the damage and trying to remove trees and clear the trail, he said.
Trees and debris were scattered along the bike path from East Main Street to the Bass Water grill, he said.
Massachusetts State Police said one unidentified man is likely considering himself lucky. He was on the trail walking when the winds blew through and watched in amazement as one tree fell in front of him and one tree fell behind him, but he was not struck or injured.
An incident command center was established at the Cheshire Fire Department firehouse and Assistant Fire Chief Michael Biagini was incident commander, Swistak said.
"It's just a matter of getting things cleaned up at this point," he said. "It's really been a good response. Everyone is working well together, and National Grid and Verizon were both here pretty quickly."
Most of the main roads were cleared of debris within 45 minutes after the storm, he said. Swistak said he is in contact with Northern Berkshire Emergency Management and the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.
Resident William Lincoln was among those seated at a picnic table watching crews work on power lines.
"I watched the storm coming in," Lincoln said. "It got real dark and then there was like a microburst. There was debris flying all over the place. It was nothing like I've ever seen before."
Reports that Lanesborough police were blocking access to Bailey Road could not be confirmed.