Saturday, 2:15 PM
Tornado touched down in N.H. storm; 200 houses damaged
By Globe Staff
A tornado was to blame for some of the damage inflicted yesterday when powerful storms struck New Hampshire, state and federal officials said today, confirming reports from residents who saw a funnel cloud descend from the sky.
The tornado struck two of the hardest-hit towns, Epsom and Deerfield, killing 57-year-old Brenda J. Stevens when it destroyed her log cabin, said James C. Van Dongen, spokesman for the Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency.
Van Dongen said the storm damaged a total of 200 houses and completely destroyed six. Damage on the 200 ranged from roofs that had ripped off to shingles that went missing. Nine towns suffered heavy damage, such as downed power lines and blocked roads, and six suffered minor damage, such as broken windows, he said.
Officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency scoured the region, examining the damage to see if residents might be eligible for federal disaster aid. Van Dongen said the state plans to apply for aid to homeowners and assistance for debris removal. He said officials had not yet estimated a dollar figure for the damage.
He cautioned, "Most wind damage is typically covered by homeowners insurance, so we're encouraging people to immediately contact their insurance agents, take pictures, keep receipts."
The National Weather Service has determined that the tornado struck Epsom, Deerfield, Barnstead and Alton, while damage in New Durham and Effingham still remained to be examined, The Associated Press reported.
Art Lester, a meteorological technician in the Gray, Maine weather service office, couldn't confirm anything beyond the tornado in Deerfield. He said that weather service experts have also found tornado damage farther north, in Ossipee, but it wasn't clear whether the same tornado had been involved.
A tornado also hit parts of Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts Wednesday, weather service experts have said.