Wash out: Hancock’s Middle Road closed indefinitely 

  • Middle Hancock Road Saturday following a Friday night storm that washed out the road causing it to be closed indefinitely. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin

  • A man and a woman had to be rescued from their car on Cobb Meadow Road in Dublin Friday night. Photo by Brianna Morrissey

  • A man and a woman had to be rescued from their car on Cobb Meadow Road in Dublin Friday night. Photo by Brianna Morrissey

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Monday, August 20, 2018 7:2PM

Dublin, Hancock and Harrisville were hit hard by Friday night’s thunder storm that came with a tornado warning from the National Weather Service and left a series of flash floods, lighting strikes, fried electronics, washed out roads and stranded drivers in its wake.

Monday afternoon Hancock Police Chief Andrew Wood said work crews are hopeful they will be able to repair and reopen Old Dublin Road and Jaquith Road in the next two days. Middle Road, however, will remain closed indefinitely because of the severity of the road damage.

“It’s not a matter of throwing dirt in it. It has to be rebuilt,” Wood said.

Damage to Dublin roads was also severe and included Route 101 from Route 137 to Marlborough being closed through the end of Saturday. A Dublin Police Department community barbecue planned for Sunday was postponed by police on Saturday.

By Monday all town roads had been reopened, Dublin Fire Chief Thomas Vanderbilt said, with minor closures throughout the day as culvert repair work was taking place.

“We just put a lot of resources on it and everybody pitched in and it got done,” Vanderbilt said.

Vanderbilt said his department attempted to respond to a water rescue in on Cherry Hill Road in Harrsiville, which it ultimately was unable to reach, and then responded to two water rescues in Dublin, but thankfully no one was injured, including emergency personnel responding, he said.

Tornado warning

The tornado warning went out Friday at 7:51 p.m. from the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine, that said east central Cheshire County and northwestern Hillsborough County was in danger of “a severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado was located over Dublin, or near Jaffrey, moving northeast at 30 mph.”

The tornado warning was followed by heavy rains and lighting and thunder some touching down and causing damage in Peterborough.

Lighting strikes Peterborough

Peterborough was spared the heavy road damage caused by flash floods in Dublin, Hancock and Harrisville, but bore the brunt of the lightning strikes that hit the ground or outdoor objects and traveled through electrical, cable and phone wires into homes on Hunter Farm Road and at the Peterborough Players on Hadley Road during the Friday night performance of “The Man of Destiny.”

“We were actually fortunate in Peterborough,” Walker said. “We had a couple of trees down and we had lighting strike.”

“Lightning can get into houses by anything connected to the outside world,” Walker said. ​​“It can travel into the ground.”

And in the case of the Peterborough Players travel through the ground and short out some of the electrics in the theater and blow a hole in the wall of the costume cabin.

“All the wiring between those cabins are underground so when it hits it can head underground and do all kinds of damage,” Walker said.

The water rescues

Emergency responders were first called to Cherry Hill Road in Harrisville at 8:37 p.m. Friday for a flash flood that had washed out the road and had trapped two occupied vehicles in the flood.

Vanderbilt said, however, Dublin emergency personnel were unable to reach the scene. Harrisville responders were eventfully able to reach the vehicle and rescue the occupants.

Then a water rescue was called for in Dublin at 551 Main Street where swift moving water had reportedly trapped vehicles in the rising flood waters. Vanderbilt said a garden shed had been moved by the water and was right up against a Route 101 guardrail. The garden shed had to be lifted and moved back by a crane on Sunday, Vanderbilt said.

Walker said Peterborough responded along with Dublin, Marlborough and the Keene Water Rescue Task Force on Cobb Meadow Road to find the driver clinging to a nearby telephone police with his wife still trapped in the car. Walker said rescue personnel also rescued the driver of a tow truck who was in the water attempting to rescue the man.

“The car was like 15 feet off the road,” Walker said.

No one injured

Vanderbilt said fortunately no one was injured Friday night, including emergency personnel.

“We were very lucky. Everybody did a tremendous job,” Vanderbilt said.

Wood said on Saturday he has never seen the roads in Hancock washed out this severely before and is urging motorists to avoid the closed roads and to observe cones and barriers.

“They don’t want to go around closed roads. They want to avoid anything that has cones or anything else up because there is a reason the cones and the barricades are there. Especially the one on Middle Road – that’s 15, 20 feet deep so if someone were to avoid the cones there or go past the cones  they are going to crash their car,” Wood said. “Middle Road is going to be closed for sometime, maybe days, maybe weeks.”