Severe Storm Kills 1, Damages Homes in Central New Hampshire

July 25, 2008

New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch declared a state of emergency in Belknap, Carroll, Merrimack, Strafford and Rockingham counties due to damage from severe weather and thunderstorms.

The violent storms killed one person in the town of Epsom, demolished about a half dozen homes and damaged dozens more over a 25 miles stretch in the central part of the state.

“The situation is still ongoing. I urge all New Hampshire citizens to take sensible precautions and to heed all warnings from public safety officials,” said Lynch, who has inspected the damage.

The state Emergency Operations Center in Concord is open.

The storm hit the day state safety and environmental officials also warned of potential flooding due to heavy rains along the Pemigewasset, Contoocook, Warner and Baker rivers.

“We are particularly concerned about public safety because people do not normally expect flooding this time of year,” said Christopher M. Pope, director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. “We also have many out of state visitors, people in campgrounds and others enjoying the outdoors. We don’t want them to be taken by surprise by sudden flooding.”

James Gallagher, administrator of the Department of Environmental Services Dam Bureau, said state officials increased the releases from state-owned dams to lower lake levels and reduce the potential for damage to lakeshore properties.

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