LAKE PLACID — A string of super-cell thunderstorms tore from Potsdam through Lake Placid Tuesday afternoon, bearing winds that reached 70 to 80 mph.
Upended maples, white and red pine trees lay in piles in areas along Mirror Lake and Lake Placid Lake in the Olympic village; as they fell, they tore up shoreline and, in some cases, crunched lakefront rooflines.
“The cloud was purple,” said contractor Jeff Brownell of Johns Brook Remodeling in Lake Placid, describing the storm’s arrival just past 4 p.m. on Tuesday.
He and a crew with heavy equipment helped clear intact trees that had been ripped out of the ground beside a lakefront home owned by Denise Bujold. Next door, six giant red pines lay flat like dominos, uprooted entirely, on the lawn of the property owned by Steve Wilson.
None of the trees landed on either house, but others here weren’t so fortunate.
Meteorologist Andy Nash at the National Weather Service in Burlington said damaging winds, horizontal rain and localized damage are signature signs of a microburst event.
“The storm rolled through, and all along the way, it was pretty strong winds,” he said Wednesday morning.
“It’s what we call a super cell with a microburst wind coming down from the thunderstorm. It will produce fairly localized damage, and being near the water, Lake Placid in this case, also helped. Where you have the open water, the wind is going to go full steam with nothing really to stop it from producing this kind of damage.”
The National Weather Service charted storm damage in a string of dots from Potsdam — through Lake Clear, Paul Smiths, Saranac Lake and into Lake Placid.
Damage was heavy along the western edge of Mirror Lake, around Signal Hill and on the eastern edge of Lake Placid Lake.
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