Severe Thunderstorms and Possible Tornadoes Strike New Hampshire, Buildings Reportedly Collapse

Severe thunderstorms cut a swath of destruction through central and eastern New Hampshire on Thursday, prompting reports of collapsed buildings and at least two possible funnel clouds or tornadoes.

State Emergency Management spokesman Jim Van Dongen said a house reportedly collapsed in Epsom, where the fire chief said preliminary reports indicated that 50 to 100 homes were damaged.

"We have had reports of structural damage, a lot of trees down and roads closed," said Chris Pope, state homeland security director.

More than an hour after the first reports of possible injuries just before noon, Pope and others remained busy responding to calls and warning communities still facing severe weather.

Pope said the early damage reports centered on Deerfield-Epsom line, 10 miles or so east of Concord, northeast to Alton and Wolfeboro on Lake Winnipesaukee.

Power also was knocked out in a wide area.

Karen Dapkus was at her home on Merrymeeting Lake in New Durham, near Alton, when a friend called with a report that a tornado was headed her way.

She and her husband did not see a funnel cloud as powerful winds roared through.

"We're right on the water. Our canopy (over her boat) was uprooted. The dock raised right up. You could see the legs of the dock," she said.

"It was really scary," she said.

The National Weather Service briefly issued a tornado warning and posted severe thunderstorm warnings for parts of four counties.

Meterologist Kirk Apffel in Gray, Maine, said someone reported a tornado to police in Northwood, just east of Epsom, and a funnel cloud was reported 20 miles south in Atkinson.