"It was wild and so sudden," Serena Magnan O'Connell said.
The Fourth of July storm touched down and tore up history at Magnan O'Connell's house in Burlington.
"I didn't realize what had happened at first," she said. "They went upstairs and looked out the window and said the willow is on the roof."
The wild weather uprooted the old willow, dropping it against her house. But Magnan O'Connell says surprisingly it didn't do much damage.
"Thank God everyone is OK," she said. "We are lucky I guess."
From a dead hit-- to a near miss.
"This was an intense storm," Barbara Hibbitts said.
Hibbitts' South Burlington neighborhood got slammed. The big poplar by her house fell, crashing onto the tennis court.
"But for the grace of God, go I-- if the wind had shifted a few feet in the other direction I'd be homeless," she said.
Severe weather marched over Chittenden, Washington, Lamoille and Caledonia counties-- a wall of wind, hail, lightning and heavy rain. Wind battered the region as Mother Nature put on her own July Fourth show; flooding streets, blocking roads and leaving a swath of destruction.
A dangerous situation for anyone caught outside-- but no injuries were reported.
The massive cleanup started as soon as the storm ended, with many crews working overnight to clean up debris and restore power.
"For Burlington it was a severe storm," said Barbara Grimes of the Burlington Electric Department. "It wasn't as bad as the ice storm of 1998, but at the height we had 1,300 customers without power and that's large for Burlington Electric."
Now most have power back on. Electric officials credit good communication with the mayor, police chief, fire chief and public works director.
"Heartbreaking. I love this tree," Magnan O'Connell said.
Hiring someone to remove the old willow will cost her thousands... a Fourth of July to remember.
"We won't forget it," Magnan O'Connell said. "But worse things can happen. At least everyone is OK."
And that seems to be what a lot of people are talking about now: for all the damage, we have not had reports of anyone seriously hurt. There were still several hundred people without power Thursday evening, but most were expected to get electricity back by nighttime.
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