Crews clean up after microburst hits Annisquam, elsewhere

A crew works Thursday morning to right a sailboat flipped over in Lobster Cove by a microburst Wednesday evening. More than 25 boats in the area were knocked over by the downdraft.

Crews have been out since 7 a.m. Thursday cleaning up fallen trees, downed wires and damage left by a microburst that hit Cape Ann on Wednesday evening and left thousands of Gloucester residents without power.

The severe thunderstorm hit parts of Annisquam and lower Washington Street the hardest Wednesday night. The microburst also overturned more than 25 sailboats moored in the Annisquam River.

The National Weather Service reported wind speeds of over 70 mph at Logan Airport in Boston and a total rainfall of 1.74 inches in Beverly as a result of the microburst, which is a downdraft in a thunderstorm that is less than 2.5 miles in size and is usually destructive and dangerous.

“We were watching the radar and the weather and we saw that there was a chance of rain and thunderstorms with wind gusts of 20 to 25 mph, but the microburst was totally unexpected,” said Gloucester Harbormaster TJ Ciarametaro. “It just happened.”

Both Ciarametaro and city Public Works Director Mike Hale said the damages reported in the storm were relatively confined to that area.

Power was still down for 136 National Grid customers in the Riverside Road and Wheeler Street neighborhood Thursday morning, and was expected to be restored by 10 a.m.

A tree branch pierced through the side of a home in the 600-block of Washington Street.

The Goose Cove bridge was closed between 4 and 9 p.m due to a significant number of trees, branches and wires down around it. Parts of Atlantic Street, Bridgewater Street and Adams Hill Road were closed as a result to fallen trees and loose wires, as was Vine Street because of a damaged pole.

All closed streets were reopened by 9 p.m. Wednesday.

Leaves blocking catch basins on roads in Annisquam led to minor road flooding on Atlantic and Washington streets. Hale said the water cleared as soon as the leaves were removed from the basins and no cars were reported to be stuck as a result of the flooding.

Decks on several homes and the backend of a car were also damaged in the storm.

Twenty-five sailboats, some owned by the Annisquam Yacht Club, which also had decks, windows and its rooftop damaged in the storm, were overturned on the Annisquam River. Another sailboat there was hit by a fallen tree.

Ciarametaro said no issues were reported at sea and no fishing vessels or any other vessels outside of those on the river were damaged.

Crews from Towboat U.S. helped upright overturned sailboats on the river Thursday morning and no hazardous spills of any kind from the vessels were found, according to Ciarametaro.

In Rockport, police were notified of a power outage on Gott Avenue at 4:48 p.m., according to the log. Power lines in the area were down as well. The wires were repaired the following morning.

Rockport Harbormaster Scott Story and Rosemary Lesch said they had no calls about issues out at sea.

Manchester Police only received one storm-related call — a power outage at The Plains. According to the police log, an ambulance was called at 4:17 p.m. to assist with a resident's electronically-powered oxygen supply tank.

"The (Sandy Bay) Yacht Club was able to take in all the boats before the storm hit," said Story.

Essex first-responders also received one storm-related call from a resident concerned about a boat navigating the Essex River during the storm. The harbormaster headed out but the boater reached the dock without mishap.

This story will be updated at gloucestertimes.com and in Friday's print edition of the Gloucester Daily Times.

Staff writers Michael Cronin and Andrea Holbrook contributed to this story.