Snow and Avalanche Center 2019 Avalanche News

Claremont, New Hampshire Home Damaged by Avalanche

A home sustained heavy damage Thursday after a snow slide in Claremont.

Snow came crashing through the windows of a single-family home at 259 Chestnut St. around 1:44 p.m Thursday, with much of the snow ending up in the basement.

Fire officials said the homeowner, James Desilets, was home with his dog at the time of the snow slide. Fortunately, no one was hurt.

Fire officials estimated the snow slide to be about 150 feet wide by 800 feet long. Desilets estimated the snowslide was about 50 feet wide and 100 yards long, leaving a large bare area on the hill surrounded by snow.

The force and weight of the heavy, wet snow, which Desilets believes was pushed off the hill by Thursday’s heavy rains, blew out four basement windows and dumped snow inside, smashed deck railings and destroyed a grill on his deck, dragged his small pickup down the driveway and destroyed his dog house.

Officials said the house is still standing, but the back deck and a dog house were destroyed and four windows were broken. There's also about a foot of snow in the basement, along with significant water damage. The snow also pushed a pickup truck about 75 feet down the driveway.

The likely cause of the snow slide is rainfall, officials said. Desilets wasn’t the only one dealing with a deluge. Hartford town officials said River Street in Quechee was closed on Thursday evening due to flooding in the roadway. “The Hartford Highway Department advised that the (Ottauquechee) river is very high near Quechee Main St. / Marshland Farms and they may close the roadway if water rises further.

This is a very unusual case. As the photo shows the slope is very low angle, and the articles reference rain and flowing water. The avalanche was most likely a slush flow. The database has very few incidents involving homes in the US and only one other in the east. That one was much different and also unusual - a roof avalanche of ice slid into a neighboring house. (In our Incidents Section it can be found by searching for Kentucky, December 28, 2004)


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