A circus tent with more than 100 people under it was hit by a severe storm and collapsed in Lancaster, N.H., Monday night, killing two and injuring at least 22 others, officials said.
The victims were a man and a girl, the Associated Press reported early Tuesday.
The exact number of people hurt and the nature of their injuries were not confirmed Monday night, officials with the New Hampshire fire marshal’s office said. The individuals killed were both spectators at a 5:30 p.m. show put on by Walker Brothers International Circus of Sarasota, Fla., according to the fire marshal.
Those injured were taken to Androscoggin Valley Hospital in Berlin, Weeks Medical Center in Lancaster, Littleton Regional Hospital in Littleton, and Dartmouth Medical Center in Lebanon, the fire marshal’s office said..
The tent collapse, which took place at the Lancaster Fairgrounds, was caused by severe weather, including one-inch hail, 60 mile-per-hour winds, and strong lightning, according to the National Weather Service.
“I can’t recall one happening in our forecast area in recent times,” said Chris Kimble, a forecaster at the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine, of the tent collapse. “But I’ve heard of them around the world,” he said in a phone interview Monday night.
Kimble said the National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm watch for the area at about 1 p.m. and then a severe thunderstorm warning at 5:23 p.m.
That watch expired at 9 p.m. and Kimble said the thunderstorm threat was “decreasing.” Though the National Weather Service has received reports that several trees had fallen, the tent collapse was the “most significant” event of the storms, Kimble said.
A severe thunderstorm watch means that conditions are favorable for severe thunderstorms while a severe thunderstorm warning means that severe thunderstorms are occurring, he said.
New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan tweeted on Monday night that the State Emergency Operations Center and the Disaster Behavioral Response Team were both activated.
At about 9:45 p.m., Hassan tweeted, “The Governor is sending her thoughts and prayers to all those affected in Lancaster. State officials continue to provide support.”
Walker Brothers was scheduled to do two shows Monday before moving on to Vermont on Tuesday, according to AP.
Nancy Berry, 72, who lives on Main Street in Lancaster, said her daughter-in-law and niece were at the fairgrounds when the tent collapsed.
Though neither of her relatives were harmed, Berry said, “It was an awful tragedy.”
Berry, who was in the car when the accident took place, said she saw a number of fire trucks and ambulances headed to the scene.
“There were limbs and tree branches all over the place,” she said. “[The wind] was mighty strong.”
The investigation is ongoing and the fire marshal’s office and State Police are working together, officials said.
The collapse comes a day after one man died and more than a dozen were injured when a tent collapsed during a storm in Wood Dale, a Chicago suburb, during an annual Prairie Fest celebration, the Associated Press reported.
Also Sunday, the Lollapalooza music festival in Chicago’s Grant Park briefly shut down briefly because of severe weather. Organizers ended the festival 30 minutes early Sunday night when another storm hit the area, according to AP.Material from the Associated Press, and Globe correspondents Lauren Fox and Alexandra Koktsidis contributed to this report. Monica Disare can be reached at email@example.com.