Hurricane Matthew dropped a limb on my neighbor's house, jerked two of the three wires down from the pole.
To my surprise he still has power, though just 120, no 240. I had to look again, sure enough it was one hot and the neutral that pulled loose. Usually the neutral is mechanically stronger.
So with no neutral to the meter, current must be going back to the panel on the neutral wires, then out on the safety ground. I guess he has a very good bond of neutral to ground in the panel, and a very effective ground connection outside.
I would have expected a ground to be good enough to trip a breaker, but I wouldn't have trusted it to actually carry current.