So this weekend this little ‘rain storm’ rolled through New England… Hurricane Irene, later just Tropical Storm Irene now just cute little storm formerly called Irene. I watched it from my bedroom window while doing dailies as winds ripped limbs from trees, stripped branches of leaves and blew rain uphill on the buildings across the green from me. The news was following the storm, calling it an event and I usually don’t buy into the hype often but I had a bad feeling about it. We didn’t get nailed as hard as people thought but my state of Vermont is in a state of panic.
In Vermont there are at least a dozen small towns isolated due to flood waters, roads and bridges 100+ years old washed away in the torrents of the Otter, Deerfield, Ottaquechee, and White rivers. Three of the major “cities” in the southern end of the state are under several feet of water or totally inaccessible. Power lines are down, dams are under a lot of pressure and more water is on the way as the already saturated ground pours more water into the valleys of the Green Mountains where most people live. Towns on the southern end of the state are also issuing mandatory evacuations, boil water orders, and are expecting more trouble as Monday goes on.
Further north our State Capitol is currently being evacuated as the Marshfield Dam may have its flood gates open to alleviate the swelling reservoir behind it. If the dam fails it’ll be worse, emergency managers and the power company who owns the dam says, so we have to do what we can to save it. Dozens of schools are closed state wide, naturally though, the school I graduated from isn’t on the list.
I have a grandmother and two aunts and uncles down in Southern VT. Gramma is fine, not that she goes anywhere anyway, and still has power thankfully. Uncle D got trapped in the town of Willmington (which at 10am Sunday was isolated with all roads lading to it washed out) with the rest of the volunteer fire department and with Aunt L stuck at the hospital she works at. Uncle T and Aunt P had to be evacuated as the river rose and filled their town and outlying areas with 4+ feet of water, washing out bridges and roads. The water is still rising.
This spring we got hit, hard by floods and many roads and bridges are still not fully repaired. What worries me the most though is that all 4 routs to get to my parent’s house up in the mountains are all closed. I’m glad I went shopping with my mom, I know they have what they need. They still have power, more than can be said for 30,000+ other Vermonters. I work with my parents in our custom door business but if I can’t get there well I guess I get the day off.
Up here in Burlington there was a lot of wind, the rain turned main street’s big hill into a massive water slide but that was it. The worst is expected to happen today as the 90mi long Winooski river reaches and surpasses flood stage. Called the st police and they said stay out of my home town, half the roads are under water and most of the routs around those places are a mess… or the bridge is gone. All unnecessary travel is prohibited, the Governor asking people to ‘stay safe, stay dry, use common sense’ which surprisingly a lot of Vermonters have. So far only one fatality has been reported.
Irene may have spared most of us high winds and hurricane epicness but she left a f-ton of water and Vermont is trying hard to stay afloat. The long and short of it. We’re soggy, gunna get soggier and if you gotta go somewhere, you can’t get there from here.