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Vermont residents survey flood damage, brace for more rain

The storms dumped record amounts of rain on Vermonters in a short time.
Vermont residents survey flood damage, brace for more rain
Posted at 8:13 PM, Jul 15, 2023

Vermont residents are cleaning up after record rains and floods.

 "Well, we’re probably less than 100 feet from the river, and water came up to here, so there was about a foot of water," said Bernie Noe, who lives in Montpelier.

Two months worth of rain in two days sent the Winooski River rushing through its banks, inundating the state’s capital, Montpelier.

"The church is the people; we’re very fortunate that our people are safe, but it is a kick in the gut to see this beautiful sacred space in such a bad way," said Rev. Kevin Holland Sparrow of the local Christ Church Episcopal.

The flood flowed through this 160-year-old church in the city’s heart. Volunteers and business owners downtown scoured the silt and filth out of buildings and at this restaurant, including the equipment.

"Everybody’s affected equally; it’s pretty devastating. We all have come together, and we’re making it happen," said Krista Simonds, general manager of Julio’s Cantina. "And the help has been amazing."

The state of Vermont is assessing storm damage, with more rain and severe storms in the forecast for Sunday.

"We've done some aerial reconnaissance, which is difficult this time of year because of our thick foliage, and then we have teams on the ground: state teams, non-profit teams, and fema teams that are on the ground and beginning the work of tallying up the damage in our community," said Jennifer Morrison, commissioner at the Vermont Department of Public Safety.

SEE MORE: Extreme rainfall drives near-record flooding in the Northeast

Officials in Vermont are blaming the storms as the cause of two deaths, including one in the nearby city of Barre, where one man died.

This neighborhood is still slogging through sludge and mud. Pumping out water from basements.

"Gotta be 7 or 8 feet, and all this mud was down here too. We’ve been hauling mud for two days in buckets," said Spike Dutil, a Barre resident.

A road turned into a torrent, and the stream went over its banks.

"Yep, this was our driveway. We woke up Monday morning, and we had a raging river going on outside our house on all four sides. And as you can see, it washed out the road and our driveway," said Laurie Dodge, a resident of the town of Middlesex.

The raging water is sending this storm culvert on its side, blocking the stream and creating more flooding problems.

"The brook has been over the bank numerous times," said Kyle Weaver, a resident of Middlesex. "That was the deal breaker for this house."

Officials are suggesting this is the worst storm in Vermont since 1927, showing the effects of climate change.

There’s more rain forecast around the state, which is putting people on edge.

FEMA is at the scene, and workers are taking stock of the damages.

The U.S. Transportation Secretary is expected to visit next week to survey badly damaged roads to see where the federal government can help.

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