By Lisa Latke – The Associated Press
ANDOVER, Vermont (AP) — Volunteers shovel snow Wednesday after heavy rain flooded communities across Vermont, trapping people in their homes, closing roads and littering streets and businesses with debris. I got out my shovel and removed a few inches of mud.
In the state capital, Montpelier, most streets were drained, and the swollen Winooski River flooded basements and ground floors, destroying merchandise and furniture in the picturesque downtown. Other communities have likewise been cleared from historic floods that are more devastating than Tropical Storm Irene in many places. Dozens of roads remained closed and thousands of homes and businesses damaged.
But state public safety commissioner Jennifer Morrison said people were still being rescued, high water was still blocking some roads, and a new flash flood warning was issued as more rain could come. It is said that the crisis is not over yet.
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“People in Vermont, brace yourself and don’t take risks,” she said.
Prime Minister Morrison said urban search and rapid water rescue teams rescued at least 32 people and dozens of animals Tuesday night in Lamoille County in northern Vermont, bringing the total to more than 200 people rescued and more than 100 people evacuated since Sunday. said to have brought
In the city of Montpelier, population 8,000, volunteers flocked in droves to help flooded businesses, including shoveling mud, cleaning up, and moving damaged items out of the area. “We were so passionate about supporting downtown businesses that most of them had to turn down,” volunteer organizer Peter Wolk said.
Similar scenes occurred in nearby Barre and Bridgewater, where the Ottauchee River drained its banks, and Ludlow, where the Black River flooded restaurants co-owned by chef Andrew Mollen. He said Sam’s Steakhouse is likely to close permanently because the water level inside has reached nearly 7 feet (more than 2 meters).
“Probably only silver can be salvaged. Still, after being in that mud for so long, you wash everything. Do you really want it on the table?” said Moren.
At another of his restaurants, Mr. Darcy’s, water seeped several feet into the store and damaged the foundation. But Mollen said he has yet to focus on cleaning up because ensuring food availability for locals and first responders is a top priority. His crew cooks at one of his restaurants, which are still in operation today, and uses ATVs to transport food through standing water to a local community center.
Gov. Phil Scott toured the disaster area with Federal Emergency Management Administrator Dean Criswell, and the team saw damage in the air and on the ground the day after President Joe Biden declared a state of emergency and authorized federal disaster relief. Evaluation started.
The total amount of damage can be large. Prior to these floods, the United States had 12 confirmed weather and climate disasters this year, costing more than $1 billion, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
“I think we understand that we are now experiencing the worst natural disaster since 1927[the flood]that affected Vermont,” said Senator Bernie Sanders. “What we are seeing now are thousands of homes and businesses that have been damaged, sometimes severely. It will need extensive repairs.” The 1927 flood killed dozens and caused widespread destruction.
Scott said the flooding exceeded levels seen during Tropical Storm Eileen, which killed six people in Vermont in August 2011, washing away the foundations of homes and destroying more than 200 bridges and 500 miles of water. 805 km) highways were damaged or destroyed.
Atmospheric scientists say devastating flooding events are now occurring more frequently, as clouds carry more water as the atmosphere warms, making things even worse as global temperatures rise. ing.
New York’s Hudson River Valley was also heavily damaged, along with towns in southwestern New Hampshire and western Massachusetts.
Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healy took a helicopter Wednesday to the small town of Williamsburg, where she watched from above as roads were washed away and some people had to be rescued from their homes. Even after two days of receding water, the Connecticut River retains a murky brown tint and the farmland along the river remains saturated, she said.
Much of that water carried debris including whole trees, rocks and even vehicles south through Connecticut to Long Island Sound. Roads and riverside parks have been closed in several cities as major waterways such as the Connecticut River overflow their levees and are expected to flood up to 6 feet (2 meters) above flood levels on Wednesday. .
By noon Wednesday, all rivers in Vermont were flooded, with water levels dropping, but at least one was 20 feet (6 meters) higher than normal, said Peter Banakos, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. Thunderstorms, strong winds and hail were expected in Vermont on Thursday and Friday, but Banakos said they would blow through quickly, making further flooding unlikely.
A woman’s body was found washed ashore in Fort Montgomery, New York, where one person is believed to have died in a storm.
About a dozen communities, including Vermont’s capital, were under boiling water warnings but are now reachable again, at least after being left behind by high water. The American Red Cross in northern New England supported shelters in Rutland, White River Junction, and Barr. The city’s auditorium held 58 evacuees on Wednesday morning, but more than 200 on Tuesday.
Regional disaster officer John Montez said many people passed by to charge their cell phones and seek food. Red Cross volunteers from across the Northeast were helping with disaster assessments and handing out cleaning kits to homeowners in preparation for the next rain.
Co-owner Claire Benedict said the floods were devastating for Bear Pond Books, a 50-year-old store in Montpelier. Water about 3.5 feet deep ruined many books and supplies. Staff and volunteers piled water-soaked books outside the back and front doors on Wednesday.
“The floor was completely covered in wet books this morning,” she said as she cleared the mud. “It’s chaos.”
Ludlow City Manager Brendan McNamara said his town was also devastated. Water treatment plants have shut down, major supermarkets and roads through town have been closed, a Little League stadium and a new skate park have been destroyed, and it is impossible to estimate how many homes and businesses have been damaged, he said. Stated.
“We really bore the brunt of the storm,” McNamara said. However, he said that his town would definitely recover. “Ludlow will be fine. People come together and care about each other.”
Associated Press contributors include Kathy McCormack of Concord, New Hampshire. Pat Eaton Robb of Hartford, Connecticut. Michael Hill of Albany, New York. In Boston, Marc Platt, Michael Casey, Steve LeBlanc.
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