Record level of flooding in Vermont described as s “historic and catastrophic”

Intense rainstorms in the Northeast have unleashed severe flooding in Vermont, resulting in the closure of downtown Montpelier and the evacuation of residents. Vermont Governor Phil Scott has described the situation as “historic and catastrophic,” with floodwaters surpassing levels seen during Tropical Storm Irene in 2011. Thousands of homes and businesses have already been affected, and the water continues to rise in some areas. The state remains under a state of emergency, and rescue efforts are underway to assist stranded residents.

The relentless rain has taken a toll on the city of Montpelier, Vermont’s capital, with a record-breaking 5.28 inches of rainfall on Monday. This surpasses the previous record set during Tropical Storm Irene in 2011. Governor Scott has compared the current flooding to a more severe version of Irene, noting that the rain has been steady for 48 hours and more is expected in the coming days. While water levels have started to recede in downtown Montpelier, a travel ban remains in place until 3 p.m. Tuesday.

The flooding has already caused extensive damage to thousands of homes and businesses, and the aftermath is expected to be devastating. Mike Cannon, Vermont’s Urban Search and Rescue manager, has reported over 100 rescues and highlighted the dangerous conditions that have hindered rescue efforts. The search and rescue teams have faced challenges due to heavily flooded areas, and the National Guard helicopters have been deployed to assist in the operations. Swift boat rescue crews and Black Hawk helicopters from neighboring New Hampshire are also en route to provide support.

The flooding has resulted in significant disruptions to essential services in Montpelier. The Montpelier Police Department had to relocate its dispatch, police, and fire operations due to flooding in City Hall and the fire and police departments. Additionally, three radio towers used for dispatching fire and ambulances in Washington County have been compromised. The rising water levels near the Wrightsville Dam in Montpelier pose a potentially dangerous situation for residents.

The impact of the flooding extends beyond Vermont, with parts of New England and Oklahoma also affected. Flood alerts for over 2 million people have expired, but flood warnings remain in place. The Weather Prediction Center has reported that rainfall totals in the Northeast were already 300% to 500% above normal levels. New York has also experienced extensive damage, with one fatality and millions of dollars in damages reported.

Residents in affected areas are urged to remain cautious as reservoirs fill up and the water seeks an outlet. Governor Scott emphasized the need to prepare for the next phase of the flooding. Individuals like Betsy Hart, who experienced the sudden rise of floodwater in her home, expressed their concerns and likened the situation to Hurricane Irene in 2011. The threat of further flooding remains as rivers have risen to levels higher than during Irene.