By Guy Page
Lamoille County, and in particular Jeffersonville, is the hotspot for search and rescue of flood victims today.
Public Safety Commissioner Jen Morrison reported that about 100 people have been delivered to safety. As of noon today, 45 are staying at a temporary rescue center at Smugglers Notch Resort, located high in the mountains.
Johnson, just east of Jeffersonville, also was heavy hit by flooding. Both are Lamoille County towns with significant higher elevations on both sides.
Runoff from higher elevations into the Lamoille River and its branches is the source of continued flooding there. Most of the rest of Vermont – including Monday/Tuesday’s flood epicenters of Barre and Montpelier – are now virtually free of standing or moving water.
In these two communities, as well as Berlin and Waterbury, the work now turns to drying out basements and removing mud from the first floor of the river community’s many flooded homes and businesses. During VDC’s visit to Barre and Montpelier yesterday, we saw many sump pump hoses, huge piles of debris, and mud everywhere – roads, sidewalks, and inside buildings.
Dams okay, for now – the Wrightsville Dam in Montpelier and other flood control dams statewide are not in imminent risk of needing to release large amounts of water, resulting in flooding downstream, Gov. Phil Scott and administration officials said. However, 1-2” inches of rain is expected Thursday and Friday, and flooding could reoccur depending on the actual severity of the rainfall.
“We’ll see what happens Thursday and Friday,” Scott said. “We’re monitoring the situation.”
Welch blames climate change – At today’s press conference, Sen. Peter Welch said he had just gotten off the phone with NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). Their verdict, and his: climate change is to blame. In particular, the warmer-than-usual Atlantic Ocean deposited more moisture than usual over the northeastern U.S. What would have been a typical storm became a flood event, he said.