By Guy Page
Londonderry and surrounding towns in northwestern Windham County appear to be hardest hit by today’s flooding, and the epicenter of search and rescue operations to help people cut off from safety.
Flooding and road closings have been reported at locations across the state. The surging waters are the result of wetter-than-usual weather culminating in heavy rain last night and this morning. The rain is part of a storm afflicting the east coast from Delaware to Maine.
“We have not seen rain fall like this since [2011 Storm] Irene,” Gov. Phil Scott said at a media briefing in the state’s emergency operations center in Waterbury today. “And in some places it may surpass even that.”
“Irene lasted for about 24 hours….. This is going on for days,” Scott said. “We’re getting just as much rain, if not more. It’s not just the initial damage, it’s the waves, the second wave, the third wave….This is going to be much worse than expected.”
Both Scott and Mike Cannon, the state’s pre-eminent water rescue worker, said the need for search and rescue work is likely to be ongoing for days.
Scott said some of the Irene infrastructure improvements may result in less damage this time around.
“South Londonderry is inaccessible right now,” Mike Cannon, Program Manager for the Vermont Department of Public Safety’s Urban Search and Rescue Task Force One, said. “We have swift water teams in that area now. Weston is totally inaccessible right now. We’re working on getting a search and rescue team in there to conduct operations.”
The hardest hit areas are in the southern counties, and especially around the Londonderry area. At the media briefing today, authorities said they have evacuated a group of 19 people and another group of 25, and the work continues.
As yet, there are no reported fatalities.
Authorities say they also are monitoring dam conditions in the Ball Mountain Dam down in Jamaica. According to Wikipedia, the dam impounds the West River for flood control. The dam is owned and operated by the Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps identified safety and seepage problems with the dam in 2009, and has assigned it a Dam Safety Action Class rating of DSAC II, or “Urgent”. Authorities did not indicate an imminent problem with the dam.
Three Vermont Agency of Transportation garages are affected by rising waters. Londonderry and Ludlow facilities are currently isolated, authorities said.
Reported road closings today from Vermont Agency of Transportation, as of 11:30 AM (check NewEngland511.org for updates, including re-openings):
- VT-12 in Berlin at Chase Rd is CLOSED due to flooding.
- The Waterbury Park and Ride off Lincoln St in Waterbury is CLOSED due to high water.
- VT-100A in Plymouth between Town Line Rd and Bruyn Rd is CLOSED due to a sinkhole on a bridge (Bridge #9).
- VT-14 in Williamstown in the Williamstown Gulf is CLOSED due to flooding.
- VT-131 from VT-103 in Cavendish to VT-106 in Weathersfield is CLOSED due to flooding.
- VT-12 in Bethel from Camp Brook Rd to the Fire Department is CLOSED due to flooding.
- VT-12 in Worcester at Ledge Rd is CLOSED due to flooding.
- VT-14 in Hardwick north of Carey Rd in CLOSED due to flooding.
- VT-12A from VT-12 in Northfield to Granville is CLOSED due to flooding.
- VT-100 in Londonderry near the South Londonderry Bridge is CLOSED due to flooding.
- VT-11 from VT-30 in Winhall to VT-100 in Londonderry is CLOSED due to flooding.
- VT-103 in Shrewsbury from Lincoln Hill Rd to VT-140 is CLOSED due to water in the roadway.
- VT-107 in Stockbridge from VT-100 to VT-12 in Bethel is CLOSED due to flooding.
- US-2 in Middlesex between Sunny Brook Rd to Cross Rd is CLOSED due to flooding.
- VT-58 in Orleans Village towards Brownington is closed to ONE LANE due to flooding.
- US-4 in Woodstock between Westerdale Rd to Knapp Dr is CLOSED due to flooding.
- US-5 in Barton from VT-58 towards Irasburg is closed to ONE LANE due to flooding.
- US-5 in Barton from Industrial Park to VT-58 is now CLOSED due to flooding.
- VT-155 in Mt. Holly from Straight Rd to VT-100 is CLOSED due to flooding.
- VT-16 in Barton from Exit 25 to Water St is CLOSED due to flooding.
- VT-103 in Mt. Holly at Station Road is CLOSED due to flooding.
- VT-100 Ludlow south of the village is CLOSED due to flooding.
- VT-103 in Ludlow is CLOSED due to flooding in the village.
- VT-100 in Weston near the intersection of VT-155 is CLOSED due to flooding.
- US-4 in Killington near the Skyship CLOSED due to landslide that occurred on July 7.
- VT-100 in West Bridgewater at US-4 to Farm and Wilderness Rd is CLOSED due to a washout.
- Roads being monitored:
- VT-12 in Brookfield near Bakers Pond has reports of high water.
- I-89 NB in Montpelier north of Exit 8 has reports of high water.
- VT-118 at the Eden and Belvidere line has reports of water on the road.
- VT-12 in Worcester north of Mill Rd near Tavern Farm was reports of water on the road.
- Reopened Roads:
- VT-30 in Jamaica near West Hill Road South.
- VT-30 in Winhall near Stoney Hill Road.