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LIVE UPDATES: As floodwaters recede, Vermonters assess the damage, again

Published December 19, 2023 at 5:18 AM EST
A photo divided by a guardrail, with a sidewalk and roadway in half and a raging river in the other.
Lexi Krupp
Vermont Public
The Winooski River roils with floodwaters in Essex Junction on Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2023.

This week's heavy rain and snowmelt led to widespread flooding across Vermont. It stirred memories of the historic deluge many residents faced this summer. Although the damage does not appear to be as bad this time around, communities are assessing the impacts.

The hardest-hit areas appear to be in Waterbury and the Okemo and Mad River valleys, according to state officials. Swift water rescue teams performed 12 rescues this week — three people were pulled from a home in Jamaica, and nine were saved from vehicles caught in moving water across the state.

As of Tuesday, Dec. 19, officials say no deaths or injuries tied to the flooding have been reported.

In a press briefing Tuesday, Gov. Phil Scott noted the proximity of this week's storm to the July flooding, and said seeing homes and businesses surrounded by water once again was "heartbreaking."

Scott says Vermont could qualify for additional federal disaster assistance, and residents should report damage or losses to Vermont 2-1-1.

Human-caused climate change is expected to bring more rain on snow events like this one. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) state climate summary for Vermont, if the world doesn't do much to cut global greenhouse gas emissions soon, Vermont could see 15% more precipitation in the winter by the middle of this century, compared to late 20th century winter precipitation levels.


Voices from cleanup efforts around Vermont

Posted December 20, 2023 at 9:56 AM EST

On today's episode of The Frequency, Vermont Public's daily news podcast, hear audio dispatches from around the state as Vermonters deal with the aftermath from more flooding.

Listen using the player above, or follow The Frequency on Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsSpotify or wherever you listen.

from the field

Brattleboro flood mitigation project appears to have prevented property damage this week

Posted December 19, 2023 at 5:12 PM EST

A flood mitigation project in Brattleboro appears to have prevented property damage during this week’s storm.

A photo of a bench sitting next to floodwaters.
Christine Hazzard, Brattleboro Housing Partnerships
This flood mitigation area was created in Brattleboro after Tropical Storm Irene.

After Tropical Storm Irene, the town worked with the owner of a housing complex to remove buildings and dig out the land, creating a floodplain.

Brattleboro Zoning Administrator Brian Bannon says it worked as engineered yesterday.

“This level of storm in the past would have caused flooding, and it would have led to evacuations," Bannon said. "And in this case there was no flooding at all there, and people were able to stay in their homes."

Bannon says the site filled with water during the storm, slowing down the raging Whetstone Brook.

from the field

The Christmas presents, at least, were saved from flooding in this Moretown Village home

Posted December 19, 2023 at 5:05 PM EST

Basements flooded yesterday in Moretown Village, as the Mad River rose well beyond its banks.

The volunteer fire department issued an evacuation order for the village. And residents say it reminded them of Tropical Storm Irene.

During that flood in 2011, Deborah Carroll's house had 4 feet of water in the first floor.

"That was my fear yesterday, you know, that was, like, I was so... because Christmas is coming and I got my Christmas presents for my granddaughter all wrapped and everything was under the tree," Carroll said. "And so I picked everything up and I put it on the dining room table. Like that was going to do any good."

This time around, Carroll lost some belongings in her basement, where she and her partner had 3 feet of water. They were were squeegeeing out the mud this morning with the help of friends.

But the water never made it into the first floor of Carroll's house — and the Christmas presents were unscathed.

A photo of muddy rubbermaid bins and rainboots in a grassy yard.
Abagael Giles
Vermont Public
Deborah and Stephen Caroll's "to keep" pile following this week's flooding. Deborah said she'd been meaning to clean out their basement for a few years, but not this way. They had about 3 feet of water there last night.

The same couldn't be said for some other things in the basement.

"We got a dumpster coming tomorrow. And, you know, I'm being ruthless, I'm just, you know, old photo albums, boom, they're wet? Put 'em out of my mind," Carroll said. "Throw them in the trash. But there's, you know, a lot of stuff."

She lost some of her grandmother's furniture, but she managed to save her sewing machine.

Down the street, the Moretown post office was closed this morning, but no packages were damaged.

from the field

The emotional blow to Vermonters just recovering from July flooding

Posted December 19, 2023 at 4:50 PM EST

Late Tuesday afternoon, an overflowing Lamoille River continued to cut off Route 15 in Cambridge.

Pearl Dennis and Erik Holcomb pumped out water from their basement just a few yards away from a road closure barricade. The couple has spent the last five months rebuilding after historic flooding in July brought nearly a foot of water into the first floor of their house.

A photo of two people in warm clothes next on a wet street next to a pipe pumping water.
Carly Berlin
Vermont Public/VT Digger
Pearl Dennis and Erik Holcomb pump out the basement of their home in Cambridge on Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2023. The couple had just recently replaced their heating and cooling system after the flooding in July, which got damaged during the flooding again this week.

The flooding today was confined to the basement. The couple recently replaced their heating and cooling system there after July’s flooding. More flooding today likely means a financial setback – and it’s an emotional blow.

“Here we are, again,” Dennis said. “We have so much money invested in the HVAC stuff in the basement. We just put that insulation in. You know, it’s like — it’s mind-boggling that five months later, we’re in the same situation.”

Because of the flood damage this week, Dennis fears the home won’t have hot water for two to three weeks, again.

This is the third time since the home has flooded since the couple moved in in 2015. Dennis chalks up the frequent flooding to climate change.

“Climate crisis is a real thing,” she said. “We like to pretend that it’s not, and it’s just happening to everybody else on TV, you know. But like, here we are.”

from the field

Gov. Scott encouraging Vermonters to report flood damage to state

Posted December 19, 2023 at 4:25 PM EST

Gov. Phil Scott says the state is beginning critical clean-up efforts following major flooding across Vermont yesterday.

Scott said at a news conference Tuesday that unusually heavy rainfall and extensive snowmelt caused significant flooding in a handful of communities.

Still, he said overall damage to homes, businesses and roads appears to be less severe compared to the historic July floods.

"The good news is, waters have been receding across the state," Scott said. "We'll now begin the process of assessing damage while we're cleaning up, so removing silt and vegetative debris will be key for the next coming days and weeks. So if we do get more intense rain it has a place to go."

Scott says it's possible the overall damages will be large enough for the state to qualify for additional federal disaster assistance.

"There'd be a separate declaration for this if we met the threshold, so that's what we're looking for at this point, just to assess the damages and see if it meets that level of declaration," he said.

Scott is encouraging Vermonters experiencing flood damage to report losses to the stateto help qualify for federal disaster relief.

from the field

Brattleboro resident says mobile home park evacuated more frequently since Tropical Storm Irene

Posted December 19, 2023 at 4:17 PM EST

A bridge leading into the Mountain Home mobile home park in Brattleboro remains closed after flooding forced a partial evacuation yesterday.

Jeanne Lonardo has lived in the park for 35 years, and says before Tropical Storm Irene, she never had to evacuate.

A photo of a woman in a white coat in a yard with a stream in the background
Howard Weiss-Tisman
Vermont Public
Jeanne Lonardo has lived at the Mountain Home mobile home park in Brattleboro for 35 years. She says the Whetstone Brook, shown running behind her yard, has been overflowing more frequently since Tropical Storm Irene.

Since then, she says there have been more than five floods that have caused her to leave.

“I hate it," Lonardo said. "Because it’s fearful to wake up in the morning and be afraid to look out the window. You know? And the older I get, the worse I get."

Residents who evacuated early yesterday were able to return by the evening.

from the field

Despite storm, Sugarbush expects to open Mount Ellen on Friday

Posted December 19, 2023 at 4:12 PM EST

Vermont saw upwards of 2-4 inches of rain on top of snow over the last few days, flooding parts of the Mad River Valley.

But Sugarbush Resort says it did not sustain too much damage in the storm. There was some overflow in the snowmaking pond at Lincoln Peak, but the dam there held, according to Sugarbush employee John Bleh.

He says they're still planning to open Mount Ellen on Friday.

And skiing should look about the way it normally does for this time of year.

"The good news is the temperatures for the next, you know, as far as the forecast kind of goes out, at least the week, look great for snowmaking," Bleh said. "So we should be able to continue to just sort of refresh and open new terrain."

Bleh says the rain made a dent in their snowpack, but Sugarbush had such a historically good start to the season that here's still plenty of good skiing to be had.

from the field

Winooski One Dam had to shut down Monday night

Posted December 19, 2023 at 4:08 PM EST

Several rivers reached flood stage Monday and Tuesday morning – including the Winooski in Essex Junction. It crested at 21.5 feet Monday, up from a little over 4 feet a few days ago.

A couple miles downstream in Winooski, the Burlington Electric Department shut down the Winooski One Dam on Monday night.

Jon Clark is the power production technician at the Winooski One Hydro Plant. He couldn’t get into work Tuesday, because the door was blocked by water.

“I'm just hanging out now, and this is the access road that normally we would use," Clark said. "It's gone."

A photo of people in camo and neon jackets standing by a flooded river next to a brick building. The water has overflowed past some metal fencing.
Lexi Krupp
Vermont Public
Jason Benjamin and other crew with the City of Winooski put barriers near the river. Jon Clark, a technician at Burlington Electric Department, said they stopped operating the hydroelectric dam Monday evening to pass through as much water as possible. By Wednesday, it should be back online.

Clark’s team made the call around 6 p.m. Monday to shut down the dam — it helps more water pass through the river.

“This is a rarity," he said. "After July we didn’t think we would have to do it again until maybe in the spring of next year. This was unexpected.”

Clark said they track river flow on the U.S. Geological Survey’s website, which underestimated how much water was going into the rivershed.

By Wednesday, Clark said the hydro plant in Winooski should be back online.

from the field

Snowmelt ruins potential Christmas opening for Northeast Slopes

Posted December 19, 2023 at 3:18 PM EST

Community ski area Northeast Slopes in East Corinth will not be able to open for Christmas thanks to this week's wet, winter storm.

Wade Pierson is the area's volunteer manager. He says they'd had a pretty good base of about 4-6 inches of snow before the storm.

And before the rain Monday, they'd just gotten a nice little 3-inch squall. They were really close to being able to open early.

"My son, we were doing some dynamic testing of the T-bar, and he took a half dozen runs, and it was fantastic," Pierson said. "And now, we're back to bare ground."

With no snow in the forecast, Pierson says the ski area will be closed for Christmas. But he says they didn't get any flooding damage, so he's grateful for that.

from the field

Road closures remain in Lamoille County following flooding

Posted December 19, 2023 at 2:59 PM EST

Several Lamoille County towns are dealing with road closures following flooding.

While some local roads have reopened as floodwaters recede, others will need significant repairs.

Goeltz Road in Morristown has been washed out, said interim town manager Carrie Johnson.

“We lost a 9-foot culvert on that road. The road is definitely gone,” Johnson said. “That will have to be closed through the spring.”

The town is estimating repairs could cost upward of $250,000, Johnson said.

In Stowe, a privately-owned culvert on highway 108 near Spruce Peak Road has been washed out, limiting the highway to a single lane, said Stowe Town Manager Charles Safford.

It’s unclear how long it will take to resolve the issue, Safford said. The town is also addressing a washout on Upper Pinnacle Road that cut off access to one house.

Safford said access should be restored by this evening.

In Johnson, Lendway Lane remains closed and will need repair, according to the town’s website.

from the field

Scott administration to hold press briefing at 2 p.m. Tuesday

Posted December 19, 2023 at 1:02 PM EST

Gov. Phil Scott and emergency response officials will provide a press briefing at 2 p.m. about Vermont's response to this week's flooding.

Watch above at 2 p.m. on Vermont Public's main TV channel. Video feed courtesy ORCA Media.

from the field

Londonderry business owner didn't see widespread damage from Monday's storm compared to July

Posted December 19, 2023 at 12:09 PM EST

In Londonderry, the West River got close to Mike and Tammy’s Main Street Deli but didn’t cause widespread damage like this summer.

Store owner Tammy Clough says the staff still had to move everything up off the floor Monday, and then move it back down in time to open up Tuesday morning.

“I’m exhausted but what are going to do?" Clough says. "I was exhausted before yesterday. What are you going to do? We all just pull together and get it done."

Clough says the ski season is crucial to shop owners in Londonderry, and the rain this week will likely have an effect on the important Christmas week business.

from the field

Johnson post office closes again, one week after reopening following July floods

Posted December 19, 2023 at 11:57 AM EST

Just last week, Johnson’s post office building was able to reopen after July’s major flooding put it out of commission, according to select board chair Beth Foy.

But now, the building has taken on water again.

“They’re planning to clean up and reopen as soon as possible,” Foy said.

The building saw 4 or 5 inches of water in Monday’s flooding, which Foy said the post office considered “manageable,” and anticipates being able to reopen relatively quickly.

Overall, flooding in Johnson this week was mostly confined to basements, Foy said. Many residential buildings remain vacant as property owners work to rebuild following July’s floods, she said.

from the field

Johnson resident faced flooding in July, but not from Monday's storm

Posted December 19, 2023 at 11:26 AM EST

Monday's storm brought 2 to 3 inches of rain to many parts of Vermont.

It melted snow at higher elevations and caused rivers to swell across the state.

Teresa Cote lives along the Lamoille River in Johnson village. The first floor of her house was flooded in July, but not this time around.

"This round it only came up to what I call the berm in my backyard," Cote says. "If it had come up any higher then it would have started crawling towards the houses."

Cote says it was a harrowing night of waiting to see how high the river got. But she and her husband are grateful they weren't flooded again.

Cote says they've repaired about 80% of the damage to their house from the July floods. They hope to redo the hardwood floors after Christmas.

Human caused climate change is bringing more extreme rain events like this one to Vermont, especially in the winter and spring.

Flood resources from the Vermont Language Justice Project

Posted December 19, 2023 at 9:29 AM EST

The Vermont Language Justice Project provides flood resources through YouTube videos. You can find the full playlist here.

from the field

Lamoille, Winooski rivers at major flood stage Tuesday morning

Posted December 19, 2023 at 7:49 AM EST

As of 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, river gauge data from the National Weather Service showed two rivers experiencing major flooding: the Winooski River at Essex Junction and the Lamoille River at Johnson and Jeffersonville.

Otter Creek in Rutland and the Passumpsic River at Passumpsic appeared to be at moderate flood stage.

Conor Lahiff is with the National Weather Service.

"The Johnson at Lamoille is still in major flood stage, but it's coming down. Essex Junction, the Winooski in Essex Junction is in major and it's still kind of rising, but it looks like it's gonna be hitting its crest here sometime soon," Lahiff said. "All the other ones are on their way down. Several warnings that we've been able to get rid of this morning as those levels have fallen below flood stage."

Lahiff said most areas of the state received 2 to 3 inches of rain. But warm temperatures also melted snowpack, which added to rivers and streams.

"And you know, a lot of that has to do with the early seasons snow packs that we don't, you know, typically have there was a lot of snow in the upper elevations."

The good news is that the National Weather Service is predicting dry conditions for the rest of the week.

from the field

Gov. Scott says Monday's flooding is a 'gut punch' to towns still recovering from July

Posted December 19, 2023 at 7:15 AM EST

Flood waters are expected to recede by daylight Tuesday.

That’s after high water on rivers and streams flooded roadways across much of the state, and rains caused mudslides and at least two evacuations.

During a press conference Monday evening, Gov. Phil Scott said the state emergency operations center had been activated.

"Although there will be damage to infrastructure, homes and businesses, we do not expect this to be the same scale as July," Scott said. "That being said, some of the places that were impacted in July are currently experiencing flooding once again, so for them, this is July. And it’s a real gut punch."

As of Monday evening, swift-water rescue teams pulled several people from a home in Jamaica, and one person from a car in Waterbury.

Amtrak suspended train service in Vermont, and Cape Air had canceled flights into Rutland.

The National Weather Service is predicting dry conditions for the rest of the week.

About 25 people seek shelter at the Barre Auditorium

Posted December 18, 2023 at 9:13 PM EST

A little an hour after the Red Cross had opened their shelter at the Barre Auditorium Monday evening, roughly 25 people had checked in.

Disaster services volunteer Al Hermsen said most had come from Barre, and, for the most part, had come to the shelter preemptively, heeding warnings from local officials.

Man in red vest and hat.
Lola Duffort
Vermont Public
Volunteer Al Hermsen was helping about 25 people Monday, Dec. 18, 2023 at the emergency Red Cross shelter at the Barre Auditorium.

“Some people I’ve talked to said they were unable to get to their houses because the roads were flooded, so they came here,” he added.

Those taking shelter at the facility were given green cots to sleep on and white blankets stamped with the Red Cross’s red and black logo. There was food and water available, and Hermsen said volunteers planned to soon serve pizza.

Though it had not issued evacuation orders, Barre City officials heavily encouraged residents in certain low-lying areas to relocate to the auditorium.

That included Sarah De Frutos Murgadella, who lives in a first-floor apartment on Scampini Square. That street was hit hard in the July floods, so when she moved in, she made sure to keep on top of the state’s emergency alerts.

“We just kept an eye on it. And then we started getting some alerts saying, like, ‘People in this area – one of them was Scampini Square – you should consider evacuating. And then it became like a stronger warning, like, ‘Yeah, now would be the time to evacuate.’ And so we did,” she said.

De Frutos Murgadella was hesitant to move into the neighborhood because it was so close to the river and badly flooded this summer.

But the apartment was cute, she said, and “just what we needed.”

The property manager also told her that the building itself hadn’t been affected by the flood.

“So that’s kind of our hope for this time around,” she said. “I just hope this isn’t a regular thing.”

from the field

State officials say several people rescued from floodwaters today

Posted December 18, 2023 at 6:09 PM EST

At a press conference this evening, Jennifer Morrison, head of the Department of Public Safety, said several rescue operations took place today — three people were rescued from a home in Jamaica, and one person from a vehicle swept away by floodwaters in Waterbury.

"Tonight, our top priority will be keeping people safe, and evacuating or rescuing those who are in danger," Morrison said. "Stay out of floodwaters. The water is too cold, it’s filled with pollutants that are unhealthy and the currents are unpredictable. "

Floodwaters are expected to recede by daylight.

from the field

Snowmelt major component of water levels in rivers and streams

Posted December 18, 2023 at 6:06 PM EST

Marlon Verasamy with the National Weather Service in Burlington said snowmelt, especially from higher elevations, added to water levels during Monday’s flooding.

“Mount Mansfield, for example, today it was in the 40s most of the day,” Verasamy said. “So when you have that widespread rainfall, especially at the higher elevations, it's melting that snow, it's bringing that snow from the higher elevations down into the valleys, into the rivers and tributaries.”

As for rainfall, this event over the past couple days does not measure up to rain levels during the July flooding.

“We saw 2-3 [inches], 2-4 [inches] across the southern parts of the state, we saw a little less than that across the northern half of the state,” he said of the event this week. That compares to the 5-9 inches that fell over two days in July.

And Verasamy expects any lingering floodwaters to recede by breakfast on Tuesday.

“Once we get past this system, we're looking for pretty dry conditions for the rest of the week,” he said. “People can take a sigh of relief after that point, as things begin to quiet down.

from the field

No one hurt in St. Johnsbury landslide

Posted December 18, 2023 at 5:40 PM EST

No one was hurt in a landslide that was blocking traffic on Route 2 near St. Johnsbury on Monday.

As of this afternoon, the Vermont Agency of Transportation was working to clear the road of debris.

Bradley Reed is the fire chief in St. Johnsbury. He says there has been some flooding mostly around clogged culverts, and the river is high.

But Reed says so far, the landslide has been the biggest disruption.

"I know there's some concern that as a result of the first landslide, they're unsure of how stable the bank is and whether or not they're going to have to do some more work to get that stabilized," he said.

Chief Reed urged people not to drive through standing water. He says that is the most dangerous threat, and that people should stay home if they can, until tomorrow morning.

from the field

Hardwick opens shelter at Hazen Union High School

Posted December 18, 2023 at 5:32 PM EST

The town of Hardwick has opened an emergency shelter at Hazen Union High School. The shelter opened at 4 p.m.

Police say the state highways in and out of the village are clear of water as of 5 p.m. But they are watching the river closely, since it's still rising.

Police say residents should not drive through standing water.

Town officials say the shelter has been opened as a precaution.

from the field

Evacuated Brattleboro residents have returned back home

Posted December 18, 2023 at 5:14 PM EST

Brattleboro got more than 4 inches of rain over the last 24 hours. West Brattleboro was hit particularly hard.

Residents at the Mountain Home mobile home park there were asked to evacuate this morning and 12 homes were flooded.

The Whetstone Brook jumped its banks and emergency managers say the waters crested at about 1 p.m. Monday.

Rain on snow up in the mountains caused the flooding.

"In this particular event, the ground saturation was already at a high level, and the 4 inches of rain that we received and the neighboring communities just above the Whetstone also received, it just created this, this particular flooding event," said Brattleboro Assistant First Chief Chuck Keir.

As of this afternoon, waters had subsided, and park residents were allowed to return to their homes.

Keir says the park was the only place people were
evacuated in the Brattleboro area during this storm.

During Tropical Storm Irene, mobile home parks bore a disproportionate share of the damages. And Keir says Mountain Home gets evacuated for flooding about once a year.

Climate change is bringing more extreme rain events like this one to Vermont, especially in the winter and spring.

from the field

Emergency shelter open at Barre Auditorium

Posted December 18, 2023 at 5:01 PM EST

The Red Cross has opened an emergency shelter at the Barre Auditorium, and pets are welcome there.

That's according to Barre officials.

Officials say Main Street between City Hall Park and Depot Square is closed due to "flood waters breaching storefronts as cars pass by."

A photo of a flooded street with businesses, with the hood of a car in the foreground.
Jen Lawrence
Barre City officials are asking residents to avoid Main Street to keep water from splashing inside businesses there.

City officials are also encouraging Barre residents in low-lying areas to move their cars to the auditorium lot.

Sandbags are also available at the DPW garage, Depot Square and behind city hall.

from the field

Worst winds are now over

Posted December 18, 2023 at 4:41 PM EST

Just over 1,200 households in Vermont are without power as of 4:20 pm today, after a peak of about 10,000 outages this morning.

Outages were largely due to strong winds, especially across high terrain. Winds reached over 60 miles per hour on top of Mount Mansfield earlier today, with gusts over 90 miles per hour.

Peter Banacos with the National Weather Service in Burlington says wind speeds have since died down.

"So we've seen the worst — we've seen the worst of the winds that we're going to see," Banacos said. "And that was earlier this morning."

Most rivers will begin to crest this evening but several rivers may not crest until Tuesday morning.

Banacos says to heed road closure signs, and don’t try to cross water of unknown depth.

from the field

Gov. Phil Scott, emergency officials will hold briefing at 5 p.m.

Posted December 18, 2023 at 3:29 PM EST

Gov. Phil Scott and emergency response officials will provide a press briefing at 5 p.m. about Vermont's response to today's flooding.

Watch above at 5 p.m. on Vermont Public's main TV channel. Video feed courtesy ORCA Media.

from the field

Most floodwaters expected to peak this evening

Posted December 18, 2023 at 3:05 PM EST
A photo of roiling brown waters in a high river with a bridge guardrail in the foreground.
Elodie Reed
Vermont Public
Browns River in Underhill flows fast and high underneath the intersection of Maple Leaf and Mountain roads on Monday morning.

Floodwaters across Vermont are supposed to peak this evening in most rivers, and recede after midnight.

Much of the state has received 1.5 to 2.5 inches of rain since last night. That, combined with snow melt, has resulted in rivers and streams across the state rapidly rising.

Peter Banacos with the National Weather Service in Burlington says many rivers are experiencing minor to moderate flooding.

"It's mainly roads that are impacted, as opposed to, you know, major downtown areas — things that we saw in the July flooding, for example, in Montpelier — that was a major flood stage," Banacos said. "So in this event, we're not reaching those levels."

Most accidents and deaths from floods occur when people drive into floodwaters and their cars get swept away.

Banacos says to follow road closure signs, and don’t try to cross water of unknown depth.

from the field

Moretown Village told to evacuate, elementary school flooded

Posted December 18, 2023 at 2:51 PM EST

Residents of Moretown Village were told to evacuate their homes and businesses today.

That's because heavy rain on snow up in the mountains caused the Mad River to jump its banks.

Moretown Fire Chief Stefan Pratt said as of midday, the river was coming into people's basements and still rising.

Route 100B through town was flooded on either side of the village. But some of the side roads were still passable. Pratt urged motorists not to drive through standing water today and tonight.

"Turn around, don't drown," Pratt said. "I've seen people today that are, you know, just as the water is starting to come up, they're driving through it and it, you know, makes me nervous that something terrible is gonna happen. It doesn't take very much water to wash your vehicle away."

Pratt says people can evacuate from the village by car to the intersection of Moretown Mountain Road and the Moretown Common Road.

He says residents should seek higher ground until flood waters recede.

Moretown Elementary School also flooded today, and students were sent home. While the fire department came to try to pump out water, officials say they soon gave up in order to focus on evacuating Moretown Village.

Human caused climate change is bringing more rain on snow events like this one to Vermont.

from the field

Waitsfield residents should stay home today

Posted December 18, 2023 at 2:37 PM EST

Heavy rain on top of snow up in the mountains is bringing flooding to the Mad River Valley today.

As of midday, Waitsfield Emergency Management Director Fred Messer says there were a lot of roads closed in town after the Mad River had jumped its banks.

Messer said Bridge Street in the old village of Waitsfield flooded during Tropical Storm Irene. But as of midday, it hadn't flooded this time... though rain is expected to continue until midnight.

"Right now it hasn't reached Irene proportions, but it's really close," Messer said. "Too close."

He urged Waitsfield residents to stay home and off the roads until tomorrow morning. He says dirt roads are slick and emergency responders need to be able to get through.

Messer says people should make sure they are registered for real time updates from VT-Alerts.

from the field

Mudslide in St. Johnsbury

Posted December 18, 2023 at 1:48 PM EST

State emergency officials are reporting a mud slide in St. Johnsbury.

VT-Alert saysU.S. Route 2 west of Vermont Route 18 are currently closed, andimages posted to Facebook show mud and entire pine trees in the roadway.

Officials are asking motorists to seek an alternative route.

Wind advisory in effect through 4 p.m. Monday

Updated December 18, 2023 at 1:07 PM EST
Posted December 18, 2023 at 1:45 PM EST

A wind advisory remains in effect from the Green Mountains east through Essex County, Vermont and Coos County, New Hampshire, according to the National Weather Service.

Winds are expected to reach speeds of 20 to 30 miles per hour, with gusts reaching 55 mph.

The wind advisory remains in effect until 4 p.m. this afternoon.

from the field

Montpelier asks residents to move cars to higher ground

Posted December 18, 2023 at 1:38 PM EST

Montpelier City Manager William J. Fraser says officials are monitoring rivers and flood conditions in Vermont's capital city today.

"The National Weather Service has just upgraded Montpelier’s flood risk significantly," Fraser wrote in a statement Monday. "They now predict a Winooski peak of 16.8 feet which is above the 15-foot flood level. The prior projection had been 9.7."

Fraser noted the Winooski River reached around 20 feet during July's flooding.

The city of Montpelier is asking residents to move their cars to higher ground.

from the field
Flood conditions

Evacuations, closures Monday due to flooding

Posted December 18, 2023 at 1:26 PM EST

Heavy rains from last night into today have created flood conditions across Vermont.

As of 10:46 a.m., VT-Alert said the Deerfield River reached 13.5 feet and started to crest its lower lying banks.

The Mad River in Waitsfield has also flooded. According to NBC5, people are being asked to avoid downtown.

Green Mountain Transit also announced that they temporarily suspended all Washington County bus service due to a flood warning.

Several schools in Orange, Rutland, Washington, and Windsor counties are dismissing early due to storm conditions. You can find more school delays and closures here.

In Brattleboro, officials are helping residents of the Mountain Home Trailer Park evacuate. They say West Brattleboro is especially experiencing flooding.