In one Richmond, Vermont neighborhood, an uneasy evening watching the floodwaters rise
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As the Winooski River swelled and jumped its banks Monday afternoon, neighbors in one Richmond neighborhood watched and waited to see how high the water would go.
All around the Volunteers Green park, adults, kids and dogs wandered up to the edge of the muddy water swirling around swing sets, dugouts and traffic signs. A farmer moved his tractors to higher ground. Local first responders monitored the scene. Some teens even brought out boogie boards.
One couple living along the park’s edge, Amy and Dacyn Channell, say the park does flood on a regular basis, but not quite like this. They wondered whether to stick it out or leave.
Amy: "The water came in pretty darn quick. It's usually starts on this end of the fields like over towards the water treatment facility, and it starts to trickle down this way. But as the river got higher, it's just kind of like, meeting and — the flooding is happening pretty quick."
Dacyn: "It floods at least twice a year almost every year, like clockwork. It's something that I've gotten used to in the seven years that I've lived here. You know, it's always come up here but not quite up here."
Amy: "We're currently just packing like, a quick escape bag, and have everything ready to go. And — but we were going to reach out to a few hotels to see if they accept pets and can let us stay for a day or so. Because from what our other neighbor said, once this floods and things slow down, it goes away pretty quick, so optimistic about that."
Dacyn: "So it’s kind of interesting, watching people on our street relive what happened before. Amy lived in Massachusetts for Irene, and I lived in Essex at the time, so I wasn't really affected by it. Nor was she. So this is kind of new... So we're just kind of playing it by ear at the moment, taking taking social cues from the neighbors. Like: they're making their plans, but they're not frantic about it. "
Amy: "There's nothing I can do about it, so I have to let go of that... but like, the way – I'm a planner. So I just, having things ready to go when we have to go at a moment's notice, then that's the best I can do."
Dacyn: "I honestly am excited because I signed up in the Guard 26 years ago to help people. That's what I want to do. So I am waiting for my call to help. If it comes it comes if it doesn't, I can at least help my neighbors on my own. So that innate ability is there just waiting to activate it."
Amy: "It looks like we have a lakefront property … these are the times I wish I had a boat. Oh man. Yeah, so it's it's close. And there's quite a current that you can — it like it sounds like you're standing next to the river. I mean, you are technically standing next to the river right now! But I mean, it's like the sound of the rapids almost. It's like — Oh, it's right in the field. So that's crazy."
The Channells, along with most of their neighbors, ended up evacuating late Monday night and early Tuesday morning after the fire chief suggested they think about leaving.
Amy, Dacyn and their pets Nelson, Boris and Marbles are staying at a friend’s house in St. Albans. As of 10 a.m. Tuesday, Dacyn had not yet been activated by the National Guard, but expected to be later today.
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