Vermonters rally together in recovery efforts as storms loom, following historic flooding

VT officials deemed incident the worst natural disaster in the state since floods of 1927

  • Residents of Vermont dedicated their Friday to the daunting task of drying out their homes and businesses, which suffered extensive damage during unprecedented flooding. 
  • Unfortunately, more rain is anticipated on Sunday, with further showers expected next Tuesday.
  • This week's storms unleashed an exceptional amount of rain in certain regions, surpassing the precipitation brought by Tropical Storm Irene in 2011, which led to significant flooding. 

Vermonters worked Friday to dry out homes and businesses damaged by historic flooding but kept a wary eye on the horizon, with another round of storms forecast for the weekend.

Parts of the state got more rain on Thursday and about 14,000 customers at the height of the storm. More rain is expected on Sunday, and further out, next Tuesday.

"We don't know the extent of some of these storms," Gov. Phil Scott said at a news conference.

Storms dumped up to two months’ worth of rain in a couple of days in parts of the region this week, surpassing the amount that fell when Tropical Storm Irene blew through in 2011 and caused major flooding. Officials called this week's flooding the state's worst natural disaster since floods in 1927.

The flooding has been blamed for one death — a man who drowned in his home in Barre, a city of about 8,500 people in central Vermont. Stephen Davoll, 63, died Wednesday, said Vermont Emergency Management spokesman Mark Bosma, who urged Vermonters to continue to take extra care as they return to their homes and repair damage.


"The loss of a Vermonter is always painful, but it is particularly so this week," Vermont U.S. Sen. Peter Welch said in statement.

It was the second flood-related death stemming from a storm system and epic flooding in the Northeast this week. The first was in upstate New York, where a woman was swept away by floodwaters in Fort Montgomery, a small Hudson River community about 45 miles north of New York City.

President Joe Biden on Friday approved Scott’s request for a major disaster declaration to provide federal support for recovering communities.

Many communities have been in touch with Vermont emergency management officials to discuss their needs, but state officials said Friday that they hadn't yet heard from about two to three dozen of them. National Guard troops were being sent to establish contact with them.

In addition to roads, homes and businesses, farms took a big hit, with the flooding coming soon after many growers endured a hard freeze in May.

vermonters rally together in recovery efforts as storms loom following historic flooding

This image made from drone footage provided by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets shows flooding in Montpelier, Vermont, on July 11, 2023. (Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets via AP)

It’s expected to "destroy a large share of our produce and livestock feed," the state's agriculture secretary, Anson Tebbetts, said a news conference. "In our hilly state, some of our most fertile farmland lies in the river valleys, and countless fields of corn, hay, vegetables, fruit, and pasture were swamped and buried."

It was too soon to determine damage costs, he said.

Meanwhile, Scott and other officials talked about the many Vermonters who have been volunteering to help flood-affected areas.

"I’ve been inspired by the thousands of Vermonters, businesses and organizations who have reached out, wanting to help. As we transition to recovery, we know we’ll need all the help we can get."

In Marshfield, a small community about 45 miles east of the state's biggest city, Burlington, the Marshfield Village Store was used as a makeshift shelter one night during this week's flooding, housing as many as three dozen people.


On Friday, it was serving as a distribution point for clean water, as damage to a water main had left the town in need. And officials were still trying to reach people who might need help.

"We’re about to start putting it out more formally, if there are other folks who haven’t been able to get the support that they need yet, so that we can get equipment and volunteers to them, emergency medication, work on their properties, that’s where we’re at right now," said Michelle Eddleman McCormick, the store's general manager.

Philip Kolling, director of SerVermont, said as of Friday, about 5,200 people statewide had registered to help relief efforts through the state Emergency Management agency and an online volunteer recruitment effort.

"What we are doing does not even begin to capture all of the volunteers being organized through local organizations, towns, and informal networks, and we encourage those local efforts as they often can address critical needs more quickly," he said.

Some volunteers have offered drive for the charity Meals on Wheels or take people to medical appointments. Others have offered to help with general cleanup.

In the southern Vermont ski village of Ludlow, Calcutta’s restaurant was getting two truckloads of food to prepare meals for first responders, volunteers, and anyone else who might need one. Many people were working on cleanup and fixing roads.

The large banquet room was set up with cots, water, and toiletries for anyone who was displaced.

"There’s plenty of work that needs to be done to get us back to normal," said Michael Reyes, who works for a hospitality group that owns the restaurant.

via FoxNews July 14th 2023