Gov. Peter Shumlin, Barre Mayor Thom Lauzon, and public safety and emergency management officials today provided an update on last night’s flooding affecting parts of eastern and central Vermont, including Barre and Plainfield. The fast-moving storm dropped between four and six inches of rain last night.
Barre and Plainfield appear to be the hardest hit by the storm and flooding with both communities reporting widespread road closures during the storm. Those towns and others in central and eastern Vermont are doing assessments today with VTrans district technicians to determine the current status of roads and what repairs need to be made. A number of local roads remain closed and motorists are cautioned to respect all detours.
Early this morning, VTrans activated loaders and dump trucks to help dig out and move dirt in Barre. Crews are still working with City officials and more resources are at the ready if required.
Regional Planning Commissions throughout the state are checking with towns to determine the extent of damage and the estimated cost to recover from the storm. That information will be sent to the Vermont Division of Emergency Management & Homeland Security to determine what, if any, federal assistance may be available. In order to qualify for a federal disaster declaration storm damage must exceed $1 million.
During the height of the storm the state Emergency Operations Center (EOC) was activated to assist communities in storm response. The primary task was coordination of swiftwater rescue teams. Colchester Technical Rescue, Stowe Mountain Rescue, the Vermont State Police Tactical Unit, and the Vermont National Guard were staged in Barre. Those teams assisted in multiple evacuations and rescued five people from two cars that had been surrounded by water in different areas of Barre City. There were no known injuries in the flooding.
Residents who evacuated their homes due to flooding or otherwise saw water enter their home are encouraged to take precautions when returning home. Homeowners should ensure no hazardous chemicals entered the home, and have a licensed electrician check their electrical systems to ensure it does not present a hazard.