Monday, July 20, 2015

Pretty Nasty Flash Flood In Vermont Sunday

Flooding in downtown Barre last night. Photo by
Linda Willey-Campbell, via NECN.  
Reports are coming in of some pretty nasty flash flooding in parts of Vermont from Sunday's outbreak of severe storms.

As anticipated, the storms produced torrential rains. In the evening the storms seemed to focus on parts of east central and northeastern Vermont, and the result was some dangerous flash flooding.

The city of Barre took it on the chin, big time. For the second time in just four years, masses of water swept through some of the city's streets, flooding them with fast flowing water up to three feet deep.

There are no initial reports of injuries from the flooding but it had to be terrifying for people in homes that were suddenly in the midst of raging rivers. It was no doubt difficult to reach people trapped in building with the flash flooding around them.

Television station WCAX reported that people in houses surrounded by water were told to shelter in place Sunday evening. He said people inside flooded houses were told to call the city's public safety department or move up higher in the building.

Colchester Technical Rescue and Stowe Technical Rescue were called in to help people out of the flooded houses. Some people were evacuated to Barre Auditorium, which opened Sunday night as an emergency shelter, according to Vermont Public Radio, quoting an Vermont Emergency Management official.

Police and fire departments worked to keep people away from streets and roads that were under water. That included the heavily traveled and developed Barre-Montpelier Road.

The storms ended late last night, and as is the case with most flash floods, the water quickly receded by dawn, leaving a mess in its place.

Brief video footage on social media shows bulldozers trying to clear mud and muck from North Main Street and other normally busy areas of Barre as the sun rose this morning.
Television station WVNY posted this photo
on social ,media this morning showing bulldozers
trying to clear mud and debris from downtown
Barre, Vermont after flash flooding last night.  

What's especially troubling about this flood is it seems almost identical to a May, 2011 flood there that damaged a number of homes and businesses. 

These same homes and businesses are affected again, and I'm not sure most of these people recovered financially and otherwise from the previoius flood.

Other flash flood damage was reported around East Montpelier, Hardwick and Plainfield, Vermont, where at least one bridge was washed out.

Sections of some roads in eastern and central Vermont were still closed or down to one lane as of the morning rush hour Monday.

The storms were part of an outbreak of severe weather that brought hail up to the size of tennis balls in New Hampshire. Scattered reports of quarter sized hail and trees and wires down from high winds.

In Claremont, New Hampshire, a man was killed when a tree fell on a car he was driving during the storm, the Manchester Union Leader reports. 

In Hoosic Falls, New York, near the Vermont border, strong thunderstorm winds toppled a tree onto a moving car, injuring one person.

As is typical with these storms and flash floods, it was kind of hit and miss. While Barre was drowning, Burlington, Vermont only received 0.11 inches of rain from the storms.

After a break today, more showers and storms are forecast in Vermont and te rest of New England Tuesday, but the rain with those isn't expected to be nearly as torrential as the stuff we got Sunday.

From Route 62 down to the public safety building, depending on where you are, the road is underwater. Anywhere from 6 inches to close to 3 feet. We have officers on Berlin St turning people around, Berlin Police turning people around on the Barre Montpelier Rd., really just trying to get people to avoid those areas. People that are in their residences please stay in place, if there is an issue with water, call the Public Safety Dept. and move higher up in the building. And the water is moving very fast, we caution people to stay away from the fast water - when I went thru - it was 10 or 15 knots at least if not faster." said Chief Tim Bombardier of the Barre Police Dept.

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