28 August 2011
by Bridgette P. LaVictoire
Much of Vermont is underwater tonight as Hurricane Irene heads towards Canada. The now Tropical Storm has brought a lot of damage and as many as fifteen confirmed fatalities across the country. Currently, in Rutland, Vermont, which is where LezGetReal is headquartered, evacuations are on going to get as many people out of the areas near the Otter Creek as possible. The ironically named Water Street is currently under water. The Otter Creek broke its banks at about 4pm after nearly twenty-four hours worth of rainfall in the city. It began raining in Rutland at about 10pm Saturday night.
Route 7, which goes through Rutland, had both lanes inundated by water at one point, and according to Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin, there is not a single road that has not been damaged or completely destroyed by the flooding.
The Vermont National Guard is currently on the scene to try and get people in low laying areas of Rutland to safety. This is a scene repeated in numerous places across Vermont.
Vermont saw one probable fatality as a young woman was swept down the Deerfield River in Wilmington.
At 2pm, Governor Shumlin held a press conference in which he stated:
“It’s really important that Vermonters take this storm seriously and stay inside. Don’t stand next to rushing water, which is what she and her friend were doing at the time of her disappearance. Understand that we’re dealing with the forces of Mother Nature that don’t usually bless us in Vermont, thankfully. This is a hurricane, and we need to take it– we need to proceed with extraordinary caution and good judgment.”
Reports are that some 35,000 Vermonters are without power. According to WCAX:
Central Vermont Power Service: over 27,000 out
Green Mountain Power: about 3,000 out
Vermont Electrical Co-op: more than 4,700
Washington Electric: just under 1,000
The rain is still coming down. Various schools and businesses are expected to be closed tomorrow. Some, like Goddard College in Plainfield, were lucky in that their most recent residency, the Individualized Bachelor’s of Arts, came to a conclusion on 26 August. It is likely that many people were already on their way home by that point.
Parts of Vermont are still recovering from the floods this spring, and it is being estimated that this could be the worst flooding to hit Vermont since 1927.
With regards to Rutland, City Fire Lieutenant Jim Miles stated that it was “flooding like I’ve never seen; high, fast, way over the banks.” Even during this spring’s flooding, Rutland saw little in the way of impact.
On a personal note, LezGetReal’s headquarters- that is my house- is far enough from the Otter Creek so as to not need to be evacuated, nor have there been any power outages here. However, there has been some flooding in the lower areas of the property and there is about four feet of water in the area that makes up the back yard.