Storm Recovery Efforts Underway after Hurricane Irene

August 29, 2011

BURLINGTON – Vermont officials were preparing to assess the damage from Sunday’s flooding as clean-up and recovery efforts begin Monday.

The extent of damage to roads, bridges, homes and businesses caused by the remnants of Hurricane Irene was unknown but was expected to stretch from one end of Vermont to the other.

As of Monday morning roughly 50,000 Vermont power customers were without service, and officials warned that impassable roads could make restoring electricity to all areas a lengthy process.

Transportation officials reported that some 263 roads had been impacted to varying degrees and several bridges destroyed by the floodwaters; a map of affected roads can be viewed at: http://www.511vt.com/default.asp?area=VT_statewide

Nine Red Cross shelters had been set up around the state and more than two dozen towns had opened their own shelters, but the number of people displaced by the heavy rains and flooding was not immediately available.

In Rutland, some 80 residents of two residential care facilities, the St. Joseph Kervick Residence and the Loretto Home, were temporarily being housed at the Rutland Regional Medical Center.

Patients in some areas of the Vermont State Hospital in Waterbury were relocated within the grounds after flood waters rose into the Vermont State Office Complex next to the Winooski River.

That flooding in Waterbury Village also forced Vermont Emergency Management to relocate the state’s Emergency Operations Center to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s temporary offices in Burlington.

“We were fortunate to have a place that met our technological and logistical needs so close,” Vermont Emergency Operations Center Manager Chris Reinfurt said. “We were able to restore the EOC to operation in a couple of hours.”

FEMA officials, who have been in the state since June helping Vermont recover from heavy rains and flooding earlier this spring, had been working with their state counterparts in the days leading up to Sunday’s heavy rains and were slated to take part in damage assessments.

One fatality in Vermont has been attributed to the storm; police confirmed they had recovered a body from the Deerfield River in Wilmington Sunday evening, where a woman had been washed away by floodwaters earlier and feared drowned.

Officials warned Vermonters to be careful of downed power lines and always assume they are live and report them to authorities. They also cautioned against driving through standing water.

 

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