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article imageWorst flooding in 100 years hits Vermont, thanks to Irene Special

By Lynn Herrmann     Aug 29, 2011 in Environment
Waitsfield - Inland flooding in Vermont, caused by Hurricane Irene, has left towns and communities coping with some of the region's worst flooding in a century as they deal with washed out roads, bridges, stranded residents, and destroyed historic districts.
Vermont, home to some of the country’s most picturesque covered bridges, woke up Monday to discover more than 250 roads were closed, and several of those classic covered bridges gone. Almost 50,000 customers were without electricity, and the state’s infrastructure has suffered “extraordinary” damage.
“This is a really tough battle for us,” said Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin, after surveying the scene in a Monday morning helicopter flight, the New York Times reports. “What you see is farms destroyed, crops destroyed, businesses underwater, houses eroded or swept away and widespread devastation.”
Most of the flooding began occurring Sunday and continuing into early Monday, with the true extent of damages being revealed in Monday’s first light. “We haven’t seen flooding like this, certainly since the early part of the 1900s. The areas that got flooding are in really tough shape,” Shumlin said, according to the AP.
The devastating Flood of 1927 is long-considered Vermont’s greatest natural disaster and Hurricane Irene's toll is still to be determined.
The Mad River, located in central Vermont, is typically one of the most stunning river valleys in all of New England, however, thanks to Hurricane Irene, local residents are dealing with the river’s devastation.
Mike and Sandra Anastos, owners of the Yellow Farmhouse Inn, a B&B located in the heart of the Mad River Valley near Waitsfield, survived Hurricane Irene’s wrath, and on Monday afternoon, Mike took a few moments to speak with Digital Journal about the flood.
“In our location, because the inn sits on higher ground, we made out pretty good. However, the lower part of our property looked like a second Lake Champlain.”
From the front porch of the inn, one usually looks out over a pastoral setting of rolling mountains, farms, and that beautiful river valley, but things were a bit different on Monday. “There were propane tanks, hundreds of hay bales, large trees, all floating down the river. The current was so strong,” Anastos continued.
“Businesses in the Historic area sustained heavy damages, but as of 5pm this evening the area has been cleaned and volunteers are continuing work on getting them back up and running. The covered bridge there is still intact, but early reports indicate it may have moved about four inches,” Anastos told Digital Journal.
A destroyed road in Vermont  due to Hurricane Irene
A destroyed road in Vermont, due to Hurricane Irene
Although Vermont typically does not deal with hurricanes and their associated destruction, Irene delivered a blow many coastal communities in the southeastern US are all too familiar with.
“There’s only one way out of town now, bridges are out everywhere. There’s devastation, but volunteers are everywhere. Every farmer is out with equipment helping with the flood debris. The sense of community is truly remarkable. It’s a joy to see,” Anastos said.
On the upside, Anastos said the hurricane brought no wind with it. As such, Vermont’s famed maple trees have their leaves intact and just around the corner, locals and visitors alike can expect another glorious New England autumn.
Hurricane Irene brought no wind to Vermont and left  leaves of its famed maple trees intact.
Hurricane Irene brought no wind to Vermont and left leaves of its famed maple trees intact.
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