Saturday, May 28, 2011

More Damaging Storms in Vermont

This has been quite a year in Vermont weather. We've always gotten extremes, but this year it's one right after another. Flooding has been happening over and over again for more than a month now.
Menacing storm clouds gather over South
Burlington, Vermont Thursday.

This week, repeated thunderstorms have dumped hail as big as baseballs in the town of Duxbury, prompted rare tornado warnings, caused wind damage, and worst of all, caused some of the worst flash flooding the state has seen. The other night, thunderstorms repeatedly followed state Route 2 northeastward from central Vermont to the northeast corner of the state.

Damage was really bad in many towns, including Vermont's capital city of Montpelier, and St. Johnsbury, and especially Barre. In Barre, almost the whole city was covered in mud after the flood. Some streets had two feet of mud on them.  On the trashed Barre-Montpelier Road, piles of mud cleared from the road line either side of the busy route, like ugly brown snowbanks.
Threatening storm clouds over South Burlington,
Vermont on Thursday.

Hundreds of houses and businesses are damaged. The photos in this post are only a glimpse of what happened.

Today, the bad weather was supposed to wane. But they've extended the flash flood watches. Torrential thunderstorms are supposed to blossom again this afternoon, threatening us with anothe rround of wicked weather.

I'm at once fascinated and horrified by all of this. I like the excitement of big storms, but of course I hate even more intensely that people's lives are upended by all of this. Luckily, nobody has died in the latest round of storms. That's miraculous, considering the worst flooding hit at night, when you're out on the road and can't see what's going on until it's too late.
Chaos after flash flooding Friday in Barre, Vermont. 

This storm had the usual array of disaster idiots, too. In flooded downtown Montpelier, a car zoomed around barricades blocking inundated State Street. The car splashed through for about 200 yards, and stalled. Four beefy young guys got out of the car and pushed it away, somewhere. Morons.

A man crosses a mud caked street in Barre, Vermont

A car is barely visible in flooding
in downtown Montpelier, Vermont Friday.

A small crowd of onlookers laughed at them, for good measure.

In Barre, one street was covered in up to two feet of squishy, soft mud. You couldn't even walk through it, much less drive. One guy tried, but got stuck, naturally. Nobody helped push him out, even though he asked. Because he was an idiot.

But people helped everybody else where needed. Clots of people showed up to rescue merchandise from the rising water in store basements in Montpelier. One guy I met hitchhiked for 45 minutes into Barre to help shovel mud, remove ruined furniture from houses, or do whatever needed to be done.

So, we help each other out, and watch the skies for the inevitable next storm. We wait the storm out, clean out the mess and get ready to do it again. It's becoming a routine now.
These guys drove past barricades on flooded State Street
in Montpelier, Vermont Friday. The car stalled, and
they had to push it out of the water. Morons. 

And we count our blessings. It's bad, but not nearly as awful as disasters like that tornado in Joplin, Missouri. Survivor's guilt, I guess.


  1. Great pictures, thank you, lived in Barre for many many years, never saw mud like that on the streets. Wow!

  2. I've lived here most of my 58 years and cannot recall anything like this. We've had floods before, but this is incredible...