A storm that left up to two months’ worth of rain in Vermont and saturated other parts of the United States’ Northeast was moving out Tuesday, but more flooding was expected after already cutting off access to some communities, including the main approach to Vermont’s state capital.
There have been no reports of injuries or deaths related to the Vermont flooding, according to emergency officials. But dozens of roads were closed, including many along the spine of the Green Mountains. And the National Weather Service issued flash flood warnings and advisories for much of the state from the Massachusetts line north to the Canadian border.
The slow-moving storm reached New England after hitting parts of Connecticut and New York, where one person died as she was trying to leave her home during flash flooding, on Sunday.
President Joe Biden, who is in Vilnius, Lithuania, attending the annual NATO summit, declared an emergency in Vermont and authorised the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help coordinate disaster relief efforts and provide assistance.
Flooding affected Montpelier, the Vermont state capital. Interstate 89, a major highway, was closed in both directions between Montpelier and Middlesex, north of Montpelier.
Montpelier Town Manager Bill Fraser warned that the Wrightsville Dam several miles to the north on the North Branch of the Winooski River could exceed capacity. That has never happened before.
“There would be a large amount of water coming into Montpelier, which would drastically add to the existing flood damage,” he said, adding that there are very few evacuation options remaining.
“People in at-risk areas may wish to go to upper floors in their houses.”
The city has asked for swift water rescue crews to be moved into the area to assist when possible. Crews from North Carolina, Michigan and Connecticut were among those helping to get to Vermont towns on Monday that had been unreachable since torrents of rain began belting the state.
Mike Cannon, a coordinator with Vermont’s Urban Search and Rescue programme, told reporters on Tuesday that 117 rescues had been made since the extreme weather struck. A further 67 people and 17 animals had been evacuated.
People in New York and Connecticut were cleaning up from earlier rain. The National Weather Service in Burlington said rain in the northern part of Vermont was expected to lessen Tuesday, but more rain was in the forecast for Thursday.
One of the worst-hit places was New York’s Hudson Valley, where a woman identified by police as Pamela Nugent, 43, died as she tried to escape her flooded home with her dog in the hamlet of Fort Montgomery.