Storm drenches Vt. and more to come
Staff and Wire reports | June 27,2013
Photo by Adam Caira
Berlin and Northfield rescue teams work to save Katey Hough, 18, from a flood-swollen Dog River in Northfield on Friday evening. She was swept away while swimming, and escaped with only abrasions. More rain is expected to soak the state through early next week.
Heavy rains fell Wednesday on much of Vermont, where a series of storms have left the ground soaked and vulnerable to flooding — and one young swimmer was very lucky after being swept away.
Still more rain is expected this week.
In Northfield, 18-year-old Katey Hough was rescued from the fast-moving Dog River. She was swimming with her husband, Charles Hough III, and brother, Will Dickinson, when she was swept about 1,000 feet down-river. Hough suffered abrasions and was taken to Central Vermont Hospital in Berlin for treatment.
Hough’s husband called 911 and she was pulled safely from the river by Berlin Rescue and Northfield Rescue at about 7 p.m., a witness said.
In Rutland, residents and officials are bracing for rising water levels.
Mayor Christopher Louras said Wednesday that after multiple conferences with Vermont Emergency Management, he is asking residents to be wary of potential flood hazards.
Louras said city residents should expect a lot of rain, stay away from moving water in roads and try to clean out any potentially clogged storm drains they might spot.
“That’s our priority for the time being,” Louras said. “The crews will be out tomorrow all day, making sure they’re clear. ... As bad as it is in the fall, when the leaves are dead, it’s nothing compared to these green leaves. They do not wash down.”
Elsewhere in Vermont, road crews worked to repair washed-out roads in parts of Chittenden County, including a section of southbound Interstate 89 between Richmond and Williston.
The extended forecast calls for rain through at least Tuesday and saturated soils and rivers may be unable to absorb more water.
“We don’t want to raise the alarm that we’re going to have flooding, but we’re always ready,” said Vermont Emergency Management spokesman Mark Bosma.
As of Tuesday, Burlington had received 7.26 inches of rain this month, more than four inches above what’s normal through June 25.
The ongoing rain is being caused by a stagnant weather pattern that’s keeping low pressure over the eastern United States, said National Weather Service meteorologist Kimberly McMahon.
“It’s basically just stuck over us for a while,” McMahon said.
For Green Mountain Power, the state’s largest electricity provider, crews have bounced from one power failure to the next to restore service to customers who lost it during violent storms.
High winds, soggy ground and intense lightening could continue the threat of widespread power failures over the next few days, said spokeswoman Dorothy Schnure.
She said the regular violent storms that have hit the state over the past five days fit the expected profile of more intense weather caused by climate change.
“We talk about how the weather is changing and it makes a difference how we plan for things,” Schnure said.
While they don’t have statistics, no GMP employees remember seeing a similar weather pattern move across the state, Schnure said.
“It is really unusual to have for this long a potential for damaging storms,” she said. “People who’ve been around here for a long time aren’t recalling something like this.”
— Rutland Herald reporter Gordon Dritschilo, Times Argus photographer Adam Caira and the Associated Press contributed to this story.