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Vermont's Great Flood of 2023...As It Happened

Updated: Jul 14, 2023

Live coverage of this event has ended.


7/14 7:15pm: A major disaster declaration has been approved by the White House. The long road to recovery is now in full swing.


7/13 8:30pm: A fatality in Barre, Vermont has been confirmed, first casualty of flooding


7/13 9:08am: Thursday morning headlines:


-Boil water advisories remain in effect across Vermont, including Montpelier.

-Cleanup work continues throughout the state.

-Initial infrastructure structure work has begun.

-More rain is expected, additional flash flooding possible Thursday evening and night.

-Severe thunderstorms also possible Thursday evening.


Barre, VT:



7/12 8:55pm: Extensive, significant and catastrophic damage has occurred across Vermont.


This will be a months-long recovery. Some recovery projects will likely stretch years, similar to Irene's recovery in 2011.



7/12 8:06pm: Water has receded in most areas of Vermont with cleanup now underway. A round of severe thunderstorms in possible Thursday with more flash flooding likely.


7/12 8:27am: Flood waters receding, revealing mud, extent of damage.


Photos of Montpelier:

WCAX


7/11 11:19pm: Update on river flooding:


14 gauges remain at flood stage, including 3 at major flood stage. 2 of the major flood gauges are receding (Lamoille at Jeffersonville and Otter Creek at Rutland) and the other is cresting (Winooski at Essex Junction).



Also, drainage into Lake Champlain is expected to result in lake rises up to 1.5 feet by Friday. Despite this, the lake is very unlikely to reach flood stage.


7/11 10:42pm: Flood water is slowly receding from Montpelier.


Crews are looking to begin cleanup work in the city early tomorrow morning.


7/11 9:00pm: Wrightsville Dam update:


From Montpelier city officials:


The Wrightsville Dam water level is beginning to recede and is not anticipated to breach the spillway. In the event of an unlikely release of water, the lower levels of the North Branch River would now be able to accommodate any excess water without causing more damage.


7/11 8:54pm Some towns have begun cleanup work, including Barre.


Over a dozen rescues occurred in Barre overnight last night. The waters have been receding all day, allowing cleanup work to begin.


7/11 8:13pm: Here is New England Storm Center's recap of this storm and rainfall totals:




7/11 4:53pm: The Winooski River at Montpelier is receding and looking to drop below major flood stage imminently. This river is still rising at Essex Junction. Overall, 21 gauges are in flood stage across New England including 6 in major flood stage, all in Vermont


7/11 11:49am: Update from Montpelier Police on Wrightsville dam:


Wrightsville Dam update: 11:30AM

Waters are still rising at the dam and are approaching approximately 1 foot from the spillway.

What does that mean?

Every additional foot of water that goes over the spillway doubles the amount of water entering the City from the dam.

We are seeing a reduction of water in the downtown, Langdon Street and VSECU areas so we have some capacity if we reach some overflow.


7/11 11:21am: From Mike Cannon of Vermont Urban Search and Rescue:


-117 total rescues

-67+ evacuations from homes, buildings and cars

-17 animal rescues

-78 road closures across the state

-Rescues ongoing; some residents remain trapped


7/11 11:11am: More than 100 swift water rescues have been performed across Vermont since Sunday night.


7/11 11:04am: An update on the Wrightsville dam from the Montpelier Police Department:


We are seeing no significant change to the Wrightsville Dam.

We are in regular contact with the Vermont Dam Safety group and will update when we have meaningful information to share.


The attached photo shows the current status.




7/11 10:42am: The Wrightsville dam is approaching capacity, a release of the dam could cause much worse flooding. The dam is reported to be within three feet of capacity, howeverr, rising has slowed.


7/11 8:54am: Rain is pulling away, but the fallout from historic rain and flooding continues (and will continue for some time).



7/11 8:42am: The Lamoille River at Jeffersonville has hit record flood stage. The Winooski River has crested above 2 feet. Irene's levels. Dam releases have been occurring to prevent failures. Montpelier is under up to 5 feet of water.



7/11 3:43am: 6 river gauges in Vermont are currently at major flood stage. Otter Creek at Center Rutland is approaching record flood stage (although rising has slowed considerably just before the record). Winooski River in Montpelier has fallen slightly after reaching 20.88 feet.

Photo of flooding caused by Otter Creek


7/10 11:34pm: Rain is continuing to rotate north out of Vermont and New Hampshire. Steady rain is now coming down across much of Maine.



7/10 11:02pm: At this time, 24 river gauges are in flood stage across New England, including 4 in major flood stage across Vermont


7/10 10:53pm: Earlier today, there was an unconfirmed report of a fatality in Vermont. This remains unconfirmed. At this time, there have been no deaths nor injuries directly tied to flooding in New England.


7/10 9:15pm: Ludlow, Vermont has been the epicenter of severe flooding. Here's some images from downtown taken earlier today:

Photo credit: Henry Swenson


7/10 8:35pm: The Winooski River at Montpelier has surpassed the level seen during Irene in 2011.


The river is forecast to continue rising.


7/10 8:05pm: Montpelier, Vermont is currently under both a FLASH FLOOD WARNING and RIVER FLOOD WARNING as the Winooski River reaches major flood stage.


Here's a look at downtown Montpelier this evening:

Photo credit: Bill Fraser


7/10 5:57pm: 15 river gauges are currently in flood stage across western New England.


At least 4 gauges are expected to reach MAJOR flood stage.



7/10 5:50pm: Scenes like the ones below can be found across Vermont this evening.



7/10 3:51pm: Moretown Fire Department is going door to door to evacuate residents as the Mad River is forecast to hit MAJOR flood stage tonight.


7/10 3:45pm: As we move into this evening, the primary flood threat will shift from flash flooding to river flooding.


4 rivers in Vermont are currently forecast to crest at MAJOR flood stage, including the Winooski River




7/10 2:15pm: Nearly all of New England (Maine is in the clear for now) is littered with flood alerts.


7/10 11:42am: FLASH FLOOD WARNINGS are being extended across northern Vermont.


The National Weather Service has stated that more FLASH FLOOD EMERGENCIES could be issued as the day progresses.


7/10 11:27am: Officials have announced an UNCONFIRMED fatality in Vermont. The area has not been searched thoroughly enough to confirm anything.


7/10 11:22am: Several agencies have been confirmed to be actively performing rescues and searches across Vermont.


7/10 11:20am: Vermont flooding runoff is becoming very serious.


This storm has officially drawn comparisons to Irene in 2011.

Photos from Vermont State Police


7/10 11:00am: While major flooding continues in Vermont, a line of very heavy downpours has prompted a FLOOD WARNING in eastern Connecticut and Rhode Island. This line is moving north-northeast.



7/10 10:15am: Here's a list of major routes across Vermont experiencing major impacts from today's flooding:



7/10 9:55am: The status of alerts across New England this morning.



7/10 9:20am: As feared yesterday, a flood disaster is developing in Vermont.


Ludlow and Londonderry, Vermont have been hit particularly hard. This situation will continue to escalate today before the storm winds down.


Photo credits: Judy Clough, Shauntay Morsey, Magic Mountain Ski Area, Pat Moore/Tyler Jankoski



7/10 7:40am: Status of flood alerts across New England at this time



7/10 7:30am: A FLASH FLOOD EMERGENCY is in effect for WESTON, LUDLOW, ANDOVER AND BRIDGEWATER, Vermont. This is a rare and dangerous alert from the National Weather Service.


7/10 7:06am: Southern Vermont has received the most rain thus far, with over 3 inches having fallen in a span of a couple hours. Here's some early morning headlines:


-Plymouth, VT has reported to be cut off from all routes.

-A swift water rescue of 10 people from a camp occurred overnight near Andover, VT

-A break from widespread heavy rain is expected this morning before another round of downpours and storms move into Vermont

-Steady rain will spread further east into New England as the day rolls on


7/10 3:16am: "Life threatening" flash flooding is occurring in Vermont as Flash Flood Warnings expand. The National Weather Service states:


"Life threatening flash flooding of creeks and streams, urban areas, highways, streets and underpasses."

7/10 12:25am: A Flash Flood Warning has been issued for northeast Vermont until 5:30am. Up to 4 inches have fallen.


Also, Charlotte, North Carolina has deployed units to Vermont to assist with expected flooding.


7/9 11:15pm: There has been a relative lull in very heavy rain over the past hour or so. There are no active Flash Flood Warnings in effect as of 11:15pm.


Rain is still coming down steadily across areas of the region and rain is expected to fill back in after midnight.




7/9 10:37pm: Southwest New Hampshire has bore the brunt of this early phase of the storm.


A flood warning remains in effect until 3:45am in a line extending northeast from the NH-MA-VT tri-point to Merrimack County. Up to 5 inches of rain fell over the past couple hours. Numerous road washouts have been reported, including New Hampshire routes 10 (in Swanzey) and 31 (in Washington).


7/9 8:36pm: Significant road damage has already occurred in New Hampshire


Route 10 in Winchester has experienced major damage (photo below). There have been a number of washouts reported across the town. A shelter has opened in the town. A FLASH FLOOD WARNING remains in effect for the area.

Photo credit: WMUR

7/9 6:19pm: The Weather Prediction Center has placed northern Vermont into the "HIGH" category for excessive rainfall. This is the highest level of alert.



7/9 6:00pm: The National Weather Service of Burlington has a stark warning for the state. They write:


"Expect significant to potentially catastrophic widespread flash flooding through Monday evening, with possible impacts not seen since Irene."

7/9 5:50pm: A look at current alerts across New England. Flood alerts will continue to be issued all night.





7/9 4:24pm: Rain and thunderstorms continue to fill in, a Flash Flood Warning has been issued for Hardwick, Wolcott and Woodbury, VT until 7:30pm. Flash Flood Warnings will continue to be issued across Vermont all night long.



7/9 2:30pm: Flash Flood Warnings are in effect for Litchfield County, Connecticut until 5:30pm and Cheshire County, New Hampshire until 5:15pm. A Severe Thunderstorm Warning is in effect just north of Burlington, Vermont.


Rain continues to slowly fill in across western New England.



7/9 2:15pm: Here's a look at alerts and expected rainfall coming into this storm:


You've reached the beginning of this storm's live updates



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