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Vermont Flood Recovery: One Month Later

It's been one month since a historic storm dropped over nine inches of rain on parts of Vermont and killed at least two people across the state. On top of this, several more flooding events have moved through Vermont and New England since mid-July's disaster. Here's a look at some of the progress that has been made since this extraordinary storm struck.

Volunteers clean up near the Winooski River on July 12. Photo: Charles Krupa/AP

Shortly after the flooding, state routes were closed in over 80 places across the state. As of August 8th, four state routes remain closed and another seven remain only partially open, according to Secretary of Transportation Joe Flynn. The state has completed 20 miles of new paving and installed 7,000 feet worth of new guard rails.

The agency has identified over 1,100 sites of damage on state-maintained roads and bridges and 826 damaged culverts. The Lamoille Valley Rail Trail (the longest in New England at 93 miles) has partially reopened. Roughly half of the trail is now open, but the trail likely won't be fully repaired until next year. This rail trail broke ground in 2013 and an official grand-opening celebration was slated for July 15th.

Just one month after the floods, and thanks to set backs from more rain events, the state is very much still in cleanup mode. Over 4,400 tons of debris has been removed as of August 8th. Commissioner of Public Safety Jen Morrison says debris removal remains a top priority for the state. A hazardous materials collection site remains open at 1078 Route 2 in Middlesex through Saturday.

Large piles of debris line the streets of Montpelier on July 20. Photo: Bob Kinzel/Vermont Public

Governor Phil Scott has announced that a plan will soon be implemented to help disassemble and clear debris from manufactured homes that are a total loss at no cost to the home owners.

FEMA Coordinator Will Roy stated that as of August 8th, over 4,500 Vermont residents have applied for FEMA assistance. Over 11.6 million dollars in financial aid has been dispersed to residents to aid in cleanup, repairs, unemployment and rental assistance.

This week, two FEMA disaster recovery centers closed, one Londonderry and the other in Plainfield. Five other centers remain open in Waterbury, Rutland, Barre, Barton and Springfield.

Last week, Phil Scott appointed a chief recovery officer, Doug Farnham. According to Farnham, he will be coordinating between the different agencies trying to come up with recovery strategies. He will also be working to secure as much federal assistance as possible. Lastly, he'll be working on mitigation strategies for future events over the next five years.

The band Phish will hold two benefit concerts at the end of August. 100 percent of proceeds from the concert and merchandise sales will go into the band's WaterWheel Foundation. This foundation has set up a special flood recovery fund. Phish got their start in Vermont and held a similar benefit after Irene in 2011.

The two shows will be August 25th and 26th at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs, New York.

Members of the Boston Bruins traveled north to volunteer on Monday, August 7th. Players worked in Barre.

Two Vermont breweries have teamed up to release 300 cases of "Flood Relief IPA". The Alchemist and Hill Farmstead Breweries combined recipes to create the drink. The beer was released on August 4th and sold out by August 6th. The total money raised from the cases total $65,000.

The Alchemist had been producing cans of fresh water to hand out in communities that have experienced significant water supply contamination.

It's been a summer of flooding for Vermont and New England as a whole as storms now spill into August.



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