Flooding Causes Road Closures Across Vermont

Apr 15, 2019

Drivers across the state had to make alternative plans Monday after a night of heavy rain and snowmelt flooded riverbanks, sending water across the roadways.

Dave Ostrow left his home in Sudbury, Massachusetts, on Monday hoping to take his daughter on a college tour — but Mother Nature had some other plans.

“We’re trying to get to Middlebury College. I’m not sure we can do that today,” Ostrow told Rich Williams, who was diverting traffic for Vermont Agency of Transportation, in Royalton.

“You might not be able to do that from here,” said Williams.

Ostrow and his family discovered that many of the roads that led into and out of the Upper Valley were closed due to high water. After a little consultation with Williams, the family decided to head all the way up to Burlington and then back down into Addison County.

But Ostrow had a pretty good attitude about the new route.

“You know, Vermont is the best state, and it’s worthwhile persevering,” Ostrow said, before turning around and heading on his way.

Rich Williams, from the Vermont Agency of Transportation, diverts traffic near Royalton on Monday.
Credit Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

The National Weather Service said a flood watch would be in effect for much of Vermont through Tuesday morning after up to 2 inches of rain fell in some parts of the state.

On Monday, the VTrans map showed roads and highways closed throughout the Upper Valley, in Rutland County and in the Londonderry area in northern Windham County.

Vermont Emergency Management opened up its Emergency Operations Center in Waterbury early Monday to monitor the flooding. Mark Bosma, spokesman for Vermont Emergency Management, said some buildings in Londonderry were evacuated and there was a swift water rescue in Rutland City.

Bosma said the warm weather this weekend hastened snowmelt, and when the forecast called for heavy rain, state officials prepared for the flooding.

“We were bracing ourselves for the worst, and we had staffing ready to go Sunday night,” Bosma said. “I don’t think this was the worst-case scenario. It’s certainly not the best-case scenario, but it remains to be seen how, you know, bad it actually was — or is.”

Bosma said state and local officials will assess the damage after the water recedes Tuesday.

"We were bracing ourselves for the worst, and we had staffing ready to go Sunday night. I don't think this was the worst-case scenario. It's certainly not the best-case scenario, but it remains to be seen how bad it actually was, or is." — Mark Bosma, Vermont Emergency Management

Phil Bassett lives up on higher ground in Bethel, and he drove down into the valley to take a look at the water. Bassett said he hadn’t seen the White River this high since Tropical Storm Irene.

“This is the worst we’ve seen for a while, since the flood of 2011,” Bassett said. “I’ve never seen it come over this road here. You can obviously see the water was further up in here.”

Many roads remained closed through Monday, and Vermont Emergency Management cautioned drivers from trying to cross the water.

FOR MORE — Video below, from Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets, shows flooding in Moretown: