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๐Ÿ”  ๐Ÿ’€  ๐Ÿ“ธ  ๐Ÿ˜ญ  ๐Ÿ•ณ๏ธ  ๐Ÿค   ๐ŸŽฌ  ๐Ÿฅ” posts about Vermont floods 2023

The Flooding in Vermont

Hey folks. I’m sure you’ve read about the heavy rains and the flooding in the Northeast, particularly in New York and Vermont. My town here in central VT did not flood last night (though some area fields may have) and appears to be out of danger but other places around me were not so lucky.

In particular, I’m stunned by the several feet of water that are currently covering Montpelier, the capital of Vermont and a place that I know pretty well. This is a video from late last night and early this morning of someone paddling around downtown Montpelier, surveying the flooding and interviewing locals:

The water is not rushing, just standing, and there is almost no one around โ€” there’s an eerie quiet that’s punctuated by the sounds of alarms going off all around. And there’s just so much water. Here’s a drone view of Montpelier (photo) from this morning:

And the threat isn’t over yet. A nearby dam is close to capacity and if they need to release the water, it could quickly dump much more water into the city (UPDATE: the threat to the dam has thankfully subsided for now):

“This has never happened since the dam was built so there is no precedent for potential damage,” City Manager William Fraser wrote in a statement posted to Montpelier’s Facebook page at 3:53 a.m. “There would be a large amount of water coming into Montpelier which would drastically add to the existing flood damage.”

People who live along the north branch and in downtown Montpelier are at greatest risk, he said. The dam, located on the border of Middlesex and Montpelier, is located about three miles north of the city center.

With “few evacuation options remaining,” Fraser wrote, “People in at risk areas may wish to go to upper floors in their houses.”

I’ve walked those streets a lot. Been to many of those shops. Eaten in those restaurants. Watched dozens of films in those movie theaters. I cannot believe how much water there is. So many people are going to be displaced from their homes for weeks and months. Businesses will be closed for weeks? Months? Some may never reopen. I’m not sure what else to say here.

Other places near here flooded too: Richmond, Waterbury, Moretown, Middlesex. The freeway is closed in some areas and motorists were left stranded. Officials had to evacuate the State Emergency Operations Center in Waterbury.

Towns further south in Vermont got hit too: Londonderry, Weston, Shrewsbury.

One of the things I’ve been doing this morning is trying to figure out why some places (Montpelier) got hit hard while other low-lying areas less than 15-20 miles away didn’t. And I’ve come to the conclusion that water does not give a fuck. Not about logic or human life or property. It just flows where it wants. There’s more rain over here than there is over there โ€” because a butterfly’s wing flapped halfway across the world.

Climate disasters, fueled by large-scale, human-driven changes in the global climate, are becoming more frequent. In the past few weeks in Vermont, we’ve had wildfire smoke from Canada forcing people to stay inside, a heat wave, and now this flooding. And Vermont is a place that is supposedly safer for climate refugees to go. But that’s the thing about a global climate crisis: it’s going to affect absolutely everyone absolutely everywhere.