Guard helps to prepare Montpelier for flooding

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(Host) The city of Montpelier’s long-dormant alarm siren sounded today in a test in case it’s needed to alert downtown residents and merchants to flooding.

With melting ice on the Winooski River, warmer temperatures and rain in the forecast, officials are continuing to prepare for the possibility of flooding.

Today the Vermont National Guard began pitching in.

Lieutenant Colonel Dan Pipes of Fairfield was among the Army Guard members who assembled at the Montpelier Public Works garage.

(Pipes) “We’ve got a very straightforward mission. We are filling sandbags and delivering them to points that have been designated by the state and the city for drop off, essentially collection points for sandbags. We can do probably three or four hundred an hour – the machine will do 250, then we’ve got the old-fashioned shovels and soldiers loading bags as needed.”

(Host) Pipes says thousands of sandbags will be filled and hauled downtown in two large specially outfitted trucks.

Governor Jim Douglas has authorized the mobilization of 18 to 20 guard members to help assemble and distribute the sandbags.

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