Irene Sweeps Flooding, Havoc Across Vermont

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(Host) Tropical Storm Irene has swept flooding and destruction across Vermont. One woman is missing and was last seen floating in the Deerfield River.

As VPR’s Ross Sneyd reports, state officials say no one should be on the roads at this hour.

(Sneyd) From the Deerfield Valley in the south to the Champlain Valley in the west, Irene is dropping tremendous amounts of water.

And the water is jumping its banks, undermining roads and creating havoc.

Transportation Secretary Brian Searles says Vermonters should not head out, even if the rain stops.

(Searles) "Well right now, there isn’t a road in the state of Vermont that’s unaffected by this storm. And we have all of our operations people, our operations people deployed. They’re in triage mode and they’re trying to deal with situations that are coming up so fast, quite frankly, that they’re having a hard time keeping up with them."

(Sneyd) Among the roads that are closed is Interstate 91 between Rockingham and Westminster.

Southern Vermont has been badly hit. Emergency crews have helped evacuate some. And a 21-year-old woman is missing. She was last seen floating away in the Deerfield River.

In Rutland, the state police emergency dispatch center was flooded. Its operations were shifted to Derby.

The storm is moving up the Champlain Valley and Governor Peter Shumlin says it’s still dangerous.

(Shumlin) "We expect further flash flooding. We have roads, bridges, culverts washed out. We have communities isolated by high water. We have 10,000 Vermonters without power. We expect more later on, more trees to fall, more flooding to come."

(Sneyd) Even as the governor spoke, the number of power outages grew – and was likely to go higher.

For VPR New, I’m Ross Sneyd in Waterbury.

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