Lake Champlain Continues Rising

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(Host) Lake Champlain reached 102.7 feet today, the highest level ever recorded.

Low-lying roads are closed due to flooding and some houses and camps are dealing with flooded basements and first floors.

VPR’s Melody Bodette checked out the scene in Burlington.

(Hear train)

(Bodette) Lake Champlain has gotten a lot bigger the past few days as it spreads beyond its shores. The water’s edge has spread dozens of feet inland in Burlington, inundating the ferry dock and a city pier. Peter Gillespie of Essex says he’s never seen it so high.

(Gillespie) "This is definitely higher than the last few times I’ve been down here in the flood stage. They haven’t got much more to go before the railroad is underwater." 

(Worker) "Okay, well I’m soaked I may as well just finish this out. We’re just trying to barricade this off but the barricades are in the shed which is underwater…"

(Bodette) Workers set up barricades to keep cars out. Farther north, about a dozen families from a lakefront neighborhood known as North Cove have had to evacuate and they’re being helped by the Red Cross.

(Splashing through water)

(Bodette) Tor Bortz has lived in this low-lying neighborhood at the mouth of the Winooski River for 20 years.

(Bortz) "I feel bad for all the people who have it way worse than we do. I’ve got water getting ready to come up into my barn and I’m a woodworker, and hence I have a ton of stuff in there that we’re trying to get off the floor so when it comes in, I don’t lose any hardwood."

(Bodette) The neighborhood is divided by a causeway where the city bike path now runs. On one side, the houses are standing in several feet of water.

(Bortz) "These guys got pumps going, and Maria’s got a pump going over there. A lot of people on the other side have just plain moved out because they’ve got water up into floors."

(Bortz) How you doing Christine?

(Bodette) Christine Auer Hebert owns the Auer Family Boathouse with her brother and she’s walking up the bike path in floral-patterned boots.

(Hebert) "We’re going to have a look at it. We’re surrounded. I don’t know if it’s in or not. My brother said it was right up to the door.  It’s never, ever been like this. I’ve been here all my life, 83 years. And it’s never been like this. This is so bad.  The wind’s going to affect us. Without the winds, we’ll be alright, but the wind’s going to raise Cain".

(Bodette) Hebert pauses when she sees the red wooden two story building.

(Hebert) "See this is where our land starts here. See we’ve got a cement wall it’s all over the wall, as you can see the wall is just about sticking up."

(Bodette) Hebert has spent all of her summers here. It’s where her family has rented boats to summer visitors for years. It’s also where family heirlooms are stored. Now, driftwood is all around, and a propane tank is almost covered in water:

(Hebert) My brother told me yesterday it was into the door. And of course we’ve got mama’s pianos from silent movies you know. And you don’t want anything to happen to that stuff they’re all keepsakes.

(Bodette) At first she says they’re too old for the clean-up, and she doesn’t know if the boathouse has flood insurance. But she changes her mind as neighbors stop by to say hello:

(Hebert) "It’s our friends, and the customers they’re just great, they come down and help my brother all the time, we’ve had all kinds of telephone calls".

(Bodette) And everyone is hoping the water stops rising.

For VPR News, I’m Melody Bodette in Burlington.

Real time Lake Champlain data

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