S. Vt. Evacuations Start, Roads Flood From Irene Rains

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(Host) Tropical storm Irene delivered the first of its one two punches in the form of heavy rains, which overspread our area this morning. 

Emergency management officials say roads are already flooded and evacuations are taking place in parts of the state. 

VPR’s Steve Zind reports.

(Zind) Vermont Emergency management officials say southern Vermont is bearing the brunt of the storm’s impact so far.  Heavy rains have inundated roads and caused washouts in Dover, where the town as opened shelters at Mount Snow and the elementary school.

In Marlboro officials have asked people living on Auger Hole Road to evacuate because of rapidly rising waters. 

And where Routes 100 and 9 intersect near Wilmington the state is taking steps to evacuate residents.  Mike O’Neill is director of Vermont Emergency Management.

(O’Neill) "We’ve got resources of the National Guard and swift water teams en route to those locations and we’re dealing with the situation as it unfolds."

(Zind)   Ahead of the storm, the weather service warned that all major Vermont rivers could flood and O’Neill says emergency management officials are still expecting flooding to be widespread.

(O’Neill) "There’s nothing to believe that we’re going to see any less than what was forecasted."

(Zind) Meteorologist Andrew Loconto at the National Weather Service in Burlington says while the rains have been the story so far, winds are still on the way.

(Loconto) "The winds will be increasing in the next few hours.  Right now the strongest winds we’ve received have generally been 25 miles an hour.  Those will be coming up and we expect the winds to be tropical storm, especially in gusts, certainly by the afternoon." 

(Zind)  As winds pick up, widespread power outages are expected.   

For VPR News, I’m Steve Zind.

(Host) At this hour, Vermont utilities report that more than 12,000 customers have lost power. More outages are expected as the heavier winds arrive in the region.

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