The Tumult of the Tempest

Although Irene weakened to tropical storm levels before hitting Vermont, she caused great devastation. I’ve been disheartened by reports of historic or beautiful and significant buildings and bridges being washed out by the floods. Many are still without power and are unable to travel because the roads are washed out. Some have lost their homes or businesses, and they face great challenges in the days ahead. Farmers have lost crops, and I’m sure the entire state will take a hit during the upcoming leaf-peeping season, if tourists aren’t able to travel to the towns and if businesses aren’t open. I’m especially saddened by the news of the lives lost to the raging rivers and I pray for the families.

I’ve collected some of the news footage and most dramatic before and after shots that I could find, to give you an idea of the trouble our beautiful little state is in.

Photo Galleries:

The Burlington Free Press has a couple of photo galleries with excellent professional and reader-submitted shots of the damage from a variety of locations around the state.

News Articles:

Here are links to several Burlington Free Press articles that I found helpful:

  1. From Waterbury to Wilmington, Vermonters’ shocked by Irene’s destruction
  2. Vermont devastation widespread, 3 confirmed dead, 1 man missing
  3. Vermont’s covered bridges take a hit from Irene
  4. Waterbury hit hard
  5. Chittenden County spared the bulk of Irene’s wrath, but Richmond takes a hit

This! blog collects articles, pictures and videos from around the state.

This webpage details ways you can give to help those affected by the storm.

TV Coverage:

  1. Governor Peter Shumlin was interviewed on CNN on Monday. Here he gives an overview of the damage throughout the state and here he offers an initial assessment of the storm. I appreciate that he refused to place blame on anyone, when it seemed like the reporter was trying to get him to say something negative.
  2. Gary Tuchman of Anderson Cooper 360 reported from Williston, Vermont and there’s good footage of Quechee and other locations in Southern Vermont.
  3. WCAX coverage of Hartford and surrounding towns: Quechee ravaged by floodwaters


Several covered bridges were lost or damaged in the flooding. CNN posted an edited version of the video of the Bartonsville Bridge as it was swept away by the raging river.

Bartonsville Bridge before:

Bartonsville Bridge after:

Quechee Bridge before:

Quechee Bridge during storm:

Quechee Bridge after:

Simon Pearce Restaurant (this picture was posted on facebook):

The Force of the Flood

On Sunday afternoon, August 28, 2011, Tropical Storm Irene hit Vermont. From what I’ve heard and read, most of the damage came from rivers flooding, spilling over their banks and washing away bridges, roads, and buildings. The Huntington River runs behind our house and was higher than I have ever seen it. Normally, you can’t see the river from our house, because of the deep riverbank, but yesterday, I could see the brown rapids from an upstairs window.

I could also see the river from a window at the back of the house. Again, you normally can’t see the river until you step down the bank.

My mom and I decided to walk around to see how high the river was. Here’s a video from the edge of our property looking down on the river, which in this video is just a few feet away.

Here’s a video from the same spot on the following day. In this video you can see the river bank that was previously under water. The bank has eroded from underneath the trees nearest the river; I’m somewhat surprised they didn’t fall during the storm, but we had more rainfall than wind.

This is a video of the swimming hole behind our house. Notice that the river is touching the lowest branches of the tree to the right, and there’s a river running down the mountain, joining the main river–that river normally is not there.

On Monday, I went back down to the river to take some comparison shots. The river was still higher than normal, but had decreased by several feet in height. Here’s a picture of the tree that was touching the water.

These are pictures of the riverbank and rocks that were completely covered by the river on Sunday.

We walked up the road to a bridge and were again shocked to see the river so high, overflowing the rocky banks and approaching the level of the bridge.

Here are a couple of comparison shots from Monday, so you can see the drastic change. On Sunday, the rocks were completely covered and little of the bridge wall was visible.

Here’s a video from the other side of the bridge on Sunday, followed by a picture on Monday for comparison.

We walked to another bridge; this one seemed in more danger of being damaged by the river, because it’s lower than the one up the road, but thankfully, it was spared.

The firemen patrolled the area, passing by several times an hour all day long; I was impressed with their forethought and careful watch of the flooding.

These pictures were taken the day after the storm.

The character of the river has changed drastically. This picture shows an island of rocks, that has at least doubled with the flood this spring and yesterday. When I was a kid, there was a narrow strip of rocks in the middle of the river, but now the rocks threaten to dam up the river at this point.

Here’s a picture of my mom and me, while we were on our little adventure. I look incredibly dorky, and that jacket was NOT waterproof at all! Mom’s wearing Ben’s old trench coat. We definitely have more snow gear than rain gear!

This picture of me from Monday was taken at the same spot to prove that I don’t always look so ridiculous.

We were without power for about 26 hours; I know some people still don’t have power, so I can’t complain. We stayed pretty cozy with sweatshirts, candlelight, books, my iPod, plenty of water, and a cold chicken dinner.