(NECN: Jack Thurston, Waterbury, Vt.) - It seems the state of Vermont can't catch a break from damaging rain. After seemingly relentless storms this week that drove the state's rainfall total past the seven-inch mark for the month, a flood watch is now in place. Several inches of additional rain are predicted to fall in some places Thursday night into Friday, and into the weekend.
An emergency command center will stay open Thursday night at the Waterbury headquarters of the Vt. Public Safety Dept., said Gov. Peter Shumlin, D-Vt. The center will give a place for Vermont's Emergency Management Dept. to be able to monitor the situation around the state and react to possibly dangerous situations.
In towns like Jericho, the race was on Thursday. Crews scrambled to fill gaping holes that opened up in roads in recent storms, including on the Governor Peck Road. The teams worried that without at least quick fixes, several inches of additional rain could further tear apart pavement and the earth beneath it. "Right now the biggest thing is trucks," said excavation contractor Willie McNulty. "There's not enough dump trucks to go around for everybody."
Across much of the state, the ground is already saturated. There's no place for more water to go, but it keeps falling. "I've had enough of the rain," sighed Brad Woods of Barre. "I think we all have."
Woods knows the problem all too well. In May, 2011, after weather conditions very similar to this week's, his street, Harrington Ave., was socked by vicious flash flooding. "We're trying not to flood again," he told New England Cable News. "That's what we're hoping for."
Mayor Thom Lauzon of Barre said the city has cleaned storm drains to prepare for several inches of fresh rainfall. He also warned people about the possibility of property damage like basement flooding. If the rivers rise rapidly, and if needed, Lauzon promised the city will be ready to help evacuate homes.
"I'm not trying to be an alarmist, but I'm trying to be a realist," Lauzon said. "And I'm trying to simply prepare people for the possibility that with the ground saturation at 100-percent in 90-percent of our state, we could be facing some localized or scattered flooding."
Gov. Shumlin asked Vermonters to use common sense Thursday night and Friday morning, should the weather worsen. Shumlin urged citizens to not drive over flooded roads, to keep their speeds down in downpours, and prepare for possible power outages. Shumlin used the old adage, "Prepare for the worst, even as we hope for the best."