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‘It Was Crazy:' Vt. Flash Flooding Washes Out Roads, Forces Emergency Rescue

One man needed to be saved from his stranded car, when rising water surrounded the vehicle

Parts of Vermont were hit hard by heavy rain and flash flooding Sunday night into Monday morning, with the southern half of the state particularly impacted.

“Oh it was crazy,” said Herb Kuendig, an emergency management coordinator for the town of Pittsfield, who arranged for contractors to come in Monday to start making initial repairs to washed-out roads.

A fast blast of rain combined with snowmelt created runoff that chewed through many spots across town, including on Liberty Hill Road, Kuendig said.

“It just happened so quickly over the night,” Kuendig added. “No one realized what was going on until the morning.”

Green Mountain Power was making repairs in Stockbridge, after several hundred people in the area were left without service when a rising river knocked out utility poles.

In Killington, firefighters made a swift-water rescue.

A man visiting the resort town from New York for late-season skiing was sleeping in his car, according the Rutland Fire Department, which helped in the rescue. The man woke up to the sound of floodwaters raging around him. He was on the roof of his SUV when rescuers got to him.

Chief Jim Larsen of the Rutland Fire Department said that vehicle is ruined but the skier is just fine.

“He was real happy to see us get him off of that car and into our boat and over to dry land,” Larsen told necn. “We were glad to help.”

Water from a swollen creek in Rutland forced the closure of Post Road, just off busy Route 7, for part of the day. It was just one example of temporary road closures Vermont drivers experienced Monday.

Emergency personnel were reminding drivers “turn around—don’t drown,” telling them not to drive over water-covered roads, since road conditions under the water are uncertain.

Alongside Route 4A in West Rutland, high water swallowed farmland, and roared over a Green Mountain Power hydropower generating plant that the utility said was taken offline because the water was just so ferocious.

In Proctorsville, a village in Cavendish, three feet of runaway river water drowned the community’s ball field and its miniature replica of Fenway Park’s Green Monster, according to Terry O’Brien of the Cavendish Recreation Department.

“I’m hoping, by tomorrow, it will recede,” O’Brien told necn Monday afternoon. “Problem is that a lot of the ground was still frozen when it flooded so it may take a little while to get down.”

The Vermont Emergency Operations Center in Waterbury was open Monday and helping communities in their flood responses.

Mark Bosma of Vermont Emergency Management said staff will stay in touch with flood-affected communities as they shift into recovery mode in the coming days and weeks, to discuss the possibility of qualifying for federal disaster relief funds.

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