Catastrophic Damage in Vermont From Irene - NECN

Catastrophic Damage in Vermont From Irene



    (NECN: Josh Brogadir: Quechee, Vt.) - There was a road here, connected by a covered bridge. The bridge is still standing around the corner, and work to rebuild this road has already begun. When you consider the vast undertaking, this just one of dozens around the state.

    "The water level was up to here," said Simon Pearce, whose legendary glass blowing mill is known around the world, and Irene took dead aim, trying to knock it off its perch in Quechee in this small corner of central Vermont.

    The first floor is gone, the prep kitchen, glass blowing operations destroyed, though the glass furnace remains.

    "And when I bought it, 30 years ago, I based everything on the worst flood which was 1927. And this flood was so much bigger than 1927," Pearce said.

    Next door at the Parker House Bed and Breakfast, owner Adam Adler is salvaging what he can of his basement - and restaurant's kitchen.

    "And the local community's just been outstanding. And we'll get back on our feet," Adler said.

    This is Quechee Green Park, not much green left here now. The grass is covered with mud and rocks, with trees that were knocked down. Even this lamp post, tossed to the ground by the power of the water.

    We followed the path of the river and saw damage around every turn.

    In Taftsville, a hydroelectric plant was pummeled, doors knocked in, lines down.

    In Woodstock, here's a look during the height of the storm - and then after the waters receded - the aftermath and cleanup - at the Vermont Standard newspaper office - and Woodstock Farmers' Market.

    Across the river in West Woodstock, a babbling brook overwhelmed a road, carving its way through - and a mobile home park was shifted - literally - by rushing water.

    A cold start to this morning reminded us that the leaves will soon start to turn - the essential foliage that makes fall in Vermont.

    For Simon Pearce and other business owners, these next two months are the busiest of the year. As of now, there are no roads and bridges for tourists' dollars to get to many of the Green Mountain State's treasured places.

    "This is the third biggest tourist attraction in the state in number of people who come to it in foliage. And it's really questionable how much we'll be here and open by then," Pearce said.

    Some perspective: This time of year, locals say there is normally a trickle coming over the falls. And here it is two days after Irene, and the surging water continues to flow.