Heavy Rains Cause Evacuations and Road Closures

06/13/02 12:00AM



(Host) Widespread flooding hit northern Vermont Wednesday as heavy rains forced rivers over their banks and led to the emergency evacuation of several neighborhoods.

The National Guard was called out to help rescue residents of Lyndonville. The Passumpsic River in Lyndonville was expected to crest three feet above flood stage. Ed Von Turkovich is the director of the state's Emergency Management Division:

(Von Turkovich) "The rains we've had over the last day and a half or so really are beginning to cause some problems for our communities. We have had evacuations in town of St. Albans, St. Johnsbury and the town of Lyndon."

(Host) The east and west branches of the Passumpsic River meet in Lyndonville. Earlier today, a trailer park near the river was evacuated. Emergency crews also evacuated residents in Johnson, where the Lamoille River overflowed its banks.

Von Turkovich says that although the rains have slowed, the rivers may continue to rise through the evening:

(Von Turkovich) "Really what we're looking at over the next 12 hours is to just make sure that we monitor the situation closely and make sure we stay in touch with Vermonters and residents from these communities and make sure they stay abreast of the problems that we're experiencing pretty much statewide in some areas."

(Host) The Red Cross has set up a shelter at the Lyndon Town School. Lisa Barrett is the Lyndonville town clerk. She says help from the National Guard will be appreciated.

(Lisa Barrett) "I've never seen it this high¿from where we are, where the municipal office building is, I've had to clean the vault out as a precaution. We've never had to do that before, the water at this building has never been as high."

The Guard will use special high ground clearance vehicles to move people from flooded areas to higher ground.

State police report that a number of state highways are closed in northern Vermont. In Franklin County, Routes 36 in Fairfield, Route 118 in Montgomery and Route 78 in Highgate were blocked by high water. In Lamoille County, Route 108 in Cambridge was closed along with Route 109 in Waterville. In Chittenden County, Route 128 from Essex to Westford was closed. Side roads in Underhill and Cambridge were also impassable.

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