Shumlin Says Vermont Will Help States Hit By Sandy

10/30/12 5:50PM By John Dillon
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VPR/Toby Talbot
Gov. Peter Shumlin, left, jokes with Scott Whittier of the National Weather Service during a news conference on Tuesday in Waterbury. Shumlin says he and other officials are grateful the state escaped passage of Superstorm Sandy without significant damage

Governor Peter Shumlin says Vermont was well-prepared for the worst but was spared the full wrath of Hurricane Sandy.

Shumlin was one of many state officials who were obviously relieved that the state dodged the extremely high winds and massive power outages that Sandy brought to the mid-Atlantic coast. The governor says the state's attention can now turn to helping others disrupted by the storm.

"We're grateful that we are where we are without more significant damage. We are obviously extremely sympathetic and empathetic having survived Irene and other storms to our neighbors to the south," he says. "And we're going to be offering them all the help that they deserve."

The help will include utility line crews and two National Guard Blackhawk helicopters that will be dispatched to New Jersey.

Shumlin said the state didn't over-react in preparing for Sandy, because weather forecasters had predicted higher winds that could down trees and power lines.

Sandy came just 14 months after Tropical Storm Irene devastated the state. Shumlin said Vermonters learned the lessons from that storm.

"If we learned anything from Irene it's this: Be prepared, make the plans, check the boxes. Make sure that you have done everything you can to be ready for disaster," he says. "And, you know, everyone else saw the same forecast I did. The fact that we dodged the bullet on this one is extremely good news. But we could be in the same situation as New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania are right now."

While those states struggled to dig out from Sandy, Vermont planned to close its emergency management center Tuesday afternoon. Utility officials said about 7,000 customers remained without power, but that service was expected to be restored within 24 hours.

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