Tuesday, August 30, 2011


yeah, my house is fine, and my road is fine.

my town roads are also fine. the water is going down.

one town south of me it's a different story; school can't start until next week, because they have no way to run the busses.

the thing about vermont, in case you don't know our geography, is that we are a small state with a mountain range running right down the center of it. our border with new hampshire is a river, and our border with new york is a big honkin' lake.

in order to get from one side of the state to the other, you have to go through the mountain passes. mountain passes are where the floodwater runs.

so along the winooski river (which goes through my town) there was a lot of flooding, but the winooski is wide and pretty close to sea level.

the deerfield river, on the other hand, goes through the mountains and after two weeks of rain when all of a sudden one afternoon the sky opens up and pours fourteen inches of rain into already filled catchments and saturated ground, what happens is that all that water simply flows downhill.

it takes everything in its path with it.

many of our precious historic covered bridges are now simply gone. many of our picturesque towns are destroyed.

tonight we hope to have access to what we're calling "the thirteen isolated communities"; these are towns that since sunday have had no land access at all and have had to have food and water and medical needs carried by helicopter. and you have to understand that there are a LOT of towns where there isn't cell reception. they're just too far into mountain hollows, so when the water came crashing in, a lot of those people had no way to communicate with the outside world. one town not too far from my house was so cut off that yesterday afternoon they sent out a party ON FOOT to bring back water to drink.

when we say we're bringing access to the isolated communities, that means there will be an ATV trail. car travel for some of those towns may be a LONG time coming.

tonight one of the most popular radio shows in the state is one where you can call up and tell people how to get out of towns to places where you can find electricity and hospitals. apparently if you have a couple of hours to burn you can get from dover into brattleboro.

let's be clear here: when there used to be a road that went through, you might go into brattleboro from dover to get a pizza. i know i did.

but route four is GONE in a lot of places, and so is route nine. in some paces they're talking about evacuating people but not bringing them back, because they say it may be years before some of those back those roads are repaired, if ever.

right now as it stands they say the best way to get from any point on the east side of vermont to any point on the west side of vermont is to go down and take the mass pike.  i'm not kidding about this.

CVPS, the largest utility serving that area, says they can't repair the lines that went down, because the land they were on is simply not there anymore. those towns are not getting power until the utility comes in and build new lines from scratch.

there's no water in woodstock. they have a line of porta-potties on main street.

to the good, power crews from as far as texas are working around the clock. road crews from northern towns where there was no damage are going down with their dump trucks. google has been working with the state today to put together some kind of map project so people can see which roads are passable. people with chainsaws are just going out and clearing paths. ATV riders are going into isolated towns by way of snowmobile trails to bring water and supplies. hotels and campgrounds are taking in people for free.

small towns are still small towns, and you may not know your neighbor's name, but he'll still come the couple of miles from his house and clear the road with his chainsaw so you can get out.

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