Biden Declares Emergency Over Vermont Flash Floods

ABC News reports:

U.S. President Joe Biden on Tuesday declared a state of emergency in Vermont, where torrential rainfall has triggered life-threatening flash floods.

The president’s action frees up federal resources to supplement the state and local response efforts as well as authorizing the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate all disaster relief efforts across Vermont.

Many rivers in the Green Mountain State were “expected to crest overnight at flood levels,” according to a joint press release from the Vermont Department of Public Safety and the Vermont Emergency Management.

 Vermont Public Radio reports:

With most evacuation routes closed off and a dam under threat, some Montpelier residents are being urged to seek shelter in the upper levels of their homes this morning.

Around 4 a.m. Tuesday, Montpelier City Manager William Fraser said the Wrightsville Dam only has 6 feet of remaining storage capacity and the waters are still rising. If the waters overtake the dam, the first spillway would release into the North Branch River and “drastically add to the existing flood damage,” Fraser said.

There is no historic precedent for such an event, Fraser said, making it difficult to assess the potential damage. “We are in uncharted territory,” he told Vermont Public.

NPR reports:

Brendan McNamara, the town manager for Ludlow, Vt., said the rivers began flowing over their banks early Monday morning, and that there was catastrophic damage to Okemo, a southern Vermont resort town.

“The total scope of what kind of damage that has occurred in Ludlow – the onion isn’t even peeled back at all right now,” he said. “I mean, I’m up and down Main Street because that’s what we can access and it is not good.”

Neighborhoods in Vermont towns including Londonderry and Weston were inaccessible, and rescue teams tried to gain access to continue welfare checks.