The National Weather Service is predicting major flooding in downtown Montpelier tonight. The Winooski River is expected to crest to a height of 19.8 feet by midnight tonight and remain high for several hours. Flooding is expected to be similar to or worse than the flooding Vermont experienced during the storm on May 11, 2011 and Tropical Storm Irene in August 2011, according to a statement from the city of Montpelier released this afternoon.
The release went on to say that the most significant flooding will take place on State Street near the Bailey Avenue Bridge and Montpelier High School.
Flood watches and closed road announcements have been coming in rapidly throughout the day as non-stop heavy rains have caused flash flooding throughout Vermont. Road closures and high water has been reported on Interstate 89 north of Exit 8, and in Berlin between Slayton Avenue and Weston Street as well as Chase Road. The Waterbury Park and Ride is closed because of high water, and parts of Route 12 in Worcester at Ledge Road and north of Mill Road near Tavern Farm are closed because of flooding. U.S. 2 between Lower Sunny Brook Road and Cross Road in Middlesex was closed because of high water for part of the day, but reopened by 12:50 p.m.
“Serious, life-threatening flooding is occurring today across much of Vermont. Emergency crews have conducted rescues in multiple communities. About two dozen state roads are closed as of 10 a.m. Flash flood warnings are in effect from the Massachusetts line to the Canadian border,” the Vermont State Police posted on its Twitter account July 10.
This afternoon, the Winooski River is expected to reach 15 feet, the city’s release said, calling it the “bankfull stage,” this afternoon, at which time Bailey Avenue and parts of U.S. routes 2 and 302 will be flooded. Water has already flooded into some of Montpelier’s lowest points near 60 State Street.
The city has set up an emergency operations center at the Barre Auditorium, according to an email from Katie Trautz, executive director of Montpelier Alive.
“We should be prepared for downtown flooding of over two feet, prepare your shops by keeping things off the floor. All cars OFF THE STREETS by mid-afternoon,” Trautz said.
The city urges community members to take precautionary measures in anticipation of major flooding in low-lying areas near the Winooski and North Branch rivers.
“Consider moving your vehicle and any important possessions to higher ground away from the river and the downtown if you can do so safely. Do not drive through standing or running water if you cannot visibly see the road,” the release stated.
Barre City Emergency Center
According to a press release from the City of Barre: The State has activated the Municipal Auditorium (20 Auditorium Hill, Barre, VT) as an emergency evacuation shelter. It is expected to be open between 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. this afternoon. The shelter will be operated by the Red Cross.
Barre residents in flood prone areas are encouraged to use it as a safe space until the storms subside. River levels have been rising and we are closely monitoring areas prone to flooding around the City. City emergency services are fully staffed and we have deployed resources to close streets if necessary. Currently, there are no evacuation orders.
Residents are urged to:
Call 911 if you are in a life-threatening situation;
Stay off roads if possible;
Record and document any property damage with pictures and by calling
Call Green Mountain Power at (888) 835-4672 if you have lost power in
Call 911 if you notice branches or limbs obstructing traffic; and
Call Barre City Dispatch at (802) 476-6613 if you experience or witness
significant increases in water levels.
Please check the Barre City Facebook page (@BarreCityVT) or website (https://www.barrecity.org/) for continuing updates.
To receive important emergency updates, sign up for VT-Alert at vem.vermont.gov/vtalert.