Heavy rains produce major floods in Vermont, New York and other parts of the Northeast
Heavy rains that swept across the Northeast earlier this week have given rise to calamitous flooding in parts of New England and New York, killing at least one person, destroying structures and hampering travel.
Parts of Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York were inundated by the storms, and heavy rains have caused rivers to spill over in Vermont, stranding people and washing out roadways.
"Make no mistake — the devastation and flooding we're experiencing across Vermont is historic and catastrophic," Gov. Phil Scott said during a Tuesday morning press conference.
Hours earlier, President Biden approved an emergency declaration for Vermont, freeing up additional federal resources to help in the response and recovery.
The National Weather Service said Tuesday that heavy rains across New England were expected to subside following "multiple days of significant rainfall."
Rivers overflowed across Vermont, where officials said flooding could get worse
On Tuesday, Vermont officials were still assessing the damage caused by flooding and continued to conduct rescues in difficult-to-access areas.
Though the rain had largely stopped and the sun was peeking through the clouds, authorities warned that flooding could continue and even worsen in the hours ahead. More rain was also in the forecast for later in the week.
"We are not out of the woods," Scott said. "This is nowhere near over, and at this phase our primary focus continues to be on life and safety before we can shift into a recovery phase."
Scott noted that floodwaters were still rising in some areas, including the capital Montpelier, and that water levels had surpassed those seen during Tropical Storm Irene in 2011. Thousands of Vermonters had lost homes, businesses and more this week, he added.
Montpelier, Barre, Ludlow, Londonderry, Andover and surrounding towns were hit the hardest by the storm, said Jennifer Morrison, commissioner of the Department of Public Safety.
The governor tweeted Tuesday morning that the roads near his home were so impassable that he had to hike through snowmobile trails to find an open road and reach the state's emergency response center.
Authorities said local, state and federal first responders had conducted 117 rescues so far.
Rescue crews were using helicopters to conduct evacuations in hard-hit and remote areas and the state would also deploy drones to locate stranded residents and assess the impacts of the storm, Morrison added. Some areas remained too dangerous for boat rescues.
Vermont emergency management officials warned residents to use caution around floodwaters as they could contain downed power lines, hazardous waste, debris and more.
Other parts of the Northeast were also recovering
Multiple New York counties remained under a flood watch Tuesday. The governor declared a state of emergency in most of the state's counties.
The Mid-Hudson region saw more than eight inches of rain between Sunday and Monday, officials said, and the Finger Lakes experienced more than five inches.
"While much of the storm has passed through New York, it's critical to remain vigilant," Gov. Kathy Hochul said Monday.
New York authorities reported one fatality from the severe weather. According to the local TV station WABC, 43-year-old Pamela Nugent of Orange County died after she was swept away by floodwaters while trying to escape with her dog.
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