Hurricane Irene Damage Evident as Flooding Recedes- Vermont Takes A Devastating Hit

Killington, Vt. — Swollen rivers began falling Wednesday in much of the Northeast, allowing relief crews to reach the last of the tiny Vermont towns that had been entirely cut off from help by Hurricane Irene’s fast-moving floodwaters.

The receding water eased the flooding that had paralyzed parts of the region and revealed more damage to homes, farms and businesses across the flood-scarred landscape. Repair estimates indicated that the storm would almost certainly rank among the nation’s costliest natural disasters, despite packing a lighter punch than initially feared.

Of the 11 towns that had been severed from the outside world, the final one to be reached by rescuers was tiny Wardsboro, a village of 850 in the Green Mountains. The community is little more than a post office and some houses standing along Route 100, a highway popular in the fall with tourists searching out autumn colors.

The National Guard continued to ferry supplies to mountain towns that had no electricity, no telephone service and limited transportation in or out. Eight helicopters were expected to arrive Wednesday with food, blankets, tarps and drinking water.

In the ski resort town of Killington, residents came to the elementary school for free hot dogs and corn on the cob. Jason and Angela Heaslip picked up a bag filled with peanut butter, cereal and toilet paper for their three children and three others visiting from Long Island.

Photo: Matthew Cavanaugh / Getty Images- A car drives along Rt 112 where the Deerfield River washed out part of the road during in tropical storm Irene on August 31, 2011 in Halifax, Vermont. Numerous roads and bridges throughout the state were seriously damaged by flooding.“Right now, they’re getting little portions because we’re trying to make the food last,” said Jason Heaslip, who has only a dollar in his bank account because the storm has kept him from getting paid by the resort where he works.

Don Fielder, a house painter in Gaysville, said the White River roared through his house, tearing the first floor off the foundation and filling a bathroom tub with mud. He was upbeat as he showed a visitor the damage, but said he’s reluctant to go into town for fear he will cry when people ask about the home he built himself 16 years ago.

Other losses include a 1957 Baldwin piano and a collection of 300 Beanie Babies amassed by his daughter, who does not live with him but has a bedroom at his house.

“I bet that’s in the river,” he said.

Photo: Scott Eisen / Bloomberg - Damage from flooding is seen near the Irving gas station at the junction of Route 4 and Route 100 in in Killington, Vermont, U.S., on Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2011. Across Vermont, rescuers were still attempting to help flooded-out communities by any means at hand in the aftermath of damage from Hurricane Irene.Irene has been blamed for at least 45 deaths in the continental United States, plus one in Puerto Rico and seven more in the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

If that death toll stands, it would be comparable to 1999’s Hurricane Floyd, which caused 57 deaths in the United States and the Bahamas when it moved through the Caribbean and charged up the East Coast into New England. At the time, it was the deadliest U.S. hurricane in nearly 40 years but was later dwarfed by the 1,800 deaths caused by Katrina in 2005.

An estimate released immediately after Irene by the Kinetic Analysis Corp., a consulting firm that uses computer models to project storm losses, put the damage at $7.2 billion in eight states and the District of Columbia.

Photo: Matthew Cavanaugh / Getty Images- WILMINGTON, VT - AUGUST 31: A view of West Main Street where citizens and military are cleaning up after Tropical Storm Irene caused severe flooding in the town's center on August 31, 2011 in Wilmington, Vermont. The nearby Deerfield River overflowed it's banks during the storm on Sunday, inundating many homes and businesses.That would eclipse damage from Hurricane Bob, which caused $1 billion in damage in New England in 1991, the equivalent of about $1.7 billion today, and Hurricane Gloria, which swept through the region in 1985 and left damage of $900 million, the equivalent of $1.9 billion today, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

This article appeared on page A – 10 of the San Francisco Chronicle- Read more

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Additional you can do the following.

To volunteer contact the Vermont Red Cross at 802-660-9130

You can also donate to the American Red Cross of Vermont and the New Hampshire Valley. The Red Cross set up shelters immediately after Irene hit for flooded-out families to stay in

Text FOODNOW to 52000 to donate $10 to Vermont Foodbank. The Foodbank will turn each donation into $60 for families in need. is working to connect volunteers ready to help with those that need assistance. If you want to help clean up and rebuild, let the folks behind this site know.Volunteer and cleanup efforts are also being coordinated on Twitter via the #VTresponse hashtag. (Source)

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by Michael Hill,Samantha Henry, Associated Press
"The storm left millions without power across much of the Eastern Seaboard, killed at least two dozen and forced airlines to cancel about 9,000 flights. It never became the big-city nightmare forecasters and public officials had warned about, but it caused the worst flooding in a century in Vermont.Hundreds of Vermonters were told to leave their homes after Irene dumped several inches of rain on the landlocked state. Gov. Peter Shumlin called it the worst flooding in a century, and the state was declared a federal disaster area. "We prepared for the worst and we got the worst in central and southern Vermont," Shumlin said Monday. "We have extraordinary infrastructure damage," including communities that were cut off, hundreds of roads closures and the loss of at least three historic covered bridges." DAVE GRAM, Associated Press