Thu, Jun 27, 2013 03:52 PM
Gov. Shumlin, emergency officials urge Vermonters to watch
Use caution as warranted; forecasts warn of potential
MONTPELIER - Gov. Peter Shumlin and Joe Flynn, head of the Vermont
Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, today urged
Vermonters to keep an eye on weather reports in the coming days,
and use special care if forecasts of heavy rainfall, high winds and
flooding become reality.
"We certainly hope that the weather clears and water levels drop,"
the Governor said. But, he noted, many streams and rivers are
saturated from several days of steady rain. The National Weather
Service in Burlington is forecasting additional heavy rainfall -
particularly overnight Thursday and into Friday -- that could
result in flooding across the state.
"As we've learned from past experience, it's better to prepare for
the worst, even as we hope for the best," Gov. Shumlin said.
The state is under a flood watch today, and the National Weather
Service is forecasting heavy rainfall. Lake Champlain and other
waterways are approaching flood stage, and the Governor said nearby
homeowners and business owners should keep an eye on water levels.
He said Vermonters should use common sense in traveling if the
weather becomes more severe, avoiding water-covered roads, making
sure to drive at safe speeds especially during downpours, and
preparing for power outages by having water, food and other
supplies on hand. Even if rain lessens Friday, rivers may not reach
their crest until Saturday or later. Lake Champlain, already above
98 feet, may reach flood stage of 100 feet or above days
Gov. Shumlin requested a FEMA representative to be on hand Friday
in the event of serious flooding, and the state is working with the
Red Cross to ensure shelters are open if needed.
In addition, Public Safety Commissioner Keith Flynn said the
state's Emergency Operations Center will open tonight at 6:30 p.m.,
and remain in operation as needed, possibly through the upcoming
weekend. That office is staffed by representatives from AOT, Public
Safety, the Vermont National Guard, the Agencies of Agriculture and
Natural Resources, Department of Public Service, search and rescue,
and others. Flynn said Vermonters who see emergency situations -
roadway flooding, for example - should report those to local
officials, including police, fire and emergency management
officers, who will be in contact with the Emergency Operations
The Vermont Agency of Transportation, which has been repairing
washed-out and weather damaged roadways in several locations this
week, has crews and equipment on standby to respond quickly if
upcoming storms create further problems. The agency has chain saws
fueled and ready to go, barriers/signs/cones prepared for use if
needed, hand and power tools ready, as well as state message
boards. In addition, southern districts are ready to move north
with people and equipment when and if needed. Rail, airports and
public transit systems are also preparing for potential
The Agency of Agriculture is suggesting farmers stay alert and take
precautions, such as charging generators, securing extra feed if
needed, and moving animals and equipment to higher ground.
Administration Secretary Jeb Spaulding on Wednesday advised state
agency secretaries to stay connected and available in the coming
days in the event a weather emergency is declared. Vermont
utilities have been geared up for power outages throughout this
week's storms, and remain ready to respond if additional outages