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Flooding Update: Gov. Scott & Congressional Delegation Update Vermonters

Flooding Update: Gov. Scott & Congressional Delegation Update Vermonters

State of Vermont – State Flooding Press Conference, 7.12.23

Watch a recording of the press conference here.

Jennifer Morrison, Commissioner, VT Dept of Public Safety

  • Vermont is in much better shape than it was just 24 hours ago
  • We are still in active response mode, several ongoing, active rescues (mid-day Wednesday)
  • The most (current) hard-hit area is Lamoille County
  • 32 human rescues Tuesday night into Wednesday
  • Numerous water rescues happening in LaCo Wednesday
  • Total statewide rescues stand at over 200, and evacuations are over 100
  • Swiftwater and Urban Rescue teams continue to be deployed across the state
  • “Generally speaking, river levels have crested, and water levels should go down throughout the day.”
  • “For now, things remain stable throughout the state, but I will continue to remind Vermonters that further precipitation is forecasted for Thursday and Friday that could bring significant additional rainfall.”
  • Vermonters must be vigilant and mindful that more flooding is a VERY REAL possibility
  • Flooding risk remains on the Lamoille River at Jeffersonville
  • “Regardless of levels, waterways across the state ARE NOT safe.  The currents are fast, there is a tremendous amount of debris and folks need to stay off our rivers for the time being.”
  • As of Wednesday morning, still no reported fatalities in Vermont
  • REMAIN CAUTIOUS – many deaths during natural disasters occur during the recover stage
  • Many communities are under boil-water notices – an up-to-date list can be found on the Agency of Natural Resources website
  • Below 1000 power outages statewide (as of 11:00am Wednesday)
  • TAKE PRECAUTIONS when re-entering a flooded home or building
    • Do not turn on the circuit breaker
    • Do not use any power sources until your system is checked by a licensed electrician
  • This information will support a Federal Disaster Declaration from the State of VT
  • If you’re still in need of shelter, call 2-1-1
  • If you want to volunteer to help with recovery efforts, visit

Gov. Phil Scott, Vermont

  • Deeply appreciate the outreach from fellow governors offer support and resources
  • Gov. Scott spoke with President Biden and the President confirmed the full support of the White House and his team
  • The flooding we’ve seen is historic and this may not be over – with rain in the forecast and nowhere for it to go, we may see waters rise again
  • “It is critical Vermonters remain aware of their surroundings, remain vigilant, and plan ahead.”
  • While the state is still actively in response mode, Gov. Scott will sign an executive order allowing the state to swiftly transition into the recovery phase when appropriate
  • Gov. Scott will visit heavily impacted communities later in the week
  • “We will get through this by working together.”

Deanne Criswell, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

  • “Oh behalf of the President and the entire federal family, our thoughts are with everyone across Vermont right now.”
  • As the weather continues to shift, continue to be aware of the risks and stay safe
  • The entire Biden-Harris Administration stands ready to support
  • Federal teams have been in VT since the Federal declaration, including:
    • Incident Management Teams
    • Search & Rescue Teams
  • Wednesday, and going forward, is about understanding the extent of the damage and impacts
  • Vermonters must stay vigilant
  • It takes JUST 6 inches of water to sweep someone off their feet
  • That water hides:
    • Debris
    • Downed Powerlines
    • Metal objects
    • And more…
  • DO NOT WAIT to see if FEMA will come to do an inspection, take action:
  • Take pictures
  • Document the damage
  • Gather your important paperwork
  • Contact your insurance agency
  • You do not have to wait to start your clean-up process
  • “FEMA will be with Vermont from start to finish.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders, Vermont

  • “I think we all understand we are living through the worst natural disaster to hit Vermont since 1927.”
  • “We now face 1,000s of homes and businesses that have been damaged, in some cases, severely.  We’re looking at roads and bridges that have been wiped out and some that need fundamental repairs.”
  • Our first responders are incredible heroes and heroines – we thank them very much
  • Working to ensure all necessary federal resources are activated
  • Working with FEMA, US Department of Transportation, US Department of Agriculture, and more
  • “We (Vermont’s Congressional Delegation) will work to make sure private insurance companies act quickly and thoroughly to help Vermonters.”

Sen. Peter Welch, Vermont

  • “Inspiring to see everyday Vermonters showing up and doing what it takes to help their neighbors be safe and to help each other recover.”
  • Cooperation is key, face the day before you one day at a time
  • This will be tough, it will be long, but together we can do it
  • As FEMA has numerous disasters to cover across the nation, the Congressional Delegation will do what it can to increase the agency’s funding
  • The congressional group will focus their casework teams on helping Vermonters deal with the slew of paperwork in the weeks and months ahead

Rep. Becca Balint, Vermont

  • “An event like this can bring up a tremendous amount of trauma for communities and for individuals.  Folks are still reeling from the pandemic, and this event is bringing to light many of the same feelings at Tropical Storm Irene – we cannot overstate the impact that trauma can have on the lives of all of us.”
  • Be gentile with one another – this is a difficult time for so many

Other Updates:

  • Support for farmers and Ag businesses will come from the US Dept. of Ag
  • Administrator Criswell – Climate Change is a factor in what we’re seeing, continually (weather & storm) recorders that have stood for decades or centuries are being shattered
  • We need to look ahead 10 years, how can we use mitigation dollars to lessen these rising impacts
  • Gov. Scott – biggest concern is Thursday and Friday and what those days bring, state will continue to monitor dam and reservoir levels
  • Steps for FEMA – Assess damage, then determine a funding amount to support Vermont recovery
  • Vermont’s Emergency Operation Center has remined ‘open’ and activated since Sunday afternoon, the EOC had to relocate and went virtual for a time as Waterbury took on more and more water
  • 300 Vermonters had already signed up through to aid volunteer efforts and the state is working with AmeriCorps to activate another 200 members as needed
  • VT Agency Nat. Resources has 1-pagers related to disaster clean-up on their website
    • Water
    • Wastewater
    • Septic
    • Hazardous materials
    • This information will be shared rapidly when state response turns to recovery mode
  • As of 11:00am Wed, State only knows of 2 bridges that were lost

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