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Flooding Update: Governor Scott & State Officials Caution Vermonters Ahead of More Rainfall Thursday (7.13.23)

Flooding Update: Governor Scott & State Officials Caution Vermonters Ahead of More Rainfall Thursday (7.13.23)

State of Vermont Flood Response & Recovery Press Conference - 7.13.23

Watch a recording of the press conference here.

Governor Phil Scott, Vermont

  • Send a Major Disaster Declaration to President Biden today (Wednesday), if approved would provide federal disaster relief funds to aid our communities during their recovery phase
  • Request will be reviewed by FEMA then sent on to President Biden for approval
  • This is SEPARATE and in ADDITION to the Federal Emergency Declaration the President already signed
  • Severe thunderstorms on the way Thursday into Friday
  • Could bring: flash flooding, hail, even tornado threats
  • Vermonters MUST pay attention to weather forecasts and plan ahead
  • Vermont officials used Wednesday’s break in the rain to prepare for the weather on the way (see below)
  • “This is not over and it won’t be over after today’s storms.  On Sunday, there’s another chance for heavy rain statewide.”
  • “It’s critical that Vermonters understand we need to remain vigilant and prepared.  We cannot be complacent.”
  • “Be smart and use common sense.  We’re seeing more and more photos on social media of people playing in these flood waters.  This is not typical water.  It’s filled with chemicals, oil, sewage, and more.  It’s simply not safe.”
  • Continue to follow road signs and directions from emergency responders and transportation crews – do not make yourself the focus on an unnecessary rescue
  • State continues to focus on disaster response and what new challenges these oncoming storms bring
  • “Vermont has been through this before.  We have proven that when the chips are down we help one another out and we’re doing that right now.  We will make it through this, I know we will.  We need to listen and be prepared and be vigilant in order to do so.”

Jennifer Morrison, Commissioner, VT Department of Public Safety

  • No active, ongoing rescue missions as of Thursday morning (11:00am)
  • Swift Water and Urban Rescue teams have been pre-positioned for the next round of storms, VT National Guard assets are on standby
  • As of Wednesday morning, still no reported fatalities
  • Continue to be 4 American Red Cross Shelters open
    • Barre
    • Rutland
    • White River Jct/Hartford
    • Johnson (15 people currently housed here)
    • Two (2) independent shelters actively open
    • Foxrun Golf Club in Ludlow
    • Smuggler’s Notch Resort (59 people currently housed here)
  • Dangerous weather is forecasted for most of the state between 4:00pm – 8:00pm Thursday
  • Likelihood of localized flash flooding is HIGH, not expected to be a repeat of Monday-Tuesday, but will be dangerous in areas that are prone to flash flooding
  • Communication with local partners throughout the state is constant and ongoing
  • Be prepared for upcoming impacts
    • Plan ahead
    • Visit to resources & advice
    • Remain alert to alerts from National Weather Service
    • Sign up for VT Alerts (
    • If you see approaching water, turn around and seek higher ground
  • “Heed this advice, predictable is preventable.  Today’s threat is predictable.  Please do not put yourself or your family at unnecessary risk. And please do not put Vermont’s first responder family at risk.”

Maggie Gendron, Deputy Secretary, VT Agency of Natural Resources

  • Agency manages 100 state-owned dams, regulates 800 private and municipal-owned dams
  • Current attention is very focused on three flood control dams on the Winooski River in: Waterbury, Wrightsville, East Barre
  • Currently engaged with Army Corp of Engineers and private consultants who are familiar with the operation of all 3 dams
    • Both groups providing modeling on each dam’s ability to retain different levels of rainfall going forward
    • ** Based on forecasted rainfall, it is UNLIKELY dam levels will reach the spillway at the Wrightsville dam

Joe Flynn, Secretary, VT Agency of Transporation

  • Video of a VTrans truck driving through flooded roadways in Cambridge was due to flash flooding that hit that crew as they were trying to block off other already impassable roadways
    • Other trucks in that convoy were able to slowly and safely back away from oncoming waters and the driver of the ‘stuck’ truck was trying to extricate himself at the direction of the regional VTrans manager.  The driver was unable to do so and the truck sat in that position for 30 hours.
    • The Department reminds Vermonters to NEVER try to drive through flooded roadways
  • VTrans is working with 31 private contractors around the state
  • Crews have worked through the night to prepare for Thursday’s oncoming weather
  • VTrans crews are working to ‘harden’ as many assets as possible
    • Removing obstruction
    • Armoring river banks
    • Armoring slide areas (ie – mudslide prone areas)
  • VTrans equipment is being temporarily reassigned from low-damage areas of the state to high-damage regions and communities
  • 24 roads throughout the state remain closed as of 7:00am Thursday
  • VTrans officials will continue to update 5-1-1 by the minute
  • 49 bridges across the state were inspected yesterday, minor repairs necessary on several bridges
  • ALL rail trails continue to be closed

Other Updates

  • Timeline for approval of Gov. Scott’s Major Disaster Declaration is expected to be swift
  • State currently has $15 million set aside for emergency disaster use approved in this year’s budget by the VT legislature
    • This money can be used to support the expected recovery efforts, BUT much of these funds are typically set aside to support past FEMA claims that may have been denied
  • It’s a statewide, top to bottom, left-to-right, effort to help generate an overall damage assessment amount that gets passed on for federal approval and monetary support
  • State officials are still collecting data points on the number of homes and businesses that have been impacted or lost
  • Extremely grateful to the other states who have sent response and recovery teams to aid Vermont
  • Division of Fire Safety has had its own EOC activated to oversee and support building inspections around the state
  • With highly saturated soils, there’s an increased chance for trees coming down, for power lines being disrupted, etc
  • VT National Guard has activated vehicles to truck FEMA-supplied water to communities around Vermont still dealing with boil-water directives (water was supposed to be in Vermont around noon Thursday 7.13.23)
  • State of Vermont is also working with private businesses that can support water supply & transport to communities

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