Stuck in Vermont: Catastrophic Flooding in Vermont | Stuck in Vermont | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Stuck in Vermont: Catastrophic Flooding in Vermont 

Episode 694

Published July 13, 2023 at 10:00 a.m.

Across the state, torrential rain and flash flooding caused destruction and chaos this week. Vermonters posted videos and photos online of their battered towns, overflowing rivers and deteriorated roads. Seven Days senior multimedia producer Eva Sollberger was in Burlington filming the raging Winooski River at the falls and crowdsourced videos from around the state. Thousands of homes and businesses have been affected, and many roads are still impassable, stranding people around the state.

On Tuesday, Sollberger checked in with Jeremy Ayers by phone. Ayers’ family home and pottery studio in Waterbury flooded in 2011, and Sollberger covered the recovery efforts in a video. On Monday, a group of friends helped prepare the Ayers’ house for the flood by moving everything off the first floor and clearing out Jeremy’s pottery studio. Although the water level was lower than during Irene, flooding in their basement destroyed their new furnace, hot water heaters and electrical panel — which means the family of four can’t return home for at least a month.

She also Zoomed with Mickey Myers, who has lived in Johnson for 20 years. Myers’ house was undamaged by the floodwater, but she is hosting four family members whose home was ruined. Myers is also worried about Johnson’s Sterling Market — the only grocery store in town — which was underwater. The building suffered extensive destruction and the owners have no immediate plans to reopen.

Samara Styles posted video updates from her home in Barre, where she has lived for one year with her husband and young daughter. Sollberger spoke to Styles via Zoom about her flood experience. Styles’ house narrowly escaped the rising water, but other houses on her block were not as lucky.

On Wednesday, Sollberger Zoomed with Tom Rogers of Stowe Mountain Rescue about his harrowing experience helping people evacuate Barre, Berlin and Middlesex on Monday. Downtown Barre’s streets were filled with rising water, and Rogers described the chaos of the scene. He estimated that his team rescued more than 30 people.

Finally, Sollberger spoke with Bob Ray over the phone. Bob and his wife Kim Ray have lived in South Londonderry for decades. The couple had flooding in Irene, but this water was much higher and threatened their home. They posted online about their efforts to construct a barrier around their house using sheet metal and pitchforks. Amazingly, the rain stopped, and their home was spared. Sollberger spoke to them about the recovery efforts in their area, which was hit hard.

Vermont has not seen a historic flooding event like this since Tropical Storm Irene in 2011. And in some areas, the damage is thought to be worse. Before that, the flood of 1927 wreaked destruction across the state. And we are not out of the woods yet. More rain is expected, and the clean up will be ongoing. Be safe, everyone.

Music: The Westerlies, “Hard Times Come Again No More,” written by Stephen Foster

This episode of Stuck in Vermont was supported by New England Federal Credit Union


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About The Author

Eva Sollberger

Eva Sollberger


Seven Days senior multimedia producer Eva Sollberger launched her award-winning "Stuck in Vermont" web video series in 2007. Her videos have been viewed by millions. She appears every other Friday on WCAX at 6:30pm.

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