Flooding forces evacuations in VT

Floods in Vermont only latest in wild week of weather that has seen tornadoes and flooding from Chicago to the Atlantic Ocean.

BY BOND BRUNGARD | MIDDLEBURY, VT | August 6, 2008


Homes were evacuated in central Vermont Wednesday night as heavy rain sent streams and rivers over their banks and washed out bridges and roads across the region.

A flash flood warning has been posted for the state through Wednesday night as some areas received more that five inches of rain.

East Middlebury has set up a shelter at its municipal building. Serious flooding was reported in the towns of Hancock, Rochester and Granville.

A number of homes, businesses and a childrens’ summer camp were evacuated due to the flooding. At least one dam failed.

The flooding in Vermont is only the latest in a wild week of weather across the north central and northeastern U.S. from Chicago to Maine which has seen tornadoes, high winds and flooding.

Storms, that raced through Chicago, Monday, August 4, bounded into northwestern Indiana and killed a man in Michigan City.

A 23-year-old man died when a tree fell on his Ford Escort, killing him instantly.

The severe thunderstorms, with gusts over 90 mph, generated three tornadoes in and around Chicago and then raced into northwestern Indiana, and destroyed a strip mall in Griffiths, Indiana.

In the Chicago suburbs of Bolingbrook and Bloomingdale, 24 homes were damaged and O’Hare Airport halted flights and evacuated passengers from the lower level of buildings throughout the complex.

By Wednesday, life was getting back to normal in LaPorte County, Indiana.

“Most of the power is back on again,” said Paul Young, LaPorte County’s director of emergency management.

Kevin Cox, the president of Indiana VOAD, was home in Elkhart when the two sets of storms hit this community in north-central Indiana, near the Michigan state line.

The first hit Monday night and the other hit in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

“The storms broke through really fast,” he said. “It was more of a lightening show.”

Cox said there was no flooding due to those storms. But in places like Gibson County, he said, there are worries when it rains too hard.

”It’s just an area that floods when it really rains,” he said.

August is normally a wet month in Indiana, but early this month Cox said the soil does not reflect that fact.

“The ground is pretty well dried up,” he said.

Cox said the weather now is nothing unusual for this time of the year, but the National Weather Service has issued a hazardous weather outlook in north Indiana and southwestern Michigan. Flood warnings and watches have also been issued for the western part of the Indiana.


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