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Winter Storm Brings Echoes of July

SUNAPEE — Nearly 65,000 power customers in New Hampshire and Vermont were without power for parts of Monday as storms brought heavy rain and gusty winds to the Twin States.

But while inconvenient, emergency responders had their eyes not on the lights but on area rivers, which were not expected to crest until overnight, leaving them waiting for daylight to see where the storm’s worst impacts would be felt.

“As we continue the recovery from this summer’s flooding, I know this is the last thing Vermonters want to see right now, especially during the holiday season,” said Vermont Gov. Phil Scott. “So let me say, although there will be damage to infrastructure, homes, and businesses, we do not expect this to be the same scale as July.”

Vermont Transportation Secretary Joe Flynn offered the first picture of how widespread Monday’s flooding was, noting that roads had been fully or partially closed by floods and mudslides in Londonderry, Rochester, Granville, Weathersfield, Reading, Randolph, Essex, Jonesville, Roxbury, Berlin, Hardwick, Marshfield, Moretown, Waterbury, Stowe, St. Johnsbury, Lyndonville and Berkshire.

Additionally, Vermont State Police reported road closures in Groton and Chester.

“Some of the places that were impacted in July are currently experiencing flooding once again,” Scott said Monday night. “For them, this is July, and it’s a real gut punch.”

“So no doubt, there will be significant challenges for some.”

Throughout the state, emergency responders were acting proactively with inspectors checking on dams, swift-water rescue teams ready to go at a moment’s notice and communities were pro-actively evacuating people from vulnerable properties, said Public Safety Commissioner Jennifer Morrison.

“What we are experiencing today is dangerous and there will be damages; we just won’t know them until there is daylight,” Morrison said.

“So far, three people have been rescued from a home in Jamaica and one person was rescued from a vehicle swept away by floodwaters in Waterbury,” Morrison said.

At 5 p.m., another rescue was underway and officials were still expecting the worst to come.

New Hampshire

“Even after the rain stops, rivers will continue to crest into Tuesday,” cautioned New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu on Monday. “So, take precautions now as no one is immune from the potential for flooding from this storm.” “Respect barriers and stay safe by avoiding flooded roadways. Give hard working crews plenty of space to do their jobs as they restore power and clear debris from roads.”

The National Weather Service reported flooding in New Hampshire was primarily in mountainous areas, but cautioned that residents statewide could see flooding.


National Weather Service Meteorologist Hunter Tubbs watched the weather in New Hampshire from Gray, Maine, as meteorologist Jessica Neiles kept watch on Vermont from Burlington, VT. Both meteorologists expected flooding to continue into this morning and possibly even longer.

“Larger rivers won’t peak until [Tuesday] morning,” Tubbs said, confirming the governor’s warning. However, by late Monday, smaller rivers had already peaked, he said.

Records were set across the region not only for rain — 2.02 inches at the Burlington Airport, shattering the previous record of .85 inches set in 1954 — but also for high temperatures. Massena, NY, recorded 46 degrees, Montpelier, VT, hit 58 degrees and Concord, NH, hit 63 degrees.

The warm temperature and rain trimmed 9 inches from the snowpack on Mount Mansfield, the highest peak in Vermont, Neiles said. Tubbs said the combination of the unusually warm weather and moist air brought the rain.

Things will dry out today as temperatures are expected to dip and keep falling until the weather returns to what forecasters typically expect for this season. Snow showers are possible today. Neiles, in Burlington, cautions that any remaining high water could lead to a new hazard today — ice.


At Green Mountain Power, in Vermont, crews restored power to more than 15,000 customers on Monday and expected to have power fully restored overnight.

“We were prepared, said spokesperson Kristin Kelly. “We had, in addition to our own crews, external crews.

The utility’s main issue was heavy water and strong gusty winds at higher elevations, Kelly said. By 9 a.m., Monday, almost 50,000 customers were without power across New Hampshire. Eversource alone reported that more than 21,000 of its customers faced outages. No area of the state was untouched.

“We know the timing of this storm is terrible as people are trying to enjoy time off or prepare for the Christmas holiday,” said Eversource New Hampshire President of Electric Operations Doug Foley. “The fierce winds and heavy rains brought down trees and limbs that caused significant damage to the electric system and widespread power outages in communities across every region of the Granite State.

The recovery effort was hampered by more than 70 blocked roads across the state, the utility reported. Eversource assisted in clearing nearly 30 roads and responded to almost 300 fire and police calls, the utility reported.

In Claremont today, forecasters expect only a slight chance of rain or snow showers as temperatures will reach a high of 40 and a low of 22 degrees.

Source: Eagle Times