BARRE — Heavy rains and melting snowpack overnight caused isolated flooding around central Vermont.
While some streets and roadways were affected, no serious damage or injuries were reported in the region.
To the south, however, more serious damage was reported in several communities, including Chelsea, Randolph, Royalton, Rochester, Stockbridge, Killington, Mendon, Rutland Town, Clarendon, Londonderry and Weston.
Statewide several main roads were closed until flood waters had abated, according to state officials. In addition the storm knocked out power to about 650 Vermonters, according to Green Mountain Power. No other utilities reported storm-related outages.
Rescuers from Killington and Rutland City helped a man escape a parking lot Monday morning after flood waters came up around his vehicle overnight while he slept.
Killington Police Chief Whit Montgomery said the male was parked in one of the lots for the Killington Skyeship Base Lodge, a gondola attached to Killington Ski Resort off Route 4. Montgomery said the male spent Sunday night asleep in his vehicle, and while he heard the rain, he didn’t realize the water was rising.
Killington Fire and Rescue responded after people on Route 4 noticed the male was stranded. Montgomery said the water was about 4 feet high. The water rescue team for the city of Rutland was summoned. They got the man out without incident.
Closer to home, the usual low spots that usually see flooding saw some standing water, including the aptly named Water Street in Northfield. There, traffic was being diverted. No property damage was reported in the small neighborhood. Town officials were also reporting washouts on Turkey Hill.
While rivers were swelling still Monday, no flooding was reported in Williamstown, Berlin or Barre City.
Barre Town officials reported Old Route 302 was closed for flooding. And Route 2 in East Montpelier and farther out in Marshfield reported some roadside flooding. In Plainfield, Road Commissioner Bram Towbin reported no serious flooding from the rain and melting snowpack. By midday the areas along Route 2 were passable.
Montpelier came close to a scare on Monday morning.
Fire Chief Bob Gowans said flood-watch officials were on alert after river gauges reached action level at 11 feet. Flood level is at 15 feet, Gowans said.
“But they’ve actually started to recede a little bit,” Gowans said mid-morning. “The main rain has gone by and it’s starting to cool down a little bit. … There’s usually about a six-hour lag from runoff but we’re not expecting any flooding at this point.”
Showers were in the forecast through Monday and overnight into Tuesday.
Gowans said both the Winooski and North Branch rivers reached the action-level stage, but there had only been a few reports of basement flooding in the city.
“We do have a little bit of basement flooding at the Onion River Sports store (on Langdon Street) and at Positive Pie (on State Street) but the pumps are able to keep up with it,” Gowans said. “But we’re not expecting anything beyond that.”
At Onion River Sports, a spigot on the outside of the building was draining water out onto the sidewalk and store owner Kip Roberts confirmed there were a few inches of water in the basement, but the pumps were handling it.
“I was woken up by some of the alerts on my phone and I got down here a little before 7 a.m. and there was water in our boiler room but the pumps appear to be working,” Roberts said.
The basement at the sports store extends the whole length of the building on Langdon Street and under ROAM, the outdoor apparel store.
Owner Bobbie Roehm said she didn’t store any merchandise in the basement and the pumps operated by the sports store were handling seepage from the North Branch.
However, Roehm noted that she saw several people’s backyards along Elm Street in the meadow neighborhood of the city were definitely under water.
Also in Montpelier, there were several combined sewer overflows in rivers reported but Public Works Director Tom McArdle said he was waiting for a report on the discharges.
In Waterbury, Fire Chief Gary Dillon said he had not received any reports of flooding in the town, despite concerns of flooding after Tropical Storm Irene devastated the state capital complex and downtown areas in 2011.
“People are more hyper-sensitive since Irene, and it’s certainly understandable. Prior to Irene, we used to have weather like this and we might have some low-level flooding. We’ve certainly already had it in the (Hope Davey Memorial Field) ball field in Waterbury which floods a couple of times a year, but it’s very low to the river,” he added.
The time for concern is still on.
With central Vermont schools on vacation this week, parents are urged to keep youngsters away from rushing streams right now, and to report problem spots to town officials.
The Vermont Emergency Operations Center in Waterbury is activated to assist municipalities in flood response. Representatives from Vermont Emergency Management, Vermont Fire Safety, Vermont Search and Rescue, Agency of Transportation, Vermont State Police, National Guard, Agency of Human Services, and the Red Cross are working with towns.
“The health and safety of Vermonters is our number one priority today,” Gov. Phil Scott said early Monday morning. “State personnel and our partners are working with local responders to that end, and the public can take simple steps to keep themselves safe – we are encouraging everyone to use caution and common sense around floodwaters.”
The following safety messages were released by Vermont Emergency Management:
— Never drive or walk over a flooded road – unseen washouts or currents can sweep you and your car away. Turn around, don’t drown.
— Be mindful of river levels – if water approaches your location, evacuate over high ground.
— Monitor media and social media.
For updates on road closures, follow the Vermont Agency of Transportation on Twitter at @AOTVermont and Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/VTransontheroad/
The Rutland Herald contributed to this report.