Northern NY and Vermont Reflect on Tropical Storm Irene Anniversary
Tropical Storm Irene caused damage or destroyed countless homes and businesses as rivers and streams became raging torrents. In Vermont, over 500 miles of state roads were damaged and 34 state highway bridges had to be rebuilt . Over 3000 local roads, culverts and bridges were damaged or destroyed. Towns were completely isolated and supplies were helicoptered to residents. On this one year anniversary of the storm people in northern New York and Vermont are still rebuilding and many still need help.
At 7 o’clock tonight, bells will ring in towns and villages across Vermont. The state plans to mark the first anniversary with a “We Are Vermont Strong” commemoration. Vermont Irene Recovery Officer Susan Minter says the storm transformed the landscape, communities and people.
Essex County NY, recovering from spring flooding, was dealt a second and more severe blow as Irene blew through. Town of Jay Supervisor Randy Douglas says the storm has changed the area forever.
The Long-Term Disaster Recovery Group has been created to coordinate continuing recovery efforts in Essex and Clinton Counties NY. United Way of the Adirondack Region Executive Director John Bernardi will chair the group.
Project Hope, a program through the Mental Health Association in Essex County NY, provides outreach and guidance for people needing aid. Project Hope Program Coordinator for Clinton and Essex Counties Gretchen Morse says a year after, there are still many needs.
Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin, during a visit to a recovering farm, cautioned that storms like Irene could be a new normal.
Long term recovery committees continue to work with Irene survivors in both New York and Vermont.