Irene

Vermont officials have officially reopened the rebuilt state office complex in Waterbury, most of which was made unusable by flooding from Tropical Storm Irene in 2011.

Pat Bradley/WAMC

This week the nation is recognizing the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.  But this week also marks the anniversary of another mega-storm that tracked across our region four years ago today. 

WAMC/Pat Bradley

More than two and a half years after Tropical Storm Irene raged through the region, homes that were made unliveable are finally being demolished.

WAMC/Pat Bradley

Essex County, New York, was among the areas most damaged when Tropical Storm Irene moved through the region two years ago, and is still recovering. The supervisors of the two hardest hit towns in the rural Adirondack county still have vivid memories of the day the storm hit.

WAMC/Pat Bradley

Two years ago, Tropical Storm Irene moved up the Atlantic coast, barging through Vermont on August 28th. Some areas of the state saw 11 inches of rain, and 500 miles of roads and 200 bridges were damaged or destroyed. Six people in the state died. Today, North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley talks with Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin about the historic storm and the status of the recovery.

USFWS

The administration of Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin will ask the Legislature for money to hire 10 short-term case managers who would oversee the continued recovery from Tropical Storm Irene.

Courtesy NOAA

Vermont's continuing effort to recover from Tropical Storm Irene is the focus of a conference  at Norwich University today.  
    
Vermont Irene Recovery Officer Sue Minter says the Irene and Beyond Summit will not only discuss continuing needs due to Irene damage, but also begin to shape a statewide response system for future disasters.

Courtesy NOAA

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin says the state's experience in getting federal assistance in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene makes him sympathetic to efforts by people in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut to get help after Superstorm Sandy.

Spencer Ainsley / AP

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has rejected buyouts for 33 Vermont properties damaged by Tropical Storm Irene and spring flooding last year.

Courtesy NOAA

The Vermont Long Term Disaster Relief Fund helps Vermonters who are still recovering from flooding caused by Tropical Storm Irene. Monday night officials and volunteers met to raise awareness that, a year after the storm, needs still exist and fundraising for the program continues.

The Long Term Disaster Relief Fund has raised $6.6 million so far. It fills gaps after victims of Tropical Storm Irene have exhausted private insurance or government disaster assistance programs. Fund Chair David Coates says the monies have been crucial in giving Vermonters a new normal life.

WAMC

A support program that has been helping people in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene in New York’s North Country is ending.

Project Hope has provided outreach to those in need in the wake of last year’s storm disaster.  Crisis counselors went door to door in Clinton and Essex Counties to assure that everyone who needed help received aid. Project Hope Program Coordinator Gretch Sando.

Project Hope Crisis Counselor Fred Balzac.

The state of Vermont is notifying towns still struggling financially from Tropical Storm Irene repairs that it will give out payments early while those towns await federal reimbursement for repairs.

The accelerated payments are for town highways and payment-in-lieu-of taxes, which are normally given out in October; current use payments, which are typically sent out in November; and state aid to education payments, which are normally dispersed in December.

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin is saying it may be quite a while before the state knows how much it will get from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for repairs from Tropical Storm Irene.

Shumlin on Wednesday is outlining plans for the state to go ahead with revamping its mental health system and renovating its state agency office complex.

The effort comes in response to flooding from Tropical Storm Irene 54 weeks ago, which forced the closure of the Vermont State Hospital and the surrounding office complex in Waterbury.

Ryan Delaney/WAMC

More than a year after Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee, New York State has forwarded more than 400 applications for property buy-outs to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.  And state officials say there are more pending.

Courtesy NOAA

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.

WAMC

Governor Peter Shumlin says Vermont has become a national leader in how to respond to natural disasters and there's little he'd change about the state's handling of flooding after Hurricane Irene.

Shumlin tells The Associated Press that forming partnerships among state agencies, state and local governments and the private sector were keys to Vermont's success in recovering from the storm and the subsequent flooding.

Vermont state officials say the cloud of uncertainty surrounding federal funding for Vermont's recovery from Tropical Storm Irene has grown thicker with the departures of two top officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Administration Secretary Jeb Spaulding says the state has been working for months with FEMA officials over the complicated issues of how much Vermont will be reimbursed for the destruction of the Vermont State Hospital and much of the surrounding state office complex in Waterbury.

Governor Peter Shumlin plans over four days to visit 22 Vermont communities impacted by Tropical Storm Irene to mark the anniversary of the storm.

Shumlin on Tuesday announced events that will be held to celebrate Vermont's recovery from the flooding on Aug. 28, 2011, and to acknowledge that more work needs to be done.

A free statewide event will be held on Aug. 28 at 7 p.m. at the Chandler Center for the Arts in Randolph, with music, storm videos, artwork and photography.

Courtesy NOAA

Vermont officials could learn this week how much the Federal Emergency Management Agency will contribute to help rehabilitate the state office complex in Waterbury, which was made unusable by flooding from Tropical Storm Irene.

WAMC

Vermont lawmakers are coming to the defense of Governor Peter Shumlin's administration following criticisms by a candidate to unseat him that he misled the Legislature and the public about the amount of post-Irene disaster relief Vermont was likely to get.

Representative Alice Emmons, a Springfield Democrat and chairwoman of the House Institutions and Corrections Committee, says her panel purposely built a good deal of flexibility into this year's state construction budget because of uncertainty about funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Vermont officials are expressing frustration and alarm at the lack of certainty surrounding how much money the state will get from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help with recovery from Tropical Storm Irene.

Ryan Delaney/WAMC

Vermont officials say the total cost of recovering from Tropical Storm Irene is estimated at $733 million and the federal government is expected to pay about three quarters of that amount.  WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley reports…

Administration Secretary Jeb Spaulding says the state expects it will have to pay about $110 million for its share of the repair costs.

Spaulding and other top state officials gave a briefing Thursday on the efforts to recover from the biggest natural disaster in almost a century.

WAMC

Thirteen students from six Vermont colleges and universities are spending their summer working on long-term recovery projects from storm Irene.

The group in charge is the Vermont Campus Compact's Statewide Internships for Vermont Recovery. The program is starting today.

The undergraduate and graduate students will take on a variety of projects that range from working with flood survivors to improving emergency response plans. They will take part in the continuing cleanup effort and assess environmental damage following the storm last August.

New Fund to Help Displaced VT Mobile-Home Owners

May 21, 2012
WAMC

 A total of 524 mobile homes were damaged in Vermont during Tropical Storm Irene. And many homeowners are still recovering, some paying more for housing.  WAMC's Tristan O'Neill reports...

A new fund has been set up to help mobile-home owners in Vermont who were victims of Irene or flooding last spring.

It was started with a gift of $50,000 from a Middlebury couple, David and Eleanor Ignat.

Organizers say $500 grants will be awarded to eligible applicants. The deadline is July 16.

VT Sports Fields Mean More than Games after Flood

May 7, 2012
WAMC

Across Vermont, many communities that were hit by flooding from Tropical Storm Irene are working to get their athletic fields back in shape.

For many schools, their fields are on flat land next to rivers, just the areas that were hit the hardest by the flooding in August.

In Bethel, parts of the fields that are used by the Whitcomb High School and the community were under 18 inches of silt and littered with other debris such as hot water and propane tanks.

Parts of the fields are ready for use. But some won't be ready until next year.