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Vermont Floods May Be As Bad As 'Monumental' 1927 Flood

People walk along a washed out section of Route 12 on Monday in Berlin, Vt.
Toby Talbot
People walk along a washed out section of Route 12 on Monday in Berlin, Vt.

In Vermont, Tropical Storm Irene will not be remembered as overhyped. The flash floods its pounding rains created have proved historic. Scott Whittier of the National Weather Service told Vermont Public Radio they will compared the floods of 1973 and the "monumental flood" of 1927.

The damage is widespread. The Burlington Free Pressreports flood waters moved through Wilmington, Grafton, Ludlow, Brandon, Waitsfield, Waterbury and Montpelier. VPR reports that three are dead, 260 roads have been washed out across the state, bridges have been carried down rivers and emergency management officials have yet to get a handle on just how badly damaged state office complexes in Waterbury, Montpelier and Rutland are.

Gov. Peter Shumlin told VPR that Vermont is "going to be digging out for a long time."

In some ways, this story has been best told by the great number of videos that show raging rivers ravaging picturesque towns. Here is one put together by the Free Press:

And here's a dramatic one from Brattleboro:

The Free Pressreports that Gov. Shumlin and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) assessed damage by helicopter, today. Leahy, who has been a public official since the '60s, said he had "not seen anything that has shocked me so much."

Shumlin said "every aspect of small-town life" had been affected. "It's both devastating and unbelievable," he said.

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Eyder Peralta
Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.