Saturday, May 28, 2011


Thursday night, at about 9, toward the end of a particularly bad thunderstorm, we had a call to come down to the Old Labor Hall (brick building at right) because the basement was filling up with water. The business district along Main St. was closed off, so we had to travel via back streets. Just past Capital Candy, I debated about driving through a huge puddle, but with a fire truck and police car further down the street, I decided to brave it. The Granite St. bridge was closed, but Paul asked the officer if we could go over to get to the OLH. We parked just beyond it and saw a huge lake covering the OLH/Pepin Granite parking lot and Granite St.

The lights were on, though, and Chet and Karen were there putting together electronic equipment for the concert Saturday night. After a while, Mike and Tess appeared, followed by some other neighbors. One had a sump pump which we put down in the basement. The water was at the top of the bottom step and pouring in. We left at about 10:30, again going over back streets.

At about 1:30 am, Chris called from Montpelier to say that people living downtown were being evacuated. He is about 3 blocks from Main St. and one block from the Winooski River which was 3 ft. above flood stage. I told him to come on over but to take the high roads. Then I went back to sleep. In the morning, he wasn't here, and apparently when he tried to get to Barre, he found most of the roads under water so he turned back. His place wasn't flooded, thank goodness. Thurs. night 50 people stayed in a shelter in Montpelier and 100 in Barre.

Fri. morning, there was 5 ft. of water in the basement of the OLH - affecting the restrooms, elevator, furnace, and elderly refrigerator (which must be dead by now). The sump pump was trying valiantly but couldn't handle it all. In late afternoon a fire truck from another town came to pump the basement out. Main St. was passable but Granite St. was still a lake. I am so glad I persuaded Paul to buy those tall rubber boots last year!

The concert, planned for tonight, is still going on, but at the Barre Opera House which has generously allowed the use of the space. The historical society will have to pay for a sound technician and a custodian. 75 singers are coming up from Boston, and many are staying in area hotels and motels. We cancelled the Sunday brunch at the OLH, though. Restaurants downtown appear to be closed, so I'm not sure what we'll do about food. We had planned to have two singers stay here, but I am preparing myself to have a few more. And this morning I made a couple of salads, just in case.

Haven't talked to Chris this morning, but I imagine he is staying put. I did hear from the community garden people, and many of our gardens, including the one I just planted Wed., were washed away. I'll go down and check out the damage tomorrow. Right now I'm staying close to the phone to answer questions about the concert. This is definitely an "interesting" time, but I'm really feeling lucky that we live up on a hill and still have power and water.


karenfae said...

it has been bad weather for everyone these past several months hasn't it. I had been following the weather a bit and I think what hit you was what we previously had here and part of the storm that hit Joplin MO. Glad to you and yours are ok though.

Pat from FL and MI said...

Words can say it, but that pic is worth a thousand words.