Thursday, September 1, 2011

Hurricane Irene and Labor Day

As many may have heard, Hurricane Irene struck southern Vermont especially hard, with more than 11 inches of rainfall in some places.  There was immense damage across southern Vermont and adjacent New York and western Massachusetts.  The Deerfield River, which flows through Lake Whitingham (where the Ledges is) was one of the rivers which flooded badly, causing a great deal of damage to downtown Wilmington.  I am planning to assess the situation myself starting tomorrow.

I've done some calling around in preparation, and this is what I've learned.  First, downtown Wilmington remains closed while the authorities decide which buildings need to be torn down and which can be repaired.  This means that there is no ability to pass through Wilmington via Rt. 9 from the west.  It is not certain when that road will reopen, since there is damage also along the road outside of town (as I understand it).
Second, the eastern half of Wilmington is accessible.  That includes the Shaw's grocery store, the drug store, and gas stations.  But there are some caveats.  Rt. 9 between Brattleboro and Marlboro is closed indefinitely, so any thoughts you might have of reaching Wilmington that way should be abandoned.  Rt. 100 south is open, as is most of Rt. 112 (which goes to Colrain MA).  However, you cannot pass through Jacksonville VT (where Rt. 112 meets Rt. 100) because Rt. 112 is washed out at that point.  There are ways around that problem, but the directions are non-trivial and more than I can post here.  Interstate 91 in Deerfield is also closed due to the Deerfield River undermining the bridge that crosses it.

In short, it's going to be a while before people can get to the Ledges again.  And even if you could get there this weekend, I would advise people not to swim, because all of the flotsam and jetsam from Wilmington all washed into the lake.  The water levels are also likely to be extremely high.

I will update this blog based on what I find this weekend.

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