Peculiar Response to the Valley Flooding Problem

Vermont has just gone through another major flood, with widespread damage in Addison County and the central section from Montpelier and Hardwick down to Londonderry.


I wasn’t around for the Great Flood of 1927 that devastated almost all of the state, or the Category 5 hurricane of 1936, but I do remember the 1973 flood, when I had to hike the last four miles home from my Marine Reserve duty because Kirby Mountain Road was washed out at both ends.

I well remember the 1992 flood, when all roads to Montpelier from the east were under water, Speaker Ralph Wright toured a submerged State Street in a bucket loader, and I had to approach Montpelier by six different routes before making it into the State House through Middlesex.

And then there were the two floods of 2011, the second and greater one due to Tropical Storm Irene.

Who were the victims? Mostly people and businesses located along roads running along rivers, where the early settlers necessarily located their major transportation corridors. Right now, people and governments are looking for hundreds of million dollars to pay for flood damages.

So, you have to wonder why the Vermont Climate Council is urging land use controls to keep people and businesses out of high ground, and cluster them in downtowns which in most cases are built along rivers and subject to floods. That’s to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, of course.


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  • John McClaughry
    published this page in EAI Blog 2023-08-15 01:55:58 -0400