As flood waters rise, crews rescue campers, residents in Andover, Cavendish, Derry, Ludlow Drivers urged to stay off roads; Authorities expect flood waters to rise after lull

Ali Ulrich of Weston shot this video from her home this morning. It shows the Weston Fire Department, the convenience store and several homes and cars underwater. Weston Emergency Management is urging residents to stay off the roads. This area of Southern Vermont — from Londonderry north to Ludlow and Woodstock — are especially hard hit by the rains.

The Chester Telegraph will be updating this story throughout the day.

By Shawn Cunningham
© 2023 Telegraph Publishing LLC

The West River slams up against the fire station in South Londonderry. <small>Photo courtesy of Jeff Duda

The West River slams up against the fire station in South Londonderry. Photo by of Jeff Duda

Much of this part of Southern Vermont is underwater this morning and there’s still a day of heavy rain ahead as emergency responders work to evacuate and even rescue those in low lying areas, including 12 campers stranded by a bridge washout at Horseshoe Acres in Andover just after 4 a.m.  Click any photo to launch photo gallery.

Weston, Ludlow and Londonderry are impassable, according to authorities in those towns.

Just before 8 this morning, Jeff Duda of the South Londonderry Fire Department told The Telegraph that River Road, the Main streets in Derry and South Derry, Thompsonburg Road, Route 100 and Route 11 are impassable in certain areas. Duda said Champion firefighters had rescued several people this morning.

He added that his fire house, which sits above the West River, had to be evacuated, but that firefighters moved equipment to other locations. And, he added, river water is pouring into the building right now.

He also said that the Weston Fire Station, on Route 100 just north of the Weston Green, has taken on 2 to 3 feet of water.

The Londonderry Town Office on Old School Street is open to people seeking a safe place to go.

Shortly after 11:30 a.m., Ludlow Emergency Management issued this warning: We Strongly recommend evacuating 100S and Andover Street. Site dame 1 is full and recommend this as a safety precaution.

A propane tank vents in the flooded parking lot of Smokin' Bowls on Rt. 103 in Cavendish. <small>Photo Courtesy of Bob Glidden, Jr.

A propane tank vents in the flooded parking lot of Smokin’ Bowls on Rt. 103 in Cavendish. Photo by Bob Glidden Jr.

At 7 a.m. this morning Proctorsville Deputy Fire Chief Bob Glidden Jr. said that while high water from the Black River cut off Cavendish from Ludlow, his department does have an ambulance crew in their station.

“So far we’ve done multiple evacuations, said Glidden.  “We haven’t had a call for a rescue yet.” Shortly afterward, they were called to rescue four people on Depot Street, including one person in wheelchair. He noted that the water was rising rapidly and there were propane tanks floating and venting.

One person reported around 8 a.m. that the Black River rose to the back door of  of Singleton’s Market on Main Street.

In Andover, the bridge over the Trout Brook in the southern section of the Horseshoe Acres Campground failed and the Chester Fire Department was called to rescue 12 people stranded. According to Fire Chief Matt Wilson, that section of the campground is now underwater. While the rescue crew was in Andover, the river level dropped a bit, giving some bystanders a sense that things were returning to normal. But Wilson cautioned that’s not the case.

‘The danger is in the runoff. Don’t think it’s over when the rain stops and the water level drops a bit. The rivers will keep rising from the runoff.’

Matt Wilson
Chester Fire chief

Wilson and Assistant Chief Ben Whalen talk as Whalen checks his gear on Sunday evening. <small>Photo by Shawn Cunningham</small>

Wilson and Assistant Chief Ben Whalen talk as Whalen checks his gear on Sunday evening. Photo by Shawn Cunningham

Wilson added that his department has a full crew in the station this morning but expects that the swift water rescue team will be deployed by the state of Vermont to areas where the flooding is making rescues necessary.

“We have an agreement with the state that Chester is a resource for water rescue in southern Vermont,” said Wilson, “so we may be going out. But of course, Chester comes first.” Around 8 a.m., there was a report that the Chester water rescue crew was heading for Ludlow.

At 9 a.m., Weston Emergency Management sent out an announcement saying that due to flooding and road damage people should stay home and off the roads.

Also contributing to this article: Cynthia Prairie, Cara Philbin, Stacia Spaulding and many citizen photographers.

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  1. Excellent coverage and so quickly posted. Glad we live on a hill in Gassetts!!!