Flooding hits S. Vt.: Derry shops whacked again Dirt roads take the brunt of other damage

Video by David Lewis of Windham.

The Chester Telegraph thanks all of our reporting partners who provided photos, video and insights into today’s events. See photo gallery below. To launch the gallery, click any image.

By Cynthia Prairie and
Shawn Cunningham

©2023 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Our southern Vermont region was hit with another rainstorm Sunday night and into late Monday afternoon that tore up roads in Cavendish and Chester and forced the evacuation once again of businesses along Main Street in Londonderry.

Video by Amber Miller of Londonderry. Amber Miller shot this video at Springhill Road in South Londonderry Vermont as the stream poured over its banks.

The storm blew up the East Coast Sunday night with heavy rains and high winds, forcing the National Weather Service to issue flood warnings and flood watches for the entire state of Vermont. The rains combined with warmer temperatures and melting snow to knock out power in towns all over Vermont, with more than 4,000 customers in the dark at one point. The numbers and locations were changing from minute to minute and there are a number of causes.

By 10 this morning, according to Josie Ameden of Londonderry, her fields were “mostly under water.” She added that she logged in almost 2 inches of rain at her home.

About 11 a.m. the South Londonderry Free Library announced it was closing for “the remainder of the day due to the weather and local flooding.”

Flood Brook School announced early pickup of noon, while the schools in the Two Rivers Supervisory Union that serve Andover, Baltimore, Cavendish, Chester, Ludlow and Mount Holly announced that they would be closing at 11 a.m.

Jelley’s Deli, reopened after months of rebuilding following the July 10 storm, was being evacuated with the help of volunteers around noon. Owner Bev Jelley wrote on social media, “Jelleys is closed, and we emptied out all we could before we had to leave, of equipment and inventory!!”

Mike & Tammy’s store and its adjacent Maple Leaf Diner on Main Street in Londonderry, also hit hard on July 10, closed at 12:30 p.m. Monday, “due to rising waters, and in order to protect the safety of our employees and customers,” wrote owner Tammy Clough on social media. Unlike Jelley’s and the nearby Garden Gallery and Restaurant, her shop sits several feet above the ground.

The West River in Weston overflowed its banks and the Fire Department moved equipment out of harm’s way, north of that facility. While the river teamed through the town, early reports are that although some dirt roads are damaged, all in all the town was spared the destruction it saw this past July and during Irene in 2011.

About 11:40 a.m. the One Credit Union on Route 103 S. closed due to flooding.

At 2:30 p.m., Ludlow Town Manager Brendan McNamara said that the town had experienced no mudslides “yet. The things we fixed (after the July 10 floods and mudslides in that town) seem to be holding.” He added that the Emergency Management Team was on top of the situation, and that no one has had to be evacuated although the town was monitoring the mobile home park across from the high school.

Ludlow had been hit especially hard on July 10, with mudslides, evacuations and flooding of numerous homes and businesses.

Chester Town Manager Julie Hance said that a small number of roads in that town were closed including Green Mountain Turnpike between Route 11 and Route 103; Kingsbury Road off Route 11 West; Dean Brook Road in Gassetts; and portions of Lovers Lane and Smokeshire Road. But she said the worst was Popple Dungeon Road on the South Branch of the Williams River off Route 35 South.

Video by Ken Slater of Chester.

Ken Slater and his wife Suellen had to abandon their car as they headed down Popple Dungeon Road in Chester Vermont this morning. The South Branch had jumped the banks at a curve in the road and proceeded to tear up a large swath of the dirt road all the way down to its paved section about half a mile away. Slater said as the pair returned home up the “sort of one lane” road remaining, several large chunks of roadway gave way offering them incentive to “pick up our pace.”

Popple Dungeon, a mostly hard-packed dirt road, lost about 3/4 of a mile of roadway when the river breached the bank at a curve. Hance said crews were expected Tuesday morning to repair the damage. During Irene, that road lost a large culvert and about a mile of roadway.

By 2 p.m., VTrans had shut down Route 11 near Route 100, where a controversial old dam remains at the West River.

In the Gassetts area of Chester, a collision between a tractor-trailer and a car shut down that Route 10 between Routes 103 and 106. The tractor-trailer hit a pole knocking out power to 130 customers, while Weston saw an outage of nearly 600 customers earlier this morning, but that dropped to just under 200 by 11 a.m.

According to Kristin Kelly of Green Mountain Power the cause for many of the outages was downed trees. “You have a heavy rain event with gusty winds and that combination takes down trees,” she said.

The two other major disruptions were in Wardsboro with two incidents and 627 customers without power and Winhall where one incident left 493 customers out. Those have since been restored.

By 4 p.m., however, the lights were back on in most of the towns in the area. The crash on Route 10 was cleared, the road reopened and power restored. There were a a few single outages with the state total dropping to below 1,000.

Kelly said that GMP has restored power to 3,100 customers in Windsor County with about 300 still out. The majority of those are in Weathersfield with 196 customers waiting for power to be restored as of 4:30 p.m.

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Filed Under: AndoverCavendishChesterFeaturedLatest NewsLondonderryWestonWindham

About the Author: Cynthia Prairie has been a newspaper editor more than 40 years. Cynthia has worked at such publications as the Raleigh Times, the Baltimore News American, the Buffalo Courier Express, the Chicago Sun-Times and the Patuxent Publishing chain of community newspapers in Maryland, and has won numerous state awards for her reporting. As an editor, she has overseen her staffs to win many awards for indepth coverage. She and her family moved to Chester, Vermont in 2004.

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  1. Thom Simmons says:

    Cynthia, Many thanks to you and the Chester Telegraph for this wonderful coverage, and literally being the only media in the state that covered most of these incidents. Based on what I saw and read in other area and statewide media, I was almost led to conclude that Vermont doesn’t exist south of route 4.