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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

More Reminders from the State

Excerpt from a VERMONT EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT 
news release of 5/31/11, 11a.m.
Flood/Recovery Update

Landslides:  Homeowners and citizens are urged to keep a close eye on conditions around their homes due to heightened landslide concerns.  State Geologist Laurence Becker says this activity includes small landslides, cracks in the ground, or any other unusual ground conditions that were not previously there.

Other things to look for:
  • Look for changes in landscape and water drainage, or new cracks in foundations and sidewalks.
  • Watch the patterns of storm-water drainage on slopes near your home or business, and note especially the places where runoff water converges, increasing flow over soil-covered slopes. Watch the hillsides around your home or business for signs of land movement, such as small landslides or debris flows or progressively tilting trees.  Anyone who notices these signs should call their local fire or police.
 211:  Those homeowners who have suffered damage in the most recent floods are asked to call 2-1-1 to report that damage.

Current Road closures:  Rt. 5 in Barnet/Passumpsic / Rt. 14 E. Montpelier / Rt. 2 Cabot
Several other local roads are closed; please respect all road closures.
 For road closures dial 511 or go to www.511vt.com.

Mark Bosma, Public Information Officer, Vermont Emergency Management
(800) 347-0488   http://vem.vermont.gov

Monday, May 30, 2011

State Emergency Mgmt. Info of 5/29/11

Flood Recovery: What Communities and Individuals Should be Doing Now
 
5/29/2011  WATERBURY – As cleanup continues from Friday’s flooding around Vermont there are certain things communities and individuals should keep in mind.
 
The process of obtaining financial assistance from the federal government from late April and early May flooding is on-going.  Vermont completed its part of the process Friday when Governor Peter Shumlin sent a formal request to President Barack Obama for a disaster declaration.  The process of approving such a request can take one week to several weeks.
 
That request did not include damages from Friday’s event.  However, Vermont Emergency Management is working with the Governor to submit an addendum to that request to include Friday’s storms.  To be approved FEMA must agree that the flooding is part of the same weather pattern that caused previous floods.  For example, FEMA must agree that saturated ground conditions are a result of soaking rains over the past month.
 
If FEMA declines that request Vermont will begin the process of obtaining a separate disaster declaration for this week’s event.  Either way, communities and homeowners should follow the steps below in order to start the disaster declaration process.
 
The process of getting FEMA assistance and what communities should be doing now:
  1. Cities and towns should keep close track of all recovery costs, to include:
    1. All materials (including fuel for vehicles) to repair roads, bridges, or other public infrastructure and town buildings.
    2. Pay for municipal employees who are taking part in the recovery, including overtime costs.  This can include office staff working to support those efforts.
    3. Cost of contractors used in the recovery.
    4. Extra costs incurred by the storm.  For instance, if there is a cost associated with closing school above and beyond normal expenses, those may be included.
    5. Costs incurred preparing for the storm; that could include overtime paid to staff acting as spotters along rivers.
  2. Communities should compile all costs and report them to Vermont Emergency Management.
  3. VEM will work with the Agency of Transportation to verify some of the costs.
  4. VEM and AOT will then do a joint local/state/FEMA Preliminary Damage Assessment (PDA).
 
If this event is not included in the previous declaration request, Vermont will need to show at least $1-million in new, verified statewide damages suffered this week.  Individual counties would then have to meet a pre-established threshold to qualify for a FEMA declaration.  That level is total qualified public damages of $3.27 per capita in that county.  These are not the only factors involved in receiving a Public Assistance disaster declaration, but the monetary levels are the biggest indicator.
 
Aid to individuals, private homeowners, business owners, renters, and others is more difficult to come by and Vermont has not qualified for so-called “Individual Assistance” since 2002.  However, Individual Assistance was included in the request submitted by Governor Shumlin this week.
 
Failing an IA declaration, the most likely alternative could be Small Business Administration loans (http://www.sba.gov/taxonomy/term/99).   These funds are advertised as below-market interest rate loans used to help individuals recover.  They would be made available to homeowners, business owners, some non-profits, and renters to recoup uninsured flood losses.
 
What homeowners and individuals should be doing now:
  1. Ensure your home is safe to return to by having your electrical and heating systems inspected by qualified professionals.
  2. Begin cleanup right away.  Delay in cleaning up can cause things like mildew to spread and make cleanup more difficult.
  3. Contact your insurance company.
  4. Keep close records of how much it costs to clean your home and how much of your property has been lost.
  5. REPORT ALL DAMAGES/LOSSES AND RECOVERY COSTS VERMONT 211.  211 is working with Emergency Management to collect damage reports for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
 
www.511vt.com – road closures
www.vem.vermont.gov – links to flooding tips and resources.
http://www.erh.noaa.gov/er/btv/: Forecasts and warnings from the National Weather Service
 
Mark Bosma, Public Information Officer
Vermont Emergency Management

Be Cautious

Be cautious when driving through Peacham and other surrounding towns.  We don't have enough signs or cones to mark places where roads have been damaged.  


Route 2 is still closed by Goodrich Maple Farm but Hookerville Cutoff is open from Macks Mtn Road to Route 2 if you need to head southwest.

Submit Photos of Storm Damage

You can send photos of storm damage -- with the specific location -- to volfire@peacham.net.    We need to document the storm damage to apply for federal emergency funding assistance.  

Responses to Flash Flooding

The town experienced unprecedented road damage from the storm the night of Thursday, 5/26/2011.  Peacham had more than 5" of rain in less than 3 hours, along with high winds, electrical storms, and flash flooding.  Most of our roads experienced washouts and undercutting.


The road crew responded through that same night by cutting downed trees, attempting to unplug culverts and divert water where possible, then lining up extra manpower and equipment for morning. 


For the next three days the road crew began work at 5:30am to get all roads at least minimally passable so people were not stranded in their homes.  By Sunday 5/29/11 when the gravel was gone and gravel yards closed for the holiday weekend, all homes are at least accessible to fire trucks or other emergency vehicles.


We thank the road crew, extra help, and the many volunteers who worked long hours through this weekend by organizing emergency responses, checking on neighbors, and countless other tasks.


Now a different phase of work begins to get the roads wider and safer.  And to hopefully get FEMA assistance to help pay for it.