Tropical Storm Irene ripped through Vermont on Sunday, August 28, 2011 and we are still seeing the effects years later. Houses were washed away, businesses demolished, irreplaceable personal items… gone. Flooding destroyed roads, farms were decimated and the environment was severely impacted. These striking images show just how severe the damage was to our beloved state.
Route 4 / Route 100 South of Killington was completely destroyed.
Hurricane Irene was a large and destructive tropical cyclone, which affected much of the Caribbean and East Coast of the United States during late August 2011.
Digging out from the floodwaters in West Bridgewater.
Throughout its path, Irene caused widespread destruction and at least 56 deaths. Damage estimates throughout the United States are estimated near $15.6 billion, which made it the seventh costliest hurricane in United States history.
A destroyed house in Rochester, VT.
Route 4 / Route 100 South of Killington from a distance.
Vermont declared a state of emergency on August 27, in preparation for the hurricane's arrival. In a joint statement, Vermont electric utilities announced that they planned to have extra staff on hand, but no one knew how hard Irene would hit.
Bill Lockwood of Charlotte, Vermont in his Suburban on US Route 2.
His diesel Chevy Suburban with a makeshift snorkel fords about 30" of water.
After the crossing water drained from all four doors.
The vast snowmobile bridge near Waterbury flexes as debris and water rush past.
Additional damage on Route 4 / Route 100.
The National Weather Service stated that it anticipated 2 - 7 inches throughout Vermont, with the risk of flooding near streams and rivers as well as significant tree damage and damage to power lines.
Route 4 / Route 100 South of Killington eaten up by fast flowing waters.
A submerged garage and vehicles just outside Waterbury.
In fact, some parts of Vermont got up to 11 inches of rain in 24 hours.
Cars and a tractor look like toys from the air as they are jumbled about and buried in sand and silt.
Route 100 near Killington.
Almost every river and stream in Vermont flooded, resulting in six deaths.
Behind this sign was a house for sale - no trace of it remains.
Some people exit their property by canoe as they paddle past a submerged full-size truck.
In Wilmington, the flood level of the Deerfield River east branch reportedly exceeded levels measured during the 1938 New England hurricane – the only other tropical cyclone to make a direct hit on Vermont in the state's recorded history.
A makeshift walking bridge allows access to Route 100.
Throughout Vermont, numerous covered bridges, many over 100 years old, were damaged or destroyed.
A clean break in the road leaves this section of Route 100 impassible and abandoned.
More than 500 miles of roads and 200 bridges were damaged or destroyed.
A destroyed house in Rochester, VT.
A backhoe works to repair a huge washout just outside Pittsfield.
Extensive road damage resulted in the isolation of nearly a dozen rural towns that would require helicopter air-lifts of necessities in the days immediately following the storm.
Route 4 between Killington, VT and Mendon, VT. Huge chunks of highway had turned into 20' cliffs.
Irene decimated multiple sections of U.S. Route 4 between Rutland and Quechee, making east/west travel through the southern part of state nearly impossible.
A barn and equipment just off Route 2.
Collapsed base lodge at Killington Ski Area.
The resort town of Killington as well as neighboring Pittsfield were among over a dozen communities that were cut off from the outside world, some for several days.
Standing floodwater remained in the East Pittsford, Vermont area on Wednesday, 4 days after the storm.
A woman waves up as she works to clean and dry her home on Wednesday near Pittsfield.
Relief concerts were organized by local Vermont bands such as Phish and Grace Potter and the Nocturnals.
Sections of Route 100 destroyed.
By December the state was recovering more quickly than originally expected.
A residence in West Bridgewater.
Route 4 between Killington, and Mendon.
Within a month of the storm 84 of 118 closed sections of state highway, and 28 of 34 bridges, had been reopened.
In Waitsfield, Vermont three structures are emptied of wet belongings on Wednesday.
Headed south on Route 100 from Middlesex. Notice the washed out bridge.
One year after the tragic storm
New York Daily News
estimated the damages at $733 million and 117,000 residents who lost power.
While no one can forget how this storm devastated Vermont, it is also important to remember how communities banded together and friends and neighbors tirelessly assisted in repairing the damage and helping in whatever ways they could.