Rutland cleanup underway - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Rutland cleanup underway

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With Sunshine serving as a spotlight, crews spent Tuesday sizing up the aftermath of superstorm Sandy.

As expected, the storm took down trees and knocked out power to more than 40,000 people, mostly in Southern Vermont.

There was a pretty good wind blowing and a fair amount of rain but I did not think it was anything exceptional," said John Mahoney of Rutland Town.

Communication and preparation were highly stressed in this storm, but that advice was heeded in different ways. "I had pretty much everything I needed," Mahoney said.

"I thought we were going to be fine until I realized I had not stored enough water, I couldn't find the candles, I had no idea who to call and we were just stupidly helpless," said Cynthia Baker of Rutland Town.

Rutland Mayor Chris Louras said the city dodged a bullet, but does not believe the storm was over-hyped and added that each event is a lesson learned. "We ensured we had all of our equipment checked and we had everything we needed. We didn't have to go, but when everyone else was looking for generators, pumps and chain saws," Louras said.

This was one of the most visible scars from Irene but was also a major concern during Sandy. Mayor Louras said the land is very vulnerable and worried that downed trees could dam up the city's water source.

"The road system -- because we had such a light winter last year with limited snow melt run off -- the road systems have not been tested to see how they are going to respond to future water events," Louras said.

GMP officials had 1,000 workers ready to hit the road when the storm hit. They say their policy is prioritize tasks that benefit the most people, making the last leg of the cleanup race the longest.

"We have somewhere around 400 separate incidences and repairs we have to make. Sometimes that means fixing a fuse, sometimes it means setting a couple new poles, so that will take a while," said GMP's Dotty Schnure.

Cynthia Baker said the utility crews and city officials are not the only ones learning lessons from the storm.  "I am going to have more water on hand, I'm going to have a pizza delivered by a town that is not effected, so we can have a hot dinner -- I need to get candles and batteries," she said.

GMP officials say they will not send the contracted crews home until all of their customers are back online.

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