Vt. officials offer advice to flood-ravaged Colo. - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vt. officials offer advice to flood-ravaged Colo.

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Drive through parts of Boulder County, Colo., and you'll find destruction in every direction.

"It's a lot like what we experienced in 2011 with Tropical Storm Irene," said Sue Minter, the deputy secretary of the Vt. Agency of Transportation and former Irene Recovery Officer.

Minter is there. Colorado officials brought her in to help assess the damage from deadly flooding, where steep mountains funneled a torrent of water into towns, and to help guide road and bridge repair.

"Here we have been sharing some advice, giving some lessons learned from Irene," Minter said.

Record rain in Colorado wiped out 200 miles of roads and 50 state bridges. Comparable damage was seen across the Green Mountains two years ago. At least seven people are dead in Colorado; six lives were lost here during Irene. But 200 people are still unaccounted for in Colorado.

"Really here they are in the rescue operation, people are still missing," Minter said. "We have a real special kinship for Colorado at this time, knowing how close we are to what they are experiencing."

Minter and her team advised Colorado's governor and transportation officials on setting up an incident command center and what to expect in the weeks and months to come.

Progress is being made already-- roads rebuilt. Thursday, the first wave of Colorado residents returned home and they're coming back to a muddy mess.

"Neighbors are already coming together to help each other and fundraising has already begun," Minter said. "So many of the things we saw in Vermont."

And like Irene, the storm in Colorado leaves that state with clean up and rebuilding that will take years.

Reporter Darren Perron: How long do you anticipate the recovery to last there in Colorado?

Sue Minter: It is one of the messages we have to give them, reminding them that this is a long-term process. It is a marathon, not a sprint.

Minter says road and bridge repairs, like in Vermont, could take up to three years in Colorado, and getting everyone back in their homes-- possibly longer. She advised the governor to look at the home buyout program. Minter expects to be in Colorado until Sunday. The state of Colorado is paying for the trip.

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