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Prepare for possible flooding

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Monday was a day we've all been hoping for with beautiful weather and temperatures, but the Winooski River is telling a different story. The water is raging and roaring as all the snow we've been waiting for to melt is causing water levels to raise to dangerous levels which could mean some serious flooding. 

The weather was a welcome surprise after one of the longest and coldest winters the region has seen in recent history. And many people took to the great outdoors.

"Spring is here, I'm excited, kids get to come out of the house and walk the dog. It's beautiful," said Lashon McGee, a local resident.

"It's been an icy, cold winter, so we've been inside doing a lot of indoor stuff so it's great to just get out," said Jason Antkowiak.

But, in true Vermont fashion, the nicer weather may not be here to stay. It's gone from snow to mud -- and now to floods. 

"The National Weather Service is projecting the Winooski River to crest in Montpelier at around 14 and-a-half feet. 15 feet on lower State Street by the cemetery is flood stage," said Montpelier Fire Chief Robert Gowans.

The City of Montpelier, which has struggled with flood damage in the past, has already issued a warning to residents and business owners to take the proper precautions for basement flooding.  "The concern is that when the Winooski River rises to those levels, the North Branch River -- as you see behind me -- isn't able to dump out into the Winooski. It backs up and that causes a lot of flooding on Elm Street, Langdon Street and the storefront's on Main Street," said Gowans.

Experts say the peak time for flooding will be late Tuesday into Wednesday as another round of snow and rain is expected to make landfall starting late Monday. This extra water combined with the already melting snow could put rivers and Lake Champlain over the edge.

Since waters have not yet risen to flood level, it's best to use this time to get prepared, especially if your home or business is prone to basement flooding. Make sure to turn off all basement electrical power, and be cautious when driving because you may not be able to see the hidden dangers underneath large puddles.

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