Flooding in Johnson brings memories of Tropical Storm Irene for some

Published: Jul. 11, 2023 at 5:08 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 11, 2023 at 7:25 PM EDT
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JOHNSON, Vt. (WCAX) - The water started to recede in Johnson on Tuesday, but the impact of the flooding there was still being felt, as in many other towns across the state.

From downtown Johnson to a nearby trailer park to a flooded organic farm, the high waters are leaving an impact.

“It’s devastating,” said Tracy Chaleff of Johnson. “Memories of Irene.”

“There’s going to be some people who are going to be tough coming back from this,” said Richard Whittemore of Johnson.

Cars and houses were left covered in water.

“It’s pretty bad. The doors to houses look like small windows,” said Dale Johnson of Bourne’s Energy.

Route 15, the main road that stretches through downtown Johnson, looked like a river with boats rowing through the street.

“Kind of sad when you have to go out in a boat,” Chaleff said.

Some were out to prevent any more damage, like Johnson, who was shutting off propane tanks.

“We didn’t care whose company it was. We secured every one of them or tied them off,” he said.

An up-close look showed the high water surrounding the Sterling Market and other businesses. The cost of all the damage to businesses and houses is still unclear.

“The Sterling Market is something we may not have around here that we take for granted,” Whittemore said.

Down the road in Morristown, the water was still running high at midday, closing roads and making it nearly impossible to get to Hardwick.

“It sucks to put broadly,” said Marc Cote of Morristown. “You can’t get anywhere. Everything is shut down basically. You can’t go south, you can’t go west, you can’t go east. Wherever you are at, that’s where you are.”

At what would normally be an access area to put your canoe in the Lamoille River, it’s now impossible to tell where the river actually starts because it’s so high.

Some say it’s a part of life in the region.

“Been there before... been a while. Irene and other situations,” said Carroll Lawrence of Morrisville.

Back in Johnson, the focus now turns to the cleanup.

“Came in quick and thank god it’s leaving quick,” Whittemore said.

Crews were actively working through the day Tuesday as the water started to go down.

Some people did need to be saved from their homes. I’m told there were no serious injuries.

Folks now are just waiting to evaluate the damage.

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