New UNH survey tracks flood impact on Vermonters

Published: Aug. 29, 2023 at 11:56 AM EDT
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DURHAM, N.H. (WCAX) - A University of New Hampshire survey is tracking the impact of July’s flooding on Vermonters across the state.

The Green Mountain State Poll was released Tuesday by UNH’s Survey Center. It found that out of nearly 500 people surveyed, one-third say that they were affected in some way, either by losing power, damaged roads, or destroyed homes or workplaces.

“This affected the entire state so we all should get back and give back and try to help the communities that were affected most,” said Gov. Phil Scott last week.

As for the state response, nearly three-quarters of Vermonters approve of the governor’s handling of the floods.

Two-thirds believe the floods were the result of human-caused climate change and that is a concern for towns and cities in the future.

“I mean, this is a hard picture of what the weather is becoming, and that is a result of what we are doing to our environment. So, are we at the tipping point? I think it’s a real issue,” said Alan Kessler, a Barre resident.

The survey is part of UNH’s States of Opinion project, highlighting topics that might be overlooked. According to the survey, which was conducted between August 17 to 21, many parts of Vermont were severely affected, with 71 percent of central Vermonters saying they were personally impacted.

Andrew Smith, a UNH political science professor, hopes the survey will make people more aware of others still struggling to recover.

“It’s obviously something of concern. When you’ve got 10% percent of people saying that their town has either not recovered very much or not much at all -- that’s a fairly significant number, and winter will be coming soon,” he said.

The survey says towns and cities are still recovering, with a little more than one-third still somewhat-or-less along than others.

Some we spoke to say the state needs to come up with a strategy if this were to happen again. “It’s going to happen again,” said Timothy Bashaw of Barre. “We are not out of the woods here in Barre.”

Smith says the data will help Vermonters better understand how to combat situations like this in the future.