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Shumlin Tours Damage

Williamstown, Vt. — Gov. Peter Shumlin, touring yet another flood ravaged Vermont community Tuesday, heard from Williamstown officials and residents who were starting to clean up mud and add up the damage after the sky opened again overnight.

Shumlin was joined by Mark Landry, the top Federal Emergency Management Agency official for Vermont, who has been working in the state almost non-stop since Tropical Storm Irene inundated much of the state almost two years ago.

“We have not seen things like this. It’s extraordinary, it’s unusual, I don’t know if it’s a phenomenon or if it’s the new normal,” Landry said after touring the flooded business district in Williamstown village. “Business, unfortunately, has been very good in the emergency management world.”

Shumlin, who has visited flood scenes in Warren, Underhill, Granville and other communities in recent weeks, is frustrated.

“We can’t keep our heads above water. We can’t get rid of this rain,” he said. “It’s just unrelenting and discouraging.”

In the last 16 days, damaging amounts of rain have fallen in localized flash floods that overflowed rivers and streams, cutting roads, turning yards into swamps across central Vermont and frustrating many people eager for summer sun. Two people have been swept away and died after swimming in fast-moving rivers.

Before the recent downpours, there were rainy periods in May and earlier in June. There have been similar problems in New York and New Hampshire. The weather pattern has been caused by an unprecedented meteorological blocking pattern that has kept the moist tropical air center over the Northeast as well as much of the eastern United States, said Scott Whittier, with the National Weather Service office in Burlington.

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