Flood watch issued for broad swath of Vermont on Thursday

By ERIN PETENKO

VTDigger

Published: 07-12-2023 5:39 PM

A line of thunderstorms is predicted to pass through Vermont on Thursday afternoon, bringing strong winds of up to 10 mph and up to 1½ inches of rain that could cause flash flooding because of high water levels from Monday’s storm, the National Weather Service warned on Wednesday.

The weather service issued a flood watch for Thursday for most of central and northern Vermont, except for Grand Isle County and the western edge of Franklin and Chittenden counties.

An additional storm might hit on Friday, but Thursday is projected to be the worst day of the two, said Rebecca Duell, a meteorologist for the weather service’s Burlington office.

Duell said the forecast is “in no way a repeat” of the rainfall earlier this week, when up to 9 inches of rain fell in parts of central and southern Vermont.

But the water already logged in Vermont’s soil and an array of busted culverts and strained infrastructure could lead to new problems.

“Usually we would be able to handle these amounts of rainfall just fine,” Duell said. “The concern is just that, right now more than ever, there’s nowhere for the water to go.”

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The main hazard in Thursday’s storm is expected to be flash flooding, particularly in streams and creeks, she said. River flooding like the kind seen along the Winooski and Lamoille rivers on Tuesday is less likely.

She advised against camping near bodies of water in the state, and urged Vermonters to have a way to get information about flash flood warnings should they occur.

Looking ahead, Duell said the current conditions suggested regular rainfall and storms are likely to extend into at least the end of this weekend.

“It looks like this really warm, muggy, moist air mask (will) stay in place, which means that we’re gonna have a thunderstorm threat most days,” she said.

She warned that the state may be in the midst of a “long duration event.” The worst of it is probably over, she said, but not all of it, and additional localized issues will occur.

“Be vigilant. Monitor the forecasts,” she said.