The man who drowned in his home was the first death in Vermont linked to recent hurricanes and historic flooding, the state emergency agency said.
Stephen Davoll, 63, of Barre, died on Wednesday, said Mark Bosma, a spokesman for the Vermont Office of Emergency Management.
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner was investigating the death in cooperation with local police, Bosma said in a press release late Thursday evening. He said Vermonters are urged to continue to take extra care as they return to their homes and repair damage.
“Losing a Vermonter is always painful, but this week it’s especially painful,” Vermont U.S. Senator Peter Welch said in a statement.
This was the second death associated with flooding caused by the storm system and epic flooding in the northeast this week. The first was in New York — the body of a woman was found after she was washed away in Fort Montgomery, a small community on the Hudson River about 45 miles (72 km) north of New York.
On Thursday evening it rained again in the region. There were no immediate reports of flash flooding. A tornado warning has been issued for parts of the state and Vermont. There were strong winds, but there was no evidence of a tornado and no reports of major damage.
When the flood waters receded, the good news was that there were no new rescue operations, the dams stood, and the roads reopened. The bad news was that the storms weren’t over. Rain is expected on Friday, Sunday and next week.
“The period we’re more worried about is Sunday because it could be more common and severe, but nowhere near the scale of what we saw earlier in the week,” National Weather Service meteorologist Seth Kutikoff said.
Gov. Phil Scott said it’s important for Vermonters to be vigilant, including staying out of the water.
“We have seen many photos of children swimming in flood waters on social media. It’s not your typical rainwater – it’s filled with chemicals, oil, waste, and more. It’s just not safe,” he said.
Other New England states to the south were also drying up, including Connecticut, where officials have warned boaters and others of dangerous debris in the Connecticut River, including large trees. The wharf, with several boats attached, was washed away at Glastonbury, south of Hartford, and was seen floating down the river for several towns.
In Vermont, communities have been cleaning up floods that in some places were more destructive than Tropical Storm Irene of 2011 and were considered the worst natural disaster since the 1927 flood, which killed dozens and caused widespread destruction. Unlike this event, no injuries or deaths were reported from the floods this week.
Transportation officials moved equipment to areas deemed more flood-prone to prepare for new storms as they continued to assess damage, including to rail lines. Amtrak and other rail services have been suspended.
Scott sent President Joe Biden a request for a major disaster announcement. “This is separate from and in addition to the federal emergency declaration that the President has already signed” on Tuesday, he said. If approved, the declaration will provide federal support to recovering communities.
In the small Vermont capital of Montpelier, where the Winooski River flooded downtown, an elevator in City Hall was damaged, rendering the building inaccessible, spokeswoman Evelyn Prim said.
“Cleaning City Hall of dangerous flood damage is expected to take several months. In this regard, the city hall will be closed until further notice,” she said.
Offers of help poured in, including free pet food from the Morrisville Animal Shelter and fundraisers for water and non-perishable food at the University of Vermont. The Vermont Main Street Flood Relief Fund was established to help small businesses, and the Vermont Community Foundation established a fund to support long-term efforts by individuals and communities. The annual Do Good Fest concert in Montpellier will be broadcast live and will be a fundraiser.
“One of the defining truths about Vermont is that Vermonters care about each other,” said Dan Smith, CEO of the foundation. “We have seen this during the pandemic; we saw it during Tropical Storm Irene.”
McCormack reported from Concord, New Hampshire. Associated Press reporters Lisa Rathke of Marshfield, Vermont, David Collins of Hartford, Conn., and Michael Casey of Boston contributed to this report.
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