October 24, 2014

Storms affect town

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Observer staff report

Record-setting rainstorms last week have kept Williston police and public works crews busy. Public Works Director Bruce Hoar said his department is still stabilizing roads after heavy rain last Wednesday and Thursday washed out culverts and flooded roadways.

Hoar said Redmond Road lost two driveway culverts and suffered erosion damage in ditches, while River Cove Road flooding caused an “extensive washout and flooded a home,” Hoar said. Hurricane Lane also sustained some damage, he said.

Williston police reported that last Thursday’s heavy rain caused flooding on Mountain View Road between Paya’s Auto and Katie Lane, as well as flooding and debris on St. George Road.

Police responding to a 10 p.m. report of flooding on Mountain View Road said Paya’s Auto was “completely under water to the tops of the cars in the lot,” and the owner was notified so the cars could be moved. Hoar said it was dark, but it appeared that “the water was halfway up the cars closest to the road.” A Paya’s employee declined to comment when contacted by the Observer.

Police also responded to reports of flooding on St. George Road at approximately 9:20 p.m. near Walker Hill Road and discovered the “southbound lane was inundated by water and that 6-10 (inch) rocks were covering the roadway in both lanes making a serious traffic hazard,” according to police reports. The road was closed while town and state highway crews removed the rocks.

According to National Weather Service data for the Burlington airport—the closest observation point to Williston—the area received 6.51 inches of rain from May 22-26, including a heavy 2.26 inches on May 23. Hoar’s research on the NOAA website showed that the May 22 storm produced a record-setting 1.43 inches of rain. He also noted that on May 23, 1.26 inches of rain fell in less than an hour. “You can’t design for that,” Hoar said.

A FEMA crew was dispatched to survey the damage countywide. Hoar is fairly confident that the damage will meet the $1 million mark, which he said is the point at which the federal government will provide the state with money for repair and rebuilding. For now, “we’re just trying to make things safe,” he said.

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