Flood of August 2011

"Irene roared through on Sunday, first with steadily increasing rains and later with winds. Rainfall estimates ranged from 6.45 inches at a measuring gauge on Waitsfield Common Road to 5.7 inches on the Center Fayston Road.  The flooding in Vermont either equals or rivals the flood of 1927 depending on which stream gauge is used. Flood stage at the Moretown gauge of the Mad River is nine feet.  Sunday, the water crested at 19.06 feet which is just shy of the 19.4 feet in 1927.  Some reports have the bridge cresting one-eighth of an inch higher than 1927." ~ The Valley Reporter, Sept. 1, 2011, p. 1.

The day before Irene hit, the Mad River was trickling through the Moretown measuring station at a little less than 100 cfs, at a river height of 3 feet.  At the peak of the storm, however, the Mad hit a peak of 22,900 cfs and a height of 18.64 feet--breaking the previous record of 18,400 cfs and 16.34 feet from 1938." ~ Wicked Outdoorsy blog post.


Waitsfield Selectboard Special Meeting
Monday, September 19, 2011, 7:00 p.m.
Valley Players Theater, 4254 Main Street

Were you affected by the Hurricane Irene Flood? Have you been helping others who were? The Waitsfield Selectboard will be hosting a post-flood community meeting to hear from citizens and share information. It’s an opportunity to check in to see how things are going, to learn what remains to be done, and share information about resources, ideas, successes, concerns, and needs.  Topics will include, but not be limited to:

  • status update of roads and bridges
  • what's up with the Covered Bridge?
  • status of volunteer efforts
  • FEMA updates
  • cleanup and recovery updates
  • success stories
  • less-than-success stories
  • unmet needs
  • preparedness for future events
  • other stuff

For more information, feel free to contact Town Administrator Valerie Capels at (802) 496-2218 or by e-mail at [email protected].

September 6, 2011
Flood-Related Instream Work in Waitsfield

Officials and staff from the Town of Waitsfield met with Patrick Ross, River Management Engineer at the VT Agency of Natural Resources, on Monday, September 5. They visited a number of key sites on the Mad River in Waitsfield that were affected by the recent flood. The outcome of the meeting was technical direction from Ross to the Town to immediately undertake work in five sites both to repair flood damage and to reduce future flood impacts to Town and private property. The specific sites are listed below, and in all areas the work will include removal of gravel and some reshaping of the river channel as a result. Gravel that is removed will be stockpiled on the Town's Tardy property (as approved by Ross) for use on Town roads. The five sites, listed in the intended work sequence, include:

  1. Immediately downstream of the Covered Bridge to reduce the level of the capture pond
  2. Downstream of the Rt 100 bridge at Mill Brook
  3. Gravel bar at Lareau Swimming hole
  4. Upstream side of Rt 100 bridge near Lareau Farm
  5. Upstream side of Rt 100 bridge adjacent to the Town's "Tardy Parcel" (opposite Lareau Farm)

Any questions or concerns about municipal matters related to flood recovery should be directed to Valerie Capels at the Waitsfield Town Office: 496-2218.

September 5, 2011
Message to the Community

The Waitsfield Incident Command Team met on Sunday, September 4, and has issued the following messages to the community:

  • Do not swim or wade in the river or any waters affected by flooding. Any waters affected by flooding should be considered contaminated, and therefore unsafe for swimming or consumption. In addition, at any time that floodwaters are rising, people should avoid unnecessary travel and stay away from flooding areas.
  • Wells in or downstream of flooded areas may be contaminated, and should be treated as such until tested. The Health Department recommends testing wells at least one week after treatment. Free test kits and more information are available by calling the Vermont Health Department Barre District office at 1-888-253-8786. Announcements will be made when free test kits become available at the Volunteer Headquarters at the Masonic Lodge in Waitsfield.
  • Owners of residential or business properties should take the following two steps: 1) report damages to the state by calling 211, and 2) register with FEMA by calling 800-621-FEMA (3362) or by going to www.disasterassistance.gov. The Waitsfield Zoning Administrator will be working with property owners in the designated flood hazard areas to ensure that property recovery is in compliance with floodplain regulations adopted by the Town. The Town will also have fact sheets on FHA requirements for affected property owners.
  • The Volunteer Headquarters that is based in Waitsfield to coordinate direct service for the communities of Moretown, Waitsfield, Warren, Granville, and Hancock will remain in operation. The need for the headquarters will be assessed on a regular basis, and services will be scaled in response to needs.
  • Even as recovery from Irene is still a top priority, Waitsfield is developing its preparedness for future storm events. Floodplain regulations are already in place as an important first line of storm preparedness, and the Town will pursue funds for specific mitigation activities as they become available.
  • During the period of flood recovery, there may be situations when instream digging or moving of gravel is appropriate. Anyone, private (including agricultural) or municipal, who would like to work instream must call Patrick Ross of the Agency of Natural Resources for technical coordination: (802) 476-2679.
  • With flash flood warnings in place through Tuesday morning, September 6, the Incident Command Team recommends that all Waitsfield residents stay tuned to weather forecasts and road reports. If any evacuations are necessary, affected residents will be notified directly.

Any questions or concerns about municipal matters related to flood recovery should be directed to Valerie Capels at the Waitsfield Town Office: 496-2218. Requests for assistance or offers of support should be directed to the Volunteer Headquarters: (802) 496-6089.

Waitsfield Declaration of Emergency, August 29, 2011


Monday morning. Aug 29: Volunteer mobilization team begins
Monday morning. Aug 29: Volunteer mobilization team begins

Media Coverage

VIDEO: Propane tank hitting covered bridge - water levels raise fast, The Valley Reporter, Aug. 28, 2011
PHOTOS: Updated 08-29-11 Flooding due to Irene, The Valley Reporter, August 29, 2011
VIDEO: Standing wave hitting Waitsfield Covered Bridge, The Valley Reporter, Aug. 30, 2011
PHOTOS: Cleanup on Bridge Street Waitsfield, The Valley Reporter, Aug. 30, 2011
Flooded Waitsfield Businesses Begin Slow Cleanup, Burlington Free Press, Sept. 1, 2011
MRV farms devastated by the flood, The Valley Reporter, Sept. 1, 2011; PDF
Donations pouring into Mad River Valley Community Fund, The Valley Reporter, Sept. 1, 2011; PDF
Road conditions in the Mad River Valley, The Valley Reporter, Sept. 1, 2011
Massive cleanup underway throughout The Valley, The Valley Reporter, Sept. 2, 2011
PHOTOS: Relief Drive at Waitsfield School, The Valley Reporter, Sept. 3, 2011
PHOTOS: MRV Flood HQ in Waitsfield, The Valley Reporter, Sept. 4, 2011
Vermont Edition: Floods Overtake Farm Fields At Peak Season, Vermont Public Radio, by Jane Lindholm, Sept. 7, 2011


Town Administrator


Waitsfield Town Office
9 Bridge Street
Waitsfield, VT 05673

Phone: (802) 496-2218
Fax: (802) 496-9284
E-mail: [email protected]