NOTE TO FRIENDS AND FAMILY
If you can't reach us by phone or internet please DO NOT PANIC and assume the worst. Our phone lines have been going in and out and many conversations get cut off, but that is about the extent of the problem. According to the news, Jamaica was one of the hardest hit towns in Vermont. It's a stressful situation but we are survivors.
These are a few notes on the locations mentioned bellow. My mother (Janet Hamilton)'s house is just past mine on the way to Stratton Mountain, only about 3 miles from the resort. It is still in Jamaica, however. My grandmother (who passed away years ago) had a house a little down the road in the other direction, 5 miles from the center of Jamaica. There are 3 culverts in the road nearby. One is in between my place and my mothers, and right next to where my driveway ends. The other is just past my grandmother's old house, the other a very short distance from that one.
Sunday, the day of the storm: At about noon, I got a call from my mom. She was worried because a portion of the road between her house and mine was completely flooded (where the culvert was). After reassuring her I'd be fine I went down the driveway to see what the damage was.
The brook by my house hadn't gotten that high on my bank, but the water was really rushing. The water had flooded the other side pretty far, and at least two big trees had been knocked down. As I went down further I could see that the water had come over the road from the end of my driveway to the culvert. I couldn't get close enough to the culvert to see clearly but there was already a black line where the pavement had been washed away. Down by my grandmother's old house, the water from the brook had washed over the road and completely covered the field across the street.
I stayed to get some pictures, but I started hearing the trees creaking and I wasn't about to have a tree fall on me, so I got back inside. Around the same time, mom got some (better) pictures of the other side of the culvert. After calling my mom again to see if she was ok, it was getting dark out so with nothing better to do, I went to bed. However, it wasn't easy sleeping with the wind and water rushing, things thudding down, and birds squawking all night. Our houses are up high on hills so even though the brook runs right net to our driveways I wasn't that worried about flooding. However I was worried about trees falling down on my house. I also was worried about mom and all the rest of the people in southern Vermont.
Monday, the day after: After I woke up, I tried to call my mom but the phones had gone out at some point during the night or early morning. I quickly threw on some clothes and went down to the road to see the aftermath. The two culverts I could see had lost their pavement and were strewn with large rocks. The field across from my grandmother's house (which is usually green as green can be) was covered in rocks and gravel, but that was the extent of the damage there. Even though my grandmother's house was right next to the brook and on the same level, the water hadn't done much damage. (I got some pictures of this later in the day.)
I met two groups of tourists (I guess they don't get weather predictions wherever they are from; I was really shocked to see them) and a few locals who were climbing the damaged parts of the road to get to other places. I was wary of climbing down into the culverts but everyone else was fine doing it, and I really wanted to see if my mom was ok. So, I got to her house and she was fine. She had the generator going and was cooking lunch. I sat down and talked with her about what she had learned about the surrounding area from friends who had checked in on her. Pikes Falls Road was completely impassable from her house down (to Jamaica), and we had heard that the bridge on Route 30 in town had been washed out. Nearby Water Street (or Back Street) in the center of town had lost 4 houses. Later we found out that one belonged to a family with kids.
After a quick trip to Stratton and some phone calls (our cell doesn't get good reception at our houses), we took a circuitous route on some of the better roads and went to see the damage in town. The Firehouse had been cut off from loss of pavement and the loss of the bridge. The bridge itself ended halfway through and there was a big tree in the hole where the bridge was supposed to be. We went a little way down Water Street and saw that the bank had been taken on either side. We didn't want to be disrespectful and gawk at where the houses had been lost, so we took some pictures of the bridge from that angle and the bank and then left.
Tuesday-Saturday: We still have power and repair crews have fixed up part our road. They have accomplished very much in such a short time. Repair crews have fixed the 3 areas around the culverts that were flooded and they are now passable. However, the road beyond isn't, so it's blocked off from the end of our driveway down to Jamaica. That doesn't stop some people from trying to drive down there anyway. The roads around Stratton resort are much better, nearly untouched.
The state has workers on the bridge in our pictures, since it's on one of the main roads in southern Vermont (Route 30 if you've ever been here.) Repair crews have built a new road around the place where 4 houses were lost, and it's passable.
We hope the storm that's coming this weekend doesn't make things worse. Although out house didn't get any rain from the storm on Thursday, it did produce a second flash flood in another part of town. The waters took down the house of a little boy I used to babysit for. He and his dad were out of state at the time, thank god. There are also predictions of two other hurricanes that may hit us soon.
Please bear with me as I don't know a thing about making a website. However I wanted to share some of the pictures that my mother and I took to show friends and family who either don't live here, or didn't see our part of town.
~ Darlene (and Janet)