“Hurricane” Irene, This flatlander can’t escape a storm.

I put hurricane in quotes because here in Vermont the wrath of the storm was displayed in spectacular flooding. And not spectacular in a good way.

Me? My home? My family? Thanks for your concern, we are all fine. Even my garden survived with only some leaning plants and tomatoes splitting from all the rain. If I had thought about it I might have taken some poetic picture with dill flowers floating down stream of baby cucumbers. But I didn’t. Instead we spent the day watching the creek become a raging, horrific, brown, thick, river.

Growing up in hurricane country, I laughed at the idea of real impact on my mountain home. Being a flatlander beach bum at heart, my schoolhouse is actually located on the plateau above a flood plain because I hate driving the mountains in rain and snow. I collected my hurricane supplies: one gallon of water. A token effort really, I didn’t want to be “that guy.” Realistically, what’s a G.R.I.T. S. girl gonna do? Sandbag? Do we have sand in Vermont? Build a rock wall??

I found this picture on Facebook
After the rain started we ran one last errand and by the final mile home we really started to worry. Roads were washing out. After arriving home we spent the day watching the creek swell from the window and from the front yard. When the power went out, we made margaritas with the last of the ice cubes.

With each tree that fell, and each piece of rural farm debris that passed, my heart hurt for neighbors.

Unlike coastal hurricane flooding where wind blows and water rises expansively and somewhat predictably, things in the mountains move fast. They move in one direction with great concentrated force. Hopping banks and tunneling down valleys the flash flood finds the path of least resistance and exploits it.

As the rain slowed, the community made their way up and down the road. Together in the drizzle, we as neighbors, gathered on one side of the river while others in the community stood across from us. The bridge that connected our town was gone. For a brief day we were landlocked. Soon, roads opened and power came back. Our home was intact even if I lost some fresh grocery type items.

Just 5 miles down the road, there is no more road. The pavement crumbles into the river. Some towns were wiped out or cut off from civilization.Many people lost homes and dozens lost lives but like the mountains around them, Vermonters are strong. Vermont Strong. When a flood changes their world they go hiking. OK, they are hiking to civilization and clean water, but point is they strike out for themselves. All around us towns are slowly recovering. Power is coming back, roads are being rebuilt and communities are becoming stronger.

If you would like to help with the recovery Facebook is great. Check out these pages: I am Vermont Strong and Vermont Flood 2011

To donate, try this:

• Text FOODNOW to 52000 to donate $10 to Vermont Foodbank. The Foodbank will turn each donation into $60 for families in need.

• You can donate to the United Way’s Vermont Disaster Relief Fund online, or by sending a donation to your local United Way. Just make sure your donation is marked for the “Vermont Disaster Relief Fund”.

• You can also donate to the American Red Cross of Vermont and the New Hampshire Valley. The Red Cross set up shelters immediately after Irene hit for flooded-out families to stay in.

• The VT Irene Flood Relief Fund is raising money to help people and communities affected by flooding. 100% of all donations will be distributed to businesses and families. The fund is being administered by Todd K. Bailey

Sadly I missed my chance to gorge on canned food and raid my canning supply. Although I hear there is another storm out there….