Hurricane Irene floods Vermont and rural areas

A stop sign is covered by a fallen branch in the northwest of Washington, DC after Hurricane Irene swept through the area.

Steve Chiotakis: Windwhipped and waterlogged, East coast residents are slowly, slowly starting their workweek today. And still counting billions of dollars in damage from Hurricane Irene. Water is rising quickly in rivers throughout the Northeast, and flooding is a major concern now, especially in Vermont.

That's where Jane Lindholm of Vermont Public Radio is for us this morning with the latest there. Hi Jane.

Jane Lindholm: Hi Steve.

Chiotakis: So tell us exactly what's going on in Vermont at the moment?

Lindholm: Well, if people went to sleep at all last night, they're waking up in many parts of the state to flooded-out roads, flooded buildings and businesses. More than 50,000 people are without power this morning, and more than 260 roads have been affected by flooding. Several bridges and roads have just been completely washed out in the state, and one person died when she was swept away by a raging river -- so a lot going on with flooding in the state today.

Chiotakis: I know the hurricane hammered a lot places along the East coast. Why did Vermont get hit so hard?

Lindholm: The problem here was flooding, not winds, by and large. Some towns saw as much as 7 inches of rain in a short period of time, and that water just had nowhere to go. The ground was saturated, and rivers just couldn't contain the water, Steve.

Chiotakis: Was the state prepared, Jane?

Lindholm: By and large, it was. Vermonters were being warned late last week that the storm could pound the state, but Steve, I don't think anyone was quite prepared for the volume -- the sheer volume of water that rushed through the rivers. Utilities had called in back up crews from as far away as Louisiana, Texas, Illinios -- but in some cases, Steve, they can't even get to the people who don't have power because the roads are washed out.

Chiotakis: What kind of money are we talking about, Jane? For insurance and repairs?

Lindholm: Well, it's a little early to say. The governnor has said that we're in crisis mode right now, we're not really into assessing the damages. But I can tell you that Vermont experienced some severe flooding earlier this spring, and those damages topped $12 million. And it's safe to say well above that in this case.

Chiotakis: Alright, Jane Lindholm from Vermont Public Radio. Jane, thank you so much.

Lindholm: You're welcome, Steve.

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