Thursday June 27, 2013

MONTPELIER (AP) -- Heavy rains fell Wednesday on much of Vermont, where a series of storms have left the ground soaked and vulnerable to flooding. Still more rain is expected.

Road crews worked to repair washed-out roads in parts of Chittenden County, including a section of southbound Interstate 89 between Richmond and Williston.

The extended forecast calls for rain through at least Tuesday and saturated soils and rivers may be unable to absorb more water.

"We don’t want to raise the alarm that we’re going to have flooding, but we’re always ready," said Emergency Management spokesman Mark Bosma.

As of Tuesday, Burlington had received 7.26 inches of rain this month, more than four inches above what’s normal through June 25.

The ongoing rain is being caused by a stagnant weather pattern that’s keeping low pressure over the eastern United States, said National Weather Service meteorologist Kimberly McMahon.

"It’s basically just stuck over us for a while," McMahon said.

For Green Mountain Power, the state’s largest electricity provider, crews have bounced from one power failure to the next to restore service to customers who lost it during violent storms.

High winds, soggy ground and intense lightening could continue the threat of widespread power failures over the next few days, said spokeswoman Dorothy Schnure.

She said the regular violent storms that have hit the state over the past five days fit the expected profile of more intense weather caused by climate change.

"We talk about how the weather is changing and it makes a difference how we plan for things," Schnure said.

While they don’t have statistics, no GMP employees remember seeing a similar weather pattern move across the state, Schnure said.

"It is really unusual to have for this long a potential for damaging storms," she said. "People who’ve been around here for a long time aren’t recalling something like this."