I wanted to recap what I’ve been shooting the last few weeks. Scrolling through my takes, my photos are all looking similar. Water. Water everywhere. I’d like to showcase more variety, but we’ve experienced extremes in terms of weather and that’s what the photos show. Vermont is pretty isolated from major storms but the rainfall and snow melt we experienced this spring sent Lake Champlain into a record-breaking surge. Water is an unbelievable power. To just stand and watch it move, sweep everything in its path and break the shores is an incredible sight. The lake sits three feet higher than flood stage, the highest water level we’ve seen in recorded history. The images have been awesome and the media coverage expansive. We’ve monitored the various lakeside communities as we chase the rising flood waters. As the land erodes and falls away, smaller lakeside camps lift from their foundations and now bob with the waves. Normally I’d be a bit jealous of waterfront property. Not today. Nope.
My photos really don’t do this crisis justice. I’ve been covering a lot of the day-to-day daily shoots (Yes, news never stops. We’re still trying to figure out how to slow it down. No luck. Check back later) while my coworkers throw on their waders and man their rowboats to capture some striking images. They’ve shot mud slides, flooded basements, swept away properties as well as recovery and clean-up efforts. It’s been a busy few weeks. Check this link for a sampling of some great work by Glenn Russell and Ryan Mercer.
The newsroom has been buzzing with flood stories as reporters chase all possible angles. Here’s our flood page: Lake Champlain Flood 2011.
**Above photo shot at the onset of the flood storm on my iPhone as I quickly pulled over on I-89 en route to an unrelated assignment. It ran on A1 the next day. I don’t think they knew it was an iPhone shot. Shhhh. Ha!
Gov. Peter Shumlin surveys the flood damage in St. Albans. Residents quickly filled sandbags and prepared their homes for the worst but it was a losing battle. Shortly after this photo opportunity, Gov. Shumlin declared a state of emergency in Vermont and began working with FEMA to access disaster relief funds for the damage he predicts to be in the millions.
This was once a road, now it is more of a marshy extension of Lake Champlain.
A Massachusetts man takes note of the water level before walking to his summer camp in Colchester. He estimates the water rose six inches in just a couple days. After walking through knee deep water he returned with his head hanging. His flooring was destroyed but he felt lucky considering he decided to have his lakefront camp raised just a couple years earlier.
A group of high school boys meet up after school, but the meeting requires a canoe ride back and forth. The group stood on the shoreline (formerly a driveway) and phoned the boy who lived in the now flooded house. Equipped with high boots and an oar he paddled over to his friends and took them on a tour of his flooded property. They laughed and joked but quickly reminded me how annoying it is to paddle from home to get to school. The novelty had worn off.
Once a camp, now a buoy. This poor structure was ripped apart by crashing waves leaving its furniture floating inside the bobbing building.
Gov. Peter Shumlin ditched the suit and donned his boots to survey flood damage in St. Albans before declaring an emergency and seeking relief funds from FEMA.