Middlebury

College emerges largely unscathed after storm

August 30, 2011

— Updated, September 1

MIDDLEBURY, Vt.—Hurricane Irene, which wreaked havoc on the East Coast for several days, tore through Vermont as a tropical storm on August 28, with high winds and huge amounts of rain—more than seven inches fell in some places in less than 24 hours. Large areas of the state were devastated by the ensuing floods, and there were several deaths associated with the storm. Many roads, bridges and railroad lines were badly damaged; at one point, more than 250 Vermont roads were closed, and many still are.

We know that many members of Middlebury's extended family, including faculty, staff, and alumni, have been coping with serious issues in the aftermath of the storm, and the College is determined to do whatever it can to help, both in our community and across the state and region. We are in the process of figuring out who has been affected and how best to provide assistance. Those interested in donating to storm relief operations can do so by contacting the Vermont chapter of the Red Cross, or the Vermont Disaster Relief Fund. Note that there are several websites in the state that are working to coordinate response to the flooding, including http://vtresponse.wordpress.com.

You can see what the storm looked like on campus here, in a time lapse video taken between early Sunday morning and Sunday night from the top of Kitchel House (home to the Communications Office), looking southwest toward the Davis Family Library and Old Chapel.

Middlebury College was extremely lucky, in that there was no significant damage to the Middlebury campus, which received just over three inches of rain and where winds topped out around 30 mph. There were only minor problems at the Bread Loaf campus, where the power was out from Sunday night until Monday afternoon, and one road was washed out. And the Snow Bowl likewise escaped serious damage.

Travel to Vermont, and within the state, promises to be a challenge for some time. This map lists road closures around the state: http://511.vermont.gov/. Click on the red circles with white bands for more info. There was also extensive damage to roads and bridges in adjacent parts of New York and New Hampshire. For those traveling to Vermont by air, it's worth pointing out that no damage has been reported to the roads (mostly Route 7) between the campus and the Burlington International Airport.

Note that because of extensive damage to roads through the Green Mountains (100, 4, 125), those traveling to Middlebury from points east and south (southern New Hampshire and Massachusetts) will probably be best served by taking Interstate 89 north to Burlington and then heading south to Middlebury on Route 7.

Information for students and their families who will be traveling to campus soon, for orientation and the start of the fall semester, can be found in this note from Dean of the College Shirley Collado and Dean of Students Katy Smith Abbott.