This past summer, intense rain caused historic floods in Montpelier, Vermont.
Bedard: “Suddenly, we have a river where Main Street used to be. People are canoeing and kayaking to get to places to … rescue people.”
Jaime Bedard is executive director of Just Basics, which runs a local food pantry.
Just Basics had operated for years out of the basement of a church. But the church is located downtown, near the Winooski River, so during the floods, water inundated the food pantry.
The water wiped out the group’s food supplies and destroyed fridges and freezers.
Thanks to an outpouring of community support, Just Basics quickly reopened in a temporary location, so it could continue serving people during the crisis.
But as the climate changes and Vermont gets warmer and wetter, the risk of flooding is expected to grow.
Montpelier officials are discussing how to protect the city, but Bedard says some businesses are not coming back.
Others are adapting by waterproofing basements or moving HVAC systems out of harm’s way. Just Basics has found a new, non-basement home.
She says the effects of the flood linger.
Bedard: “Every single time it rains hard here, everyone in town gets really tense. … You know, we’re still a little bit on edge.”
Reporting Credit: Ethan Freedman / ChavoBart Digital Media