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Natural Disasters Top Year’s News

December 29, 2011

The Clyde River Hotel in Island Pond barely survives heavy spring flooding. Photo by Jenn Hanlon

If there was ever a year for extremes, this was it: Record snowfall was followed by record rainfall, which lead to massive flooding and damage in April. Then May brought more rain, and more rain, and more rain, making it the wettest spring on record with 18.14 inches by May 28. The old record of 15.46 inches was set in 1983.
Then Hurricane (Tropical Storm by the time it got to us) Irene hit. The Northeast Kingdom was spared the worst of her wrath, but the economic effects ripples throughout the state, shutting down state offices, eating up state revenues, closing major arteries and undermining train tracks. Tourism numbers were down and costs were up. Everyone paid.
The July 8th earthquake, at 2.7, woke a few people up from their coffee breaks but otherwise left the state unscathed. Aug. 23, 2011, a 5.8 quake hit Virginia and rattled desks in northern Vermont.
Throughout the United States and overseas, environmental eruptions of one kind or another marked the year, from giant dust storms in Arizona and Texas to massive flooding in the midwest. A deep sea earthquake off the coast of Japan sent a tsunami wave that destroyed a nuclear power plant. It will be decades before that mess is cleaned up. Floods, droughts, massive fires and earthquakes were felt worldwide.

 

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