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EARTHQUAKE OF JULY 8, 2011 July 9, 2011

Posted by thenaturalist in Earthquakes.

The U.S. Geological Survey reported that an earthquake rattled areas of Vermont and New Hampshire late Friday afternoon July 8, 2011. There were no reports of damage or injuries. The magnitude 2.6 quake struck at about 5:09 p.m. The epicenter was at Haverhill, N.H., which is just on the New Hampshire side of the border, about one mile from Newbury, Vermont. At a magnitude of 2.6, officials say people near the epicenter would feel shaking for five to ten seconds, the Associated Press reported. ( Staff and Wire Reports, “Mild earthquake felt on N.H.-Vermont border,” Burlington Free Press, July 9, 2011)


FLOODS OF 2011 June 22, 2011

Posted by thenaturalist in Floods/High Water, Rain.
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Deb Markowitz, secretary of Vermont’s Agency of Natural Resources, says the state needs to assess whether 2011’s rain and flooding were an aberration — a 100- or 500-year event — or whether they represent the “new normal.” ( Dan D’Ambrosio, “Officials put spotlight on boosting lake activity,” Burlington Free Press, June 22, 2011)

LAKE LEVEL May 30, 2011

Posted by thenaturalist in Floods/High Water, Rain, Records.
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As of Sunday, May 29, 2011, Lake Champlain has been at or above the highest level recorded in the last 184 years for all but a few days over the past month. It peaked several weeks ago at a record 103.3 feet. (Free Press Staff Report, “Heavy rains add to lake flooding,” Burlington Free Press, May 30, 2011)

RAIN IN MAY May 28, 2011

Posted by thenaturalist in Floods/High Water, Rain, Records.
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The big storm May 26-27, 2011 made the wettest spring on record even wetter. 18.14 inches of rain fell at the National Weather Service office in South Burlington between March 1 and midnight May 26. The old spring record was 15.46 inches in 1983.

By midnight May 26,  6.87 inches had fallen making it the second wettest May on record, with five days still to go. The wettest May was 7.10 inches in 2006. (Matt Sutkoski and Nancy Remsen, ” ‘Saturated state’ seeks disaster relief,” Burlington Free Press, May 28, 2011)


Posted by thenaturalist in Floods/High Water, Rain, Records.
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The rains that started back in on May 14, 2011 and continued May 15 and 16 brought Lake Champlain back up to 102.35 inches by the afternoon of May 16, and the water was still rising slowly. The National Weather Service says this spring is now the wettest on record in Burlington. As of 4:30 p.m. May 16, total rainfall for Burlington had reached 15.49 inches. That’s only slightly above the previous record of 15.46 inches that fell in 1983, but it’s still raining…. (Matt Sutkowski, “Rains prolong flood agony,” Burlington Free Press, May 17, 2011)


Posted by thenaturalist in Floods/High Water, Rain, Records.
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Burlington is now on track to having its wettest spring on record. Climatologists consider spring the period from March 1 through May 31. As of 4:30 p.m. Sunday (May 15, 2011), 14.82 inches of rain had fallen on the city, less than an inch shy of the record of 15.46 inches that fell in 1983. Lake Champlain, meanwhile, remained only 102.16 feet above sea level — about a foot lower than the record set earlier this month, but still more than two feet above flood stage. (Matt Ryan, “Rain adds to flood woes,” BFP, May 16, 2011)


Posted by thenaturalist in Floods/High Water, Rain, Records.
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According to the Lake Champlain Basin Program, the Lake Champlain watershed covers 8,234 square miles, including most of the western half of Vermont and eastern Adirondacks and parts of southern Quebec. The lake covers about 435 square miles and holds roughly 6.8 trillion gallons of water. The highest level previously recorded in Burlington was 101.86 feet on April 27, 1993.

On March 9, 2011, the lake level was just 96.48 feet above sea level. It took nearly two months of heavy rain and snowmelt before the flood peaked at just over 103.2 feet on Friday May 6, 2011. Now that the rain has stopped, and the snow has melted, it will take a similar length of time for the lake to recede. It has only one outlet, the Richelieu River, which runs north toward Montreal. At 8 a.m. May 7, the lake level had dropped to 103.18, and by 8 p.m. it was down to 103.15. At 8 a.m. May 8, it was down to 103.11 and at 8 p.m. down to 103.05. At 8 a.m. May 9 it was down to 103.00 and at 8 p.m. down to 102.9. (Matt Sutkoski, “One way out for lake water,” BFP, May 10, 2011.


Posted by thenaturalist in Floods/High Water.
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The rainy spring of 2011 has Lake Champlain rising higher and higher. As of Friday May 6, 2011 at 3 p.m., the U.S. Geological Survey’s digital monitor on the ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center’s terrace read 103.26. Flood stage is 100 feet. The highest level previously recorded in Burlington was 101.86 feet on April 27, 1993. The highest level on the lake as a whole was 102.1 feet on May 4, 1869, in Rouses Point, NY. (BFP 4/30/11 and 5/7/11)


Posted by thenaturalist in Floods/High Water, Rain, Records.
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As of Friday (April 30, 2011), 7.88 inches of rain had fallen on Burlington, 5.10 inches more than normal and more than an inch above the 1983 record for the month of April, which was 6.55 inches. No rain was expected for Saturday (April 31, 2011) and 7.88 inches is likely to be the final tally for the month. (Molly Walsh, “Flood warnings persist,” BFP, May 1, 2011)

APRIL 26-27, 2011 RAIN April 27, 2011

Posted by thenaturalist in Rain, Records.
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Does the 2.74 inches of rain that fell April 26 and 27, 2011 represent a 10-year storm or a 100-year storm? (question posed by Joel Banner Baird of the Burlington Free Press)


Posted by thenaturalist in Earthquakes.
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The U. S. Geological Survey offers a substantial history of earthquakes in Vermont through October 1973. To read it, CLICK HERE.

The Vermont Geological also offers information on earthquakes in Vermont. To see what they say, CLICK HERE.


Posted by thenaturalist in Road Conditions.
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Information on Vermont road conditions, including accidents and bad weather, can be found by dialing 511 or visiting the 511 Web site at http://www.511vt.com.

HEAT WAVES July 7, 2010

Posted by thenaturalist in Heat Waves, Hot Weather.
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The National Weather Service defines a heat wave as three or more consecutive days with highs of 90 degrees or higher. There have been seven heat waves in Burlington since 2000:

June 14-16, 2001 (3 days: 92, 93, 90)

August 6-10, 2001 (5 days: 91,95, 96, 99, 90)

July 1-4, 2002 (4 days: 91, 94, 95, 90)

August 11-15, 2002 (5 days: 93, 93, 93, 96, 91)

September 8-10, 2002 (3 days: 93, 98, 93)

June 24-26, 2003 (3 days: 96,90, 94)

July 5-7, 2010 (2 days and still counting: 92, 95 …)

(BFP, 7/7/10)

EARTHQUAKES June 24, 2010

Posted by thenaturalist in Earthquakes.
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A 5.0 magnitude earthquake with an epicenter located on the Quebec-Ontario border rattled Vermont on June 23, 2010. The USGS said the quake, which occurred at 1:41 p.m., was centered 33 miles northeast of Ottawa near Buckingham, Quebec, 12 miles below the Earth’s surface. Vermont State Geologist Larry Becker in Waterbury said, “We felt it here. I was sitting in my chair and started rocking back and forth.” Reports from Swanton, Huntington, Montpelier, Jay, and beyond spilled into the Burlington Free Press newsroom. Though uncommon, Vermont is not a stranger to earthquakes. Among notable earthquakes documented in Vermont:

1638: A “violent” quake, probably centered in the St. Lawrence Valley, felt throughout New England

1755: Vermonters felt a quake centered east of Cape Ann, Mass.

1867: An early morning earthquake woke people in Burlington, as well as Syracuse, N.Y., and Hamilton, Ontario.

1904: A quake centered in southeastern Maine was felt throughout New England, and New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Chimneys damaged at Calais and Eastport, Maine, and St. Stephen, New Brunswick.

1929: A magnitude 7.2 shock in the Grand Banks of the Atlantic Ocean severed 12 submarine cables … and cracked plaster in Hartford.

1935: A magnitude 6.25 quake near Timiskaming, Quebec. Witnesses in Vermont reported shaking beds, rattling windows and dishes.

1940: Estimated magnitude 5.8, a quake near Lake Ossipee, N.H., displaced bricks on old chimneys in Bloomfield, Vt.

1952: Near Burlington, a local quake estimated at magnitude 6 cracked pavement, basement walls and a city gas main. Ground cracks observed in the North End.

1955: Another quake centered in Burlington, at magnitude 5. A new ground crack documented in North End.

1962: A western Vermont quake April 10 (magnitude 5.0) thoroughly shook the Vermont Statehouse, dislodging a support beam, weakening two beams and cracking 20 window panes.

1973: Shock from a magnitude 5.2 earthquake centered in western Maine was felt throughout New England and eastern Quebec. Residents in Canaan and Montpelier reported cracked plaster, chimneys separating from walls and road fractures.

2002: A moderately powerful earthquake centered in the Adirondack foothills 15 miles southwest of Plattsburgh, N.Y. shook Vermont and upstate New York residents awake. The quake struck at 6:50 a.m. with a magnitude of 5.1. (BFP, 6/24/10)


Posted by thenaturalist in Tornadoes, Winds.
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The National Weather Service has concluded that a giant thunderstorm that crossed upstate New York and northern New England spawned tornadoes that touched down in Vermont, Maine, and New Hampshire. The Weather Service’s South Burlington office said that an EF1 tornado touched down in Craftsbury late Saturday afternoon June 5, 2010.  Winds reached an estimated 80 to 90 mph. It snapped trees and damaged roofs. The tornado was about 250-feet wide and was on the ground for about 2-and-a-half miles. (AP, 6/8/10)