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FLOOD OF 1927 November 2, 1970

Posted by thenaturalist in Floods/High Water, Records, Weather History.

The year 1927 was rainy, October was exceptionally rainy, and by early November the Winooski was ready to flood. Vermont records show a light rain starting at about 9:00 p.m. the night of November 2 and turning into a downpour at about 4:00 a.m. the next morning. By later the morning of November 3, this rainfall was breaking records all over the state.

Two weather systems had converged to drop what one meteorologist estimated to be a cubic mile of solid water lifted from the surface of the Atlantic Ocean onto Vermont. The result was the 1927 flood — the worst natural disaster in Vermont’s history. Rivers all over the state flooded, but the one that did the most damage was the Winooski, which carries water all the way from Cabot down through communities such as Barre, Montpelier, Waterbury, and Richmond to Lake Champlain.

By the time the flooding ended on November 4, 84 Vermonters were dead, 48 of them in the Winooski River Valley. According to the Vermont State Archives, the 1927 flood caused more than $30 million in damage, including $8 million to railroads and $7 million to highways. More than 1200 bridges were damaged or destroyed, and some 690 farms lost 3,000 cows.

The 1927 flood was so devastating that both state and federal governments became involved in local clean-up and repair. Some smaller railroads were eliminated, many dirt roads were blacktopped, and flood-control projects dammed old rivers in new ways. This one natural disaster resulted in political, social, economic, and ecological changes that Vermonters are still trying to find a relationship to.


Historic Photographs of 1927 Flood

This treasure trove of historic photographs is the creation of the University of Vermont Department of Geography’s Landscape Change Program. They include 357 photos of the Flood of 1927 among their flood photos, which also include 67 aerial photos of this historic flood.

National Weather Service Report

This National Weather Service report on Vermont’s Flood of 1927 includes an overview of the flood, a chart showing early November rainfall data from 29 towns, and a summary of the flood’s effect on the entire state.



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