During the past two weeks the East Coast of the U.S. has been hit by three Nor’easters. By early Wednesday afternoon, March 14, the latest Nor’easter dumped over a foot of new snow in parts of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, West Virginia and Maine. Six of those states picked up more than twenty inches of new snow. The New Normal is here.

Six and a half years ago, when we published the photo essay, Recovery from Hurricane Irene on Tuesday, 30 August 2011, there were still thirteen towns in the U.S. state of Vermont that were completely cut off from the outside world due to the torrential rains of Hurricane Irene.  This was because roads like Route 100, which runs north and south through the state, sustained catastrophic damage to its culverts and bridges for many miles. In all, over 200 roads across the state were closed due to wash outs from the heavy rains that pelted the state for nearly twenty-four hours on Sunday, August 28. Though it was technically downgraded to a “tropical storm” by the time it reached Vermont, its torrential rains wreaked havoc around the state.


This woman in Waterbury, VT picked up a white jug and sighed, “this was an antique,” as she poured muddy water out of a gaping hole in its side. “Oh well,” she said. “It’s just stuff, right?” then threw it into the dumpster. “Bye.” The loss however was clearly overwhelming.     Photo: Langelle

The town of Waterbury was submerged under 10 feet or more of water when the Winooski River rose to record flood levels in minutes. Even the state’s emergency management office succumbed to the flood waters and had to relocate to Burlington—the state’s largest city.