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Heavy rains produce major floods in Vermont, New York and other parts of the Northeast

Pedestrians walk along Main Street in Highland Falls, N.Y. on Monday, July 10, after it was was damaged by flooding the previous day.
John Minchillo
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AP
Pedestrians walk along Main Street in Highland Falls, N.Y. on Monday, July 10, after it was was damaged by flooding the previous day.

Heavy rains that swept across the Northeast earlier this week have given rise to calamitous flooding in parts of New England and New York, killing at least one person, destroying structures and hampering travel.

Parts of Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York were inundated by the storms, and heavy rains have caused rivers to spill over in Vermont, stranding people and washing out roadways.

A man carries belongings through floodwaters from a home in Bridgewater, Vt., on Monday, July 10.
Hasan Jamali / AP
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AP
A man carries belongings through floodwaters from a home in Bridgewater, Vt., on Monday, July 10.
An aerial view shows damage to a parking lot after historic rainfall north of New York City triggered dozens of water rescues and led to roadways being washed out after more than a half-foot of rain fell in only a few hours Sunday in Orange County, New York, United States on July 10, 2023.
/ Lokman Vural Elibol/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
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Lokman Vural Elibol/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
An aerial view shows damage to a parking lot after historic rainfall north of New York City triggered dozens of water rescues and led to roadways being washed out after more than a half-foot of rain fell in only a few hours Sunday in Orange County, N.Y., on Monday, July 10.

"Make no mistake — the devastation and flooding we're experiencing across Vermont is historic and catastrophic," Gov. Phil Scott said during a Tuesday morning press conference.

Hours earlier, President Biden approved an emergency declaration for Vermont, freeing up additional federal resources to help in the response and recovery.

The National Weather Service said Tuesday that heavy rains across New England were expected to subside following "multiple days of significant rainfall."

Rivers overflowed across Vermont, where officials said flooding could get worse

On Tuesday, Vermont officials were still assessing the damage caused by flooding and continued to conduct rescues in difficult-to-access areas.

Though the rain had largely stopped and the sun was peeking through the clouds, authorities warned that flooding could continue and even worsen in the hours ahead. More rain was also in the forecast for later in the week.

Workers survey a severely damaged road near Bear Mountain State Park following a night of heavy rain and flooding on July 10, 2023 in Highland Falls, New York.
Spencer Platt / Getty Images
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Getty Images
Workers survey a severely damaged road near Bear Mountain State Park following a night of heavy rain and flooding in Highland Falls, N.Y., on Monday, July 10.
The Moodna Creek flows through Cornwall, N.Y., Monday, July 10, 2023.
Paul Kazdan / AP
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AP
The Moodna Creek flows through Cornwall, N.Y., on Monday, July 10.

"We are not out of the woods," Scott said. "This is nowhere near over, and at this phase our primary focus continues to be on life and safety before we can shift into a recovery phase."

Scott noted that floodwaters were still rising in some areas, including the capital Montpelier, and that water levels had surpassed those seen during Tropical Storm Irene in 2011. Thousands of Vermonters had lost homes, businesses and more this week, he added.

Montpelier, Barre, Ludlow, Londonderry, Andover and surrounding towns were hit the hardest by the storm, said Jennifer Morrison, commissioner of the Department of Public Safety.

The governor tweeted Tuesday morning that the roads near his home were so impassable that he had to hike through snowmobile trails to find an open road and reach the state's emergency response center.

Floodwaters submerge parked vehicles and threaten homes near the Ottauquechee River on July 10, 2023, in Bridgewater, Vt.
Hasan Jamali / AP
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AP
Floodwaters submerge parked vehicles and threaten homes near the Ottauquechee River on Monday, July 10, in Bridgewater, Vt.
A severely damaged road is closed near Bear Mountain State Park following a night of heavy rain and flooding on July 10, 2023 in Highland Falls, New York.
Spencer Platt / Getty Images
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Getty Images
A severely damaged road is closed near Bear Mountain State Park following a night of heavy rain and flooding on Monday, July 10, in Highland Falls, N.Y.

Authorities said local, state and federal first responders had conducted 117 rescues so far.

Rescue crews were using helicopters to conduct evacuations in hard-hit and remote areas and the state would also deploy drones to locate stranded residents and assess the impacts of the storm, Morrison added. Some areas remained too dangerous for boat rescues.

Vermont emergency management officials warned residents to use caution around floodwaters as they could contain downed power lines, hazardous waste, debris and more.

Other parts of the Northeast were also recovering

Multiple New York counties remained under aflood watch Tuesday. The governor declared a state of emergency in most of the state's counties.

The Mid-Hudson region saw more than eight inches of rain between Sunday and Monday, officials said, and the Finger Lakes experienced more than five inches.

Kathy Eason, a worker at the Center for Highland Falls, stands outside the organization's storefront after being trapped inside by floodwaters the previous day, Monday, July 10, 2023, in Highland Falls, N.Y.
John Minchillo / AP
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AP
Kathy Eason, a worker at the Center for Highland Falls, stands outside the organization's storefront after being trapped inside by floodwaters the previous day, Monday, July 10, in Highland Falls, N.Y.
A severely damaged road is closed near Bear Mountain State Park following a night of heavy rain and flooding is pictured on Monday in Highland Falls, New York.
Spencer Platt / Getty Images
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Getty Images
A severely damaged road is closed near Bear Mountain State Park following a night of heavy rain and flooding is pictured on Monday, July 10, in Highland Falls, N.Y.

"While much of the storm has passed through New York, it's critical to remain vigilant," Gov. Kathy Hochul said Monday.

New York authorities reported one fatality from the severe weather. According to the local TV station WABC, 43-year-old Pamela Nugent of Orange County died after she was swept away by floodwaters while trying to escape with her dog.

Western Massachusetts also saw major flooding, and officials in Connecticut warned residents Monday of rains and flooding that persisted throughout the day.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Onlookers check out a flooded road on July 10 in Chester, Vermont.
Scott Eisen / Getty Images
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Getty Images
Onlookers check out a flooded road on Monday, July 10, in Chester, Vt.
Volunteers help clear Main Street of debris after floodwaters subsided, Monday, July 10, 2023, in Highland Falls, N.Y.
John Minchillo / AP
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AP
Volunteers help clear Main Street of debris after floodwaters subsided, Monday, July 10, in Highland Falls, N.Y.
Workers remove mud from Main street after heavy rains in Highland Falls, New York, on July 10, 2023.
Kena Betancur / AFP via Getty Images
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AFP via Getty Images
Workers remove mud from Main street after heavy rains in Highland Falls, N.Y., on July 10.

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