HINSDALE, N.H. -- Hours after Tropical Storm Irene tore through Vermont -- one year ago today -- images and footage of the devastation caused to the Green Mountain State were broadcast across the country for millions of Americans to see.
Bridges had been washed away, road were ruined, businesses got flooded and homes were destroyed. It was likely as close to a Hurricane Katrina-esque catastrophe as Vermont could get. But as bad as the state was affected, nearly the polar opposite was true for the southwestern corner of New Hampshire, just a thunderstorm away from the devastation.
Most will say the state to the east was nearly untouched by the tempest and one year later what many residents remember
N.H. State Rep. Tara Sad (D-Walpole) said her community was not at all harmed by Irene but marveled at how people just over the border dealt with the calamity.
"What I was totally amazed and impressed with was the speed with which Vermont got everything together. It was like a bunch of little worker ants came out of Vermont and started building and building and building," she said on Monday.
She mentioned how Allen Bros. Farms store, just down the road in Westminster, Vt., became flooded and a lot of farmland was saturated. Allen Bros. reopened its door on Tuesday, Feb. 14, and soon after broke every sales record it ever
Chesterfield Road Agent Bart Bevis said he has no clue why his town was unaffected during Irene.
"Your guess is as good as mine. That's a question for Mother Nature," he said when asked. "We had nothing."
The same thing was true for Westmoreland, according to JoAnn LaBarre, administrative assistant to the Board of Selectmen's Office.
"There was no damage here at all," she said.
Sad, chairman of the N.H. House of Representatives Environment and Agriculture Committee, said the Connecticut River almost seemed to protect her community from anything bad during the storm.
"It was amazing how the river acted as a line of demarcation," she said. "The hurricane came and just stopped."
One nearby New Hampshire town slightly affected by the storm was Hinsdale. Town Administrator Jill Collins said there were some power outages and some tree limbs fell.
"We really weren't hurt by Irene," she said in a telephone interview, adding how ironic the situation was because Vermont was hit so hard. "Someone told me the eye of the storm passed over us and that's why (the damage was minimal).
"We recuperated fairly quickly, including removal of tree limbs and removal of gravel," she said. "It's a complete memory at this point."
The entire state didn't get off so easy, as 40 state roads and 200 local roads were closed due to the storm, according to CBS Boston. In addition to significant damage in the White Mountains region, there were also widespread power outages.
Domenic Poli can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277.