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With Outages, V.T. Breathes Sigh of Relief

Not the worst case scenario, but still a significant event.

That's how emergency management officials are sizing up the effects of Tropical Storm Sandy on Vermont as several dozen people spent a long overnight shift at the state Emergency Operations Center in Waterbury monitoring Sandy's progress across Vermont.

They worked for a variety of state agencies and they represented utilities, FEMA, the National Guard and others with a role in disaster relief.

State Police Captain Rick Hopkins who managed the operations center overnight says during the storm four shelters were opened, but except for a few people who spent the night in a Rutland shelter, they remained empty.

About 18 communities opened local emergency operation centers, but none called on the state for additional help dealing with the storm. Hopkins says the power outages that spread through much of the state Monday night were the big story.

At the storm's peak more than 17 thousand households were in the dark. By early Tuesday morning, that number had been cut significantly and continued to drop.

"I don't think it was a huge difference from what the worst case scenario could have been," Hopkins says. "The winds were a little bit lighter but we still had strong winds, we still had power outages, which is what we expected. For those people who were affected by these power outages or road closures, it's still a significant deal for them."

The most significant road closing occurred shortly after 8pm Monday when down power lines closed both I-89 and Route 2 between Waterbury and Richmond for about 40 minutes.

There were no other state road closings and few reports of local roads blocked by trees or power lines.

Hopkins says he's heard some reports of trees damaging houses in some places, but overall, Vermont fared better than feared.

“You thank your lucky stars and move on to the next one,” he says.

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