If you have lived or visited Vermont in the last couple of years, it’s likely you have seen the impact of Tropical Storm Irene. Perhaps it was destroyed buildings along a meandering river or maybe you attended a fundraiser trying to help a community move beyond the disaster. Whatever the case may be, the scars of Irene remain tender and many wonder if we are better off today than we were two years ago.
On Monday, I sat down in the Central Campus Theater in the lower level of Billings Hall joined by a mix of students, community members, and faculty. The purpose of everyone coming together was to watch a film and try to understand what exactly created Vermont’s most significant disaster in recent memory. The film was called “The Last Irene: Where Did All the Water Come From?” and was hosted by Dr. Lesley-Ann Dupigny-Giroux, a faculty member of the UVM Geography Department and state climatologist.
The film began by showing images from a story book about the 1927 Flood, Vermont’s last big catastrophe. The presenters made a point to show that these stories are how our history was recorded and are a record of the disasters in the state. The storybook was then juxtaposed against the high definition cell phone videos that told the tale of Irene. The film traversed the climatology, geography, geology, and social aspects that culminated in a “perfect storm” event.
After the screening the researchers involved in the project held a Question and Answer session to discuss the science of the film more in depth. The audience was very interested in what we should be expecting in the future and what the researchers and government were doing to address climate change.
Another showing of the film will be taking place in the Burlington area and the speakers will be featured in our upcoming Summer Brown Bag Lecture Series. We will post the dates and times for both on our website and on our social media pages. More information on the film can be found on the The Last Irene: Where Did All the Water Come From? website.