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FEMA Coastal Testimonial
Waterbury, Vermont

Hurricane Irene was the first of the 2011 season. Making U.S. landfall along Coastal North Carolina before reaching 400 miles inland.

Mary Martin

I was here with my stepdaughter and my husband and my husband stayed behind and started carrying things upstairs. He was in the basement when the water starting gushing through the windows. We have those little, upper small windows in the basement and the water started flowing in there. The entire basement was submerged and then a foot and a half on the first floor of our house.

We stayed most of the night at the local school and we found a friend whose couch we slept on the first night. I didn't fully believe the nature of the destruction until I saw it for myself. The insurance company declared our house 85% destroyed. When I saw it, most of the water had receded. We only had about three or four inches on the floor but you could see the water level and you could see wave splashes in the house. Furniture was completely displaced and floating in different parts of the house. It wasn't like clean water had filled your house. This was everything the flood had touched before it got to your house was in your house so, waste, oil, whatever the flood had picked up.

I never thought anything like that would happen here. Never. I knew that Waterbury had been flooded in 1927 and a couple of the older people in town had described to me what had happened so I was aware it was a vague possibility.

It reminded me of a warzone. I was able to rebuild my home because I had flood insurance; I didn't need to wait. Some people in other parts of town have been waiting. You drive around areas by the river, you will note there are some houses that clearly have been left the day of the flood and they haven't done a thing.

My annual premium for my flood insurance was $450 a year. I can understand why people would think that paying for flood insurance is too much money or they can't afford it, but it's like you have life insurance, health insurance, fire insurance, you know, you need it.

As a result of Hurricane Irene, the National Flood insurance Program paid more than 42,000 claims totaling more than 1.3 billion dollars. Visit to learn more about protecting your home.

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