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MEMA Home > Programs> Communication> News > Hurricane Irene Preparations Intensify: Heavy Rain, Strong Winds, Coastal Flooding Expected

Hurricane Irene Preparations Intensify: Heavy Rain, Strong Winds, Coastal Flooding Expected


August 26, 2011

4:30 PM


AUGUSTA, MAINE -- As Hurricane Irene approaches the East Coast, state, county and local officials are preparing to respond.

Governor Paul LePage today declared a State of Emergency. The Emergency Proclamation authorizes state agencies to use all available resources and personnel as necessary to cope with this emergency situation.

As Hurricane Irene has moved toward New England, Maine Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) has been coordinating actions with the Governor’s office, FEMA, the National Weather Service, County and metro area emergency managers, utilities, state agencies, Canadian provinces and key private sector and volunteer partners.

MEMA and the American Red Cross have been working closely with county and local officials to determine where regional shelters may be needed. Final decisions on shelter openings will be made closer to Irene’s arrival.

When emergency shelters are opened, their locations will be listed with 211 Maine. Dial 2-1-1, toll-free, for shelter locations and other alerts and safety information. Shelter locations will also be listed online at

State-level hurricane response will be coordinated at the State Emergency Operations Center, allowing all State agencies to work together collaboratively throughout the event.

Many State agencies have taken specific steps to prepare for Irene. Some examples:

The Department of Conservation has closed a total of 27 state parks to day use on Sunday. Maine Forest Service Rangers are preparing to assist the response with communications, incident management, helicopter missions and damage assessment as needed. Learn details on the Department’s actions.

The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, Maine Warden Service has pre-staged response equipment, and alerted personnel to be able to assist with search and rescue.

The Department of Transportation has closed the Penobscot Narrows Bridge Observatory until at least Tuesday, August 30.

The Department of Marine Resources today initiated a preemptive flood closure for the upcoming hurricane event predicted to impact the Maine coast late this weekend. This action closes the Coast of Maine to the harvest of all shellfish effective 12:01 pm (noon) Sunday, August 28th. The Shellfish Hotline number is 1-800-232-4733. Below is the link to the Flood Closure notice.

Yesterday, DMR suspended evening and weekend closed hauling periods for lobster fishers. Lobster fishers are allowed to haul and move lobster traps anytime until Hurricane Irene passes by Maine.

The Maine Marine Patrol has also advised all boat owners to secure their boats, checking with harbor masters and marina operators for local instructions.

“Whether Irene is a hurricane or tropical storm when it reaches us, it will be a powerful, dangerous storm. “ MEMA Director Rob McAleer said. “But there is still time before the storm for individuals and business owners to take the actions they need to stay safe”

Hurricane Irene will bring heavy rain and flooding inland, high winds and power outages, and likely coastal flooding. MEMA recommends that everyone make preparations based on their own specific needs and what could happen where they are:

  • Stay informed as the storm approaches, for the most current information on how your part of the State will be affected You can find current information on Irene and a wealth of preparedness tips at
  • Store or tie down any lawn furniture or other outdoor items that could blow away
  • If you might be isolated in your home or without power, check on the supplies you might need to ride out the storm, including special medical items and supplies for children and pets
  • If you think you might need to leave your home, fill your car with gasoline, and withdraw a small amount of emergency cash from your bank or ATM. Also, make a "go-kit" of essential supplies you would need if you had to leave
  • As the storm moves in, respect all official instructions, evacuation recommendations or restrictions of roads or coastal areas
  • Respect the power of the high surf. Large crashing waves and rip currents can be deadly. Stay well away from areas that have been closed by local officials.
  • Check on neighbors, friends or relatives who might need extra help

Most important, again, is to stay informed. Stay tuned to local news, visit or listen to your NOAA Weather Radio to be sure of current forecasts, and how the storm will affect your area.

You can also sign up for e-mail weather alerts for your county, and other emergency news.

For more preparedness and safety information, the latest weather forecasts, and links to the latest advisories and tracks for Hurricane Irene, visit





Last update: 07/20/10