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MAINE EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY
The Ice Storm of 1998 Remembered
January 4, 2008
Ten years ago, one of the worst natural disasters in Maine history struck, first quietly, and then with the crack of falling trees and explosion of transformers. The Ice Storm of 1998 began in the first week of January. It extended over almost three weeks and its effects were felt for months and years by towns, families and business owners struggling to recover.
“No one wants to think about a disaster of this magnitude happening again, “ says MEMA Director Rob McAleer. “But this anniversary prompts us to think about it. As a homeowner, do I have what I need to weather another ice storm? As a business owner, do I have emergency plans in place to survive something like that? We not only need to think about it, we need to make sure we each take responsibility to prepare for the next disaster.”
The Ice Storm’s impacts were far-reaching:
Those were the damages. The overwhelmingly positive outcome of the Ice Storm was the knowledge that Maine people, even in the face of this level of disaster, possess the greatest resource possible: each other. “Neighbor helping neighbor” may well have saved lives. Neighbors working together certainly helped hundreds of families to weather the enormous stress of the storm and its aftermath.
But recovery was not instantaneous. MEMA and state and local partners were involved with individuals and businesses making personal recoveries for months and, in some cases, even years.
Ten years later, Maine is better prepared for all disasters, but an event of this magnitude would still stress the emergency response, social and economic fabric of the state, as it did then. Some of the improvements that the state has seen include:
“I’m pleased with the progress we continue to make statewide in emergency preparedness, “ MEMA Director McAleer says, “But as families, neighbors, business owners and public officials, we all own a piece of being ready to weather the next Ice Storm. And we can all do more”
Last update: 07/20/10
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