Governor Mills Declares State of Emergency in Anticipation of Hurricane Lee & Requests Presidential Emergency Disaster Declaration from President Biden

In preparation for Hurricane Lee’s impending landfall tomorrow night, Governor Mills today declared a State of Emergency and requested that President Biden issue a preemptive Presidential Emergency Disaster Declaration for Maine.

The Governor’s Proclamation of Emergency states that Hurricane Lee likely will cause “sustained high winds, pounding surf, and heavy rains” that could result in dangerous conditions that pose “an imminent threat to public safety as well as damage to public and private property.” The Proclamation authorizes the Maine Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) to activate and deploy all resources necessary to respond to the emergency.

Governor Mills also requested that President Biden issue a Presidential Emergency Disaster Declaration to preemptively give the State of Maine access to Federal resources and personnel that could assist in the response to the storm. In her letter to the President, Governor Mills warned that Hurricane Lee could bring significant flooding and wind damage that could lead to power outages and put significant pressure on Maine’s emergency management personnel.

The Governor also spoke with Deanne Criswell, Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), earlier today. Administrator Criswell offered the Governor the support of the Federal government in responding to the storm.

The Governor and MEMA today continued to strongly urge Maine people to take the necessary steps to prepare for the arrival of the storm.

“The preemptive actions I took today position Maine to seize Federal resources to respond to the impacts of Hurricane Lee,” said Governor Mills. “We continue to closely track the storm and are expecting heavy rains and high winds that likely will cause storm surge, inland flooding, infrastructure damage, and power outages. We continue to strongly urge Maine people – particularly those Downeast – to exercise caution and to take steps to ensure they have what they need to stay safe as the storm draws closer.”

Central Maine Power (CMP) and Versant continue to warn of the potential for extensive power outages because of high winds and poor tree health following the heavy rain this summer. The heavy rainfall has increased soil saturation, flooding, and nutrient runoff that has led to weakened or rotted root systems. The utilities are warning that, depending on Hurricane Lee’s track and the strength of storm winds, Maine could see worsened impacts to the power grid because of falling trees and limbs.

MEMA continues to closely coordinate with State public safety and transportation officials, Federal and local emergency management officials, and Maine’s utilities in advance of the storm to prepare for the arrival of Hurricane Lee late Friday night. MEMA’s Emergency Operations Center continues to operate on enhanced monitoring status. View recommendations to prepare here.