Governor Janet Mills and the Maine Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) are urging Maine people to prepare for rain, high winds, coastal flooding, and freezing temperatures ahead of the major incoming winter storm.
MEMA is coordinating preparedness efforts with County Emergency Management Agencies, State partners, and utility companies ahead of the storm, which will impact holiday travel.
The National Weather Service reports that beginning late Thursday, heavy rain and snow melt in western Maine will lead to potential widespread flooding with numerous road closures possible. Precipitation will begin as snow in the mountains before changing to rain late Friday morning. Snowmelt south of the mountains will lead to widespread minor flooding during the day on Friday with potential river flooding lasting into the weekend. Erosion is possible along the coast with potential damage to roads on exposed low-lying shorelines. High winds with gusts of up to 60 mph could damage trees, power lines, and property. Widespread power outages are likely. Temperatures will drop sharply Friday night into Saturday morning, making for unsafe driving conditions on Saturday due to flash freeze along roadways.
“We are strongly urging all Maine people to prepare for this major storm,” said Governor Janet Mills. “Please take every precaution to protect yourself, exercise caution when traveling, and check on your family, friends, and neighbors. We want to ensure that all Maine people stay safe during this holiday weekend.”
“Now is the time to prepare for this major storm,” said MEMA Director Peter Rogers. “Many folks will be traveling for the holidays in the next few days so plan ahead and be safe. We all need to be prepared for the possibility of a multi-day response.”
Maine people are encouraged to stay tuned to alerts and warnings through media or by downloading the free FEMA app on their smart phone, which provides targeted preparedness information, alerts and warnings for specific areas.
With strong winds also in the forecast, Maine people should remove objects in their yard that could become airborne, such as holiday decorations, shovels, and garbage cans on decks and porches.
If you observe a downed power line, report it to your utility company. Citizens are reminded to never touch a downed power line or a tree in contact with a downed line. Motorists should slow down or change lanes when approaching utility crews working on roadways.
Warming Centers are opening in several Maine counties. Please visit MEMA’s website to find a location near you: https://www.maine.gov/mema/response-recovery/mass-care. You may also dial 2-1-1 or visit their website for a list of locations.
Be sure that alternate heat and power sources are in proper working condition, properly installed, and that you follow the manufacturer’s guidelines. If you are using a portable space heater, please keep the following safety tips in mind:
- Keep combustible objects at least three feet away from portable heating devices.
- Only buy heaters evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
- Check to make sure the portable heater has a thermostat control mechanism and will switch off automatically if the heater falls over.
- Only use crystal clear K-1 kerosene in kerosene heaters. Never overfill it. Use the heater in a well-ventilated room away from curtains and other flammable items.
For further tips or resources on heating during the winter months, visit the Winter Heating Guide produced by the Governor’s Energy Office.