AUGUSTA, MAINE — Maine Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is working with partner agencies and utility companies to coordinate mitigation and restoration efforts during the May 1st wind and rainstorm. The National Weather Service offices in Gray and Caribou report that rivers will crest this afternoon through this evening. River flood warnings for minor to moderate flooding will continue today into tomorrow as larger rivers crest over the next 24hrs. Officials are keeping a close eye on dams given the elevated water levels across the state.
“Our priority is keeping Maine people safe, and we urge folks to use caution when traveling,” said MEMA Director Pete Rogers. “If you encounter a flooded roadway while driving, remember – TURN AROUND DON’T DROWN.”
Citizens are encouraged to stay tuned to alerts and warnings through the media or by downloading the free FEMA app on their smart phone, which provides targeted preparedness information, alerts, and warnings for specific areas. It is important to understand the difference between a flood/flash flood watch and a flood/flash flood warning, so you know what to do to stay safe.
If you must evacuate or are traveling during flooding, remember:
- Do not walk through flowing water. Most drownings occur during flash floods.
- Do not drive around road barriers or through flood waters.
What to do After a Flood:
- Continue to monitor the media for emergency information.
- Follow instructions from public safety officials.
- If you have evacuated, return home only when authorities say it is safe to do so.
- Call 9-1-1 to report emergencies including downed power lines and gas leaks.
- Call 2-1-1 to obtain shelter locations and other disaster information.
- Be a good neighbor. Check on family, friends, and neighbors, especially the elderly, those who live alone, those with medical conditions, and those who may need extra help.
- “Turn Around, Don’t Drown!” - Don’t drive through flooded roads.
- Stay out of damaged buildings and away from affected areas or roads until authorities deem them safe.
- If your power is out, report outages to your utility company.
- Look before you step. Debris, including broken bottles and nails can cover the ground and floors after a flood. Mud covered floors and stairs can be slippery.
- Follow news reports to learn if your water supply is safe to drink. Until local authorities say your water supply is safe, boil water for at least one minute before drinking or using it for cooking.
- Throw away food (including canned items) that came in contact with floodwaters. Don’t eat food from flooded gardens. Throw away any refrigerated food that was not kept at temperatures above 40 °F for more than two hours or that has an unusual odor, color, or texture.
Clean Up Your Home and Check for Damage:
- Check your home for damage:
- Never touch electrical equipment while you are wet or standing in water. Consider hiring a qualified electrician to assess damage to electrical systems.
- Have wells checked for contamination from bacteria and chemicals before using.
- Have damaged septic tanks or leaching systems repaired as soon as possible to reduce potential health hazards.
- If your home or property is damaged, take photos or videos to document your damage, and contact your insurance company.
- Avoid entering moving or standing floodwaters. Floodwater and mud may be contaminated by oil, gasoline, or raw sewage.
- Clean and disinfect anything that got wet. Take precautions. Wear appropriate protective equipment such as gloves, safety glasses, and face masks.
- Flooded floors and walls should be washed with a solution of two capfuls of household bleach for each gallon of water.
- Carpeting, mattresses, and upholstered furniture should be disposed of or disinfected by a professional cleaner.
- Remove and replace any drywall or other paneling that has been underwater. Use a moisture meter to make sure that wooden studs and framing are dry before replacing the drywall. Mold growth in hidden places is a significant health hazard.
- Consider using professional cleaning and repair services before attempting to repair flood-damaged property.
The State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) is in partial activation for this storm and assisting the county emergency management agencies with any storm-related issues. For additional preparedness and safety information please log on to www.MainePrepares.com or visit MEMA on Facebook or Twitter.