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Governor LePage Urges Mainers to Watch for Updated Weather Forecasts over Weekend

October 2, 2015

For Immediate Release: Friday, October 2, 2015 Contact: Maine Emergency Management: Kathleen Rusley, (207) 620-0960; MaineDOT: Jon Nass, Deputy Commissioner, (207) 557-0923

AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage joined Maine Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and other state, county, local and private-sector emergency partners today for a conference call with the National Weather Service (NWS) to get an update on the path of Hurricane Joaquin and its potential impact to the State of Maine. NWS predicts the hurricane will stay well off the East Coast and Maine.

“Although the National Weather Services has confidence in forecasting models showing the storm staying out to sea, I urge Mainers to pay close attention to the latest weather forecasts and warnings as updated information becomes available over the weekend,” said Governor LePage. “Flooding events from heavy rainstorms this past week should serve as a reminder to all of us of the importance of being prepared for an emergency.”

Hurricane Joaquin is classified as a Category 4 hurricane, located near the Bahamas. NWS anticipates the Maine coast will experience strong storm surges and possible rip tides as the hurricane moves further away from the east coast Monday and into mid-week. Citizens should take extreme caution when walking along the coastline.

“Maine should see no significant rain or wind impacts from Hurricane Joaquin,” said Maine Emergency Management Agency Director Bruce Fitzgerald. “However, the National Weather Service is cautioning of very strong surf along the coast of Maine early next week.”

MaineDOT reports all roads closed due to flooding from the storms earlier in the week are open. However, additional repair work on some damaged roads continues.

“The best way for the public to get updated information on road conditions and closures is from the Maine 511 system,” said MaineDOT Commissioner David Bernhardt. “You can sign up for email alerts, as well as view interactive road maps with real time conditions, on the Maine 511 website.”

The Atlantic hurricane season officially lasts until November 30, according to the National Hurricane Center. Winter storm events can begin as early as late October in northern parts of the State.

“This is the time of year in Maine when conditions can become extremely dangerous for driving and motorists must start being vigilant about safety,” said MEMA Director Fitzgerald. “I was particularly concerned by some of the images of vehicles driving and people wading through flooded waters reported during the last storm. Citizens should never attempt to walk, swim or drive on or through flooded roadways.”

“Never underestimate the dangers of flood water,” said Governor LePage. “It is impossible to tell the exact depth of water covering a flooded roadway or the condition of the road below the water. Always look for an alternate route.”

For more information on MaineDOT 511 or to sign up for travel alerts, visit www.511maine.gov.

For more information about disaster preparedness and safety, visit Maine Prepares at www.maine.gov/mema/prepare.

You can also sign up for e-mail alerts of severe weather, emergency news of all kinds and more at www.Maine.gov.

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