Local residents are scrambling to put away objects that might become airborne debris and stock up on water and flashlights as Hurricane Sandy batters the Eastern seaboard. Although the National Weather Service currently expects the storm to turn inland south of Maine, Sandy has the potential to create significant problems for Maine beginning on late Monday, according to a press release from the Maine Emergency Management Agency.
A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration report cites the Deer Isle Causeway as an area of concern for high winds and tides. High tide is at 11:44 p.m. Monday night and again around 11:53 a.m. Tuesday morning.
The National Weather Service reports that although Hurricane Sandy will likely turn ashore somewhere in the mid-Atlantic States, the storm is very large and therefore the effects of the outer bands of the storm will be felt here. The intensity of the effects will depend on the position of the storm as it turns inland. The NWS stressed that this is still an extremely complex system to forecast, and all interests should pay close attention to updated information as the storm approaches.
It appears likely that Maine will experience dangerously strong winds, heavy rains, high surf and potential coastal erosion starting Monday, into Tuesday. Immediate concerns during this time are downed trees and power lines, and the potential for flash flooding and coastal splash-over and erosion. Wind speeds and the magnitude of other specific hazards will depend on Sandy’s evolving track.
The rain will linger for several days, bringing the risk of high stream flows and localized flooding.
The first and most important step for everyone, says MEMA Director Rob McAleer, is to stay informed. “Pay close attention to the latest weather forecasts and warnings for your area, “McAleer said. “This is a very complex weather system, and with every NWS forecast cycle we learn more. The first step to staying safe is to stay tuned.”
With the potential for widespread power outages, Governor Paul LePage has signed a limited Emergency Declaration that will allow power crews from other states and/or Canada to help Maine prepare for the storm. The declaration will help Maine power providers pre-place their crews by extending the hours their crews can drive.
“County and local emergency managers, first responders and utility companies are getting ready for a serious storm,” McAleer said. “But we all can take steps to make sure we can weather the storm.”
Before the storm:
Stay tuned to updated NWS advisories to make sure you’re aware of potential dangers (a NOAA weather radio is a great way to stay informed no matter where you are).
Check on your emergency supplies such as batteries, water, food and medications.
Check on neighbors, relatives and friends who might need help getting ready for the storm, or cleaning up after it.
Check in with family in areas where the storm might hit harder. Ensure that you know how to contact each other quickly. Text messaging is a great way to get quick “I’m okay” messages through.
During and after the storm:
Respect any local access restrictions to flooded areas, beach and shoreline areas or roadways blocked by fallen trees or power lines.
Stay away from any downed power lines and report them to your electric utility.
If you lose power, use generators and alternate heat sources safely. Generators should only be set up outdoors, at least 15 feet away from doors and windows. MEMA joins the National Weather Service and all operational partners in urging the utmost caution as this complicated storm system brings its hazards to Maine.