Maine Prepares for Snow, Sleet, Freezing Rain, Power Outages this Weekend
December 20, 2013
Snow, sleet, rain, freezing rain or a mixture of all is on the way to Maine for late Saturday through Sunday, according to the National Weather Service. Those areas that experience significant freezing rain will likely be hit with power outages, perhaps extensive.
There is a potential for slippery travel conditions, downed trees and other issues depending on how the storm develops, so Mainers and visitors need to be ready for any possible scenario. Some parts of Maine are experiencing snowy conditions today, then there will be a brief break Saturday before heavier precipitation begins late on Saturday or very early Sunday, depending on where you are. While far northern areas will likely experience a significant snowfall, freezing rain is the main concern for central and southern sections.
“It’s time to put safety first, and prepare for this serious storm,” Governor Paul R. LePage said today. “Make sure you have what you need to weather the storm, and then check on neighbors who may need some extra help.” .” The Governor today signed an emergency proclamation that in the event of widespread power outages will allow utility crews to drive additional hours to repair lines and restore power.
- Listen to and watch weather forecasts carefully. The storm track is still uncertain. The prediction for your area will become progressively clearer, including the time it will start and the type of precipitation you will receive, so check on forecasts often.
- During the storm, Maine 2-1-1 will have information on any shelters that are open, as well as safety guidelines. Dial 2-1-1 (toll-free) or, if you have Internet access, visit http://211maine.org
Make a plan:
- Take a quick inventory to see if you have what you need to remain in your home safely, especially if the power goes out. There should be time Saturday morning, before the worst of the storm moves in, to pick up any supplies you may need.
- Battery powered radio?
- Non-perishable foods?
- Pet food?
- Check in with any family, neighbors, and friends who might need help preparing for the storm.
- Consider what you would need if you had to go to an emergency shelter (medications, important papers, etc.)
- If you have a lot of snow on your roof, clear it off on Saturday before the storm. Rain could soak the snow and add a dangerous amount of weight to the roof.
- Never run a generator indoors. The Maine CDC recommends that people should always use generators outside and make sure that it is placed at least 15 feet from windows or doors. It’s a good idea to check on your connections now, before the power goes out.
- If you see a downed power line, leave it alone – always treat power lines as if they are live. A live wire can kill you.
- If clearing trees or limbs make CERTAIN they are not in contact with a power line. Trees and branches can conduct electricity and electrocute you on contact.
- Report outages to your power company.
- Have working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home!
- Never use an “improvised” heat source like grill or oven as they can be fire or carbon monoxide hazards.
- Make sure all heating vents are clear and properly discharging out of the house.
- Make sure snow and ice is not impeding the venting of carbon monoxide and clear it away if it is.
- Keep anything that can burn at least three feet from any heat source.
- Check out a weather report before heading out.
- Visit http://511maine.gov if you have Internet access, or dial 5-1-1 toll free to check on road conditions
- Drive at appropriate speeds for conditions.
- Make sure your car is in good working condition with weather appropriate tires and plenty of gas.
- Throw a blanket, flashlight, cell phone, sand (or anything that can help you get traction if you get stuck), jumper cables, and other items in the car you may need in an emergency.
- Be careful on slippery walkways – make sure you have good footing or just stay off them.
- If you lose power, keep your fridge and freezer closed to keep food cold and safe. A closed fridge will keep food for about four hours. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours, a half-full freezer for about 24 hours.
- Don't cook and eat meat, poultry, fish, eggs or other refrigerated foods that have been above 40 degrees F for two hours or more. They can be contaminated with bacteria that can cause serious illness.
The Maine Emergency Management Agency has been working with the National Weather Service all week to get the best possible information about the storm. In a conference call this morning, the Weather Service briefed MEMA, County and city emergency managers, volunteer partners and key utilities on the expected conditions.
MEMA and County EMA staffs, as well as key state agency staff, are on standby to respond as needed.
- Life or safety-threatening emergency: Call 9-1-1
- Power outage or downed power line: Call your electric utility
- Maine Prepares: http://www.maineprepares.com
- Maine Emergency Management Agency: http://www.maine.gov/mema
- National Weather Service Gray: http://www.weather.gov/gray
- National Weather Service Caribou: http://www.weather.gov/caribou
- Maine DOT Travel Information: http://511maine.gov or dial 5-1-1
- MEMA on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MaineEMA
- MEMA on Twitter: @MaineEMA (http://twitter.com/MaineEMA)
The text of the emergency proclamation is:
Governor’s Emergency Proclamation for US DOT Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Hours of Service Waiver
WHEREAS, the State of Maine is preparing to experience the effects of snow, sleet, freezing rain, and hazardous build-up of icing that have the potential to impact transportation routes and put thousands of Maine homes and businesses out of power; and
WHEREAS, work crews will have to work many hours to clear roads and restore power; and
WHEREAS, power restoration crews may be requested from other service areas and states and potentially Canadian provinces to assist in power restoration; and
WHEREAS, federal rules determine the number of hours the driver of an electrical line repair vehicle may operate; and
WHEREAS, drivers of such vehicles must cease operations when they reach the federal limit on hours of operation, and therefore would have to cease power restoration; and
WHEREAS, these conditions threaten public health and safety and endanger the property of Maine homes and businesses; and
WHEREAS, these conditions are expected to extend until December 29, 2013; and
WHEREAS, the declaration of a State of Emergency will facilitate the granting of a waiver from the US the U.S. Department of Transportation - Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration pursuant to 49 CFR part 390.23 to allow relief from 49 CFR parts 390 through 399, specifically 49 CFR part 395 Hours of Service of Drivers, and subject to the limitations described below, and therefore allow drivers of electrical line repair vehicles to operate additional hours, and
WHEREAS, motor carriers that have an Out-Of-Service Order in effect may not take advantage of the relief from regulation that this declaration provides under 49 CFR 390.23
NOW THEREFORE, I, Paul R. LePage, Governor of the State of Maine, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of Maine, find that these conditions constitute a civil emergency under 37-B M.R.S.A. section 742, and for the purpose pursuant to 49 CFR part 390.23 of facilitating a waiver to the U.S. Department of Transportation - Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, specifically 49 CFR part 395 Hours of Service of Drivers, do hereby declare that a State of Emergency exists as of December 20, 2013 through December 29, 2013.