Maine Emergency Management prepares for significant winter storm
Augusta — Maine Emergency Management Agency is monitoring the impending winter storm and planning for severe conditions. MEMA representatives were joined by the National Weather Service, the Department of Transportation, The Maine Turnpike Authority, State Police and electric and communications utilities for a storm-planning call this morning to plan for what is expected to be the most significant storm yet this winter season.
According to Bruce Fitzgerald, director of MEMA, “This is a serious storm and we urge all Mainers to prepare and stay off the roads so the DOT crews can safely clear the snow.”
National Weather Service representatives indicated that one to two feet of snowfall is expected from the mountains and foothills south to the coast with some spot totals possibly exceeding two feet. Strong wind gusts are expected to be problematic as well, especially along the coast and could cause power outages. A blizzard watch is currently in place along the coast for late Sunday into Monday. The most severe conditions are expected late Sunday through Monday. Utility companies are staging crews in advance and making arrangements for mutual assistance.
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· National Weather Service Caribou
Download the FEMA mobile app for NWS warnings and safety reminders
· Have a family communications plan – know how you will contact one another and what to do in case of an emergency.
· Check your emergency supplies, do errands early, then stay off the roads to keep yourself safe and assist crews in clearing snow.
· If you must travel, use extreme care and respect any local road closures or restrictions. Visibility will be near zero at times from blowing and drifting snow. Ensure you have an emergency kit in your vehicle. Let someone know when and where you are traveling and when you expect to arrive.
· Check in with friends and neighbors who may need help weathering the storm
· Bring pets/companion animals inside and move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas with non-frozen drinking water.
· If you lose power, use generators or alternate heat sources safely
· Run generators outside only, 15 feet away from doors or windows, with exhaust pointing away from the house
· Keep heater and appliance vents clear; carbon monoxide can back up into the home if vents are clogged
· After the storm, Don’t overdo it – When clearing snow take frequent breaks. Shoveling is strenuous work and can lead to a number of health problems ranging from a back injury to cardiac issues. Dress properly for conditions to avoid frostbite or hypothermia.
· Again, see if a friend or neighbor needs help clearing out.
· After the storm, berms will be high, take care and enter roadways slowly and with caution.
Special message about carbon monoxide safety
Everyone should check their generator setups, and make sure all external heating vents are clear of snow. Then take a moment to think of friends and neighbors who may need help doing this and check on them as well.
Check out the Maine CDC / MEMA Fact Sheet on Carbon Monoxide Safety
Warning signs of CO poisoning are flu-like symptoms without fever (such as headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, drowsiness, and confusion). CO poisoning can also result in coma and death. CO is an odorless gas emitted when burning most fuels. Improper operation or placement of alternative heating or generators, or clogged heater vents can result in poisoning when CO gas builds-up in enclosed spaces.
For additional preparedness and safety information, please visit MainePrepares.com. Shelter information will be available at http://211maine.org/ or by dialing 2-1-1.