Batten down the hatches and bring in the inflatables!
It's time to take a few steps and prep for what forecasters and power companies are saying could be a doozy of a pre-Christmas storm here in Maine. Just what everyone needs at the busiest time of the year, right?
Thursday afternoon the Bangor School Department had already canceled school for the coming day.
And Maine's Governor Mills publicly urged people to prepare for the potential of a multiple-day outage event.
"We are strongly urging all Maine people to prepare for this major storm. Please take every precaution to protect yourself, exercise caution when traveling, and check on your family, friends, and neighbors. We want to ensure that all Maine people stay safe during this holiday weekend.”
Mills then went a step further and instead of closing at noon Friday, she directed State Offices to remain closed the entire day.
"With a major winter storm expected to bring rain, high winds, coastal flooding, and freezing temperatures that will create hazardous conditions, Governor Janet Mills has directed all State of Maine offices to close tomorrow, December 23, 2022."
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Director Pete Rogers of the Maine Emergency Management Agency also recommended that Mainers take the steps now to make sure they are ready for Friday's storm.
“Many folks will be traveling for the holidays in the next few days so plan ahead and be safe. We all need to be prepared for the possibility of a multi-day response.”
Versant Power, like all other utility companies across the state at the moment, is making preparations to be ready for the storm.
Storm Manager for Versant Power, Judy Long, says while the company will have their full contact and tree crews out to deal with public safety issues and damaged lines, customers should be prepared for outages to last longer than just a few hours.
“We are closely monitoring the weather and preparing...With the severity of the weather predicted at this point in time, it is possible that restoration efforts following the storm will take multiple days.”
What can and should you be preparing for with this upcoming pre-Christmas storm?
The two major factors Versant says could come into play are power outages and flooding.
There is no doubt that there will be a lot of folks taking to the roads to get to their holiday destinations. (Unless you plan to leave earlier or later, which might be a good idea!) The folks at Versant have a couple of reminders for motorists who do travel Friday or even Saturday.
"If you must travel, be mindful of flooding or pooling of water on roadways, as well as downed trees, branches or power lines. Do not attempt to remove any downed limbs or trees that have come in contact with power lines by yourself. For your safety, call us to report the downed line and wait for a member of our team to respond to the scene."
Charging up important electronics, and stocking up on extra food, water, important meds, and pet supplies would not be a bad idea.
Frequently check your basement, throughout the storm, for any water that might be coming up.
If you have a generator, check it and if need be, gas it up before the storm starts. If you heat with wood, make sure your supply is all set to go nearby when you need it.
While the plan is to fix the outages in as timely a manner as possible, remember we're in Maine, and Mother Nature loves to throw us curve balls. Washed-out roads and downed trees could delay repair crews from restoring lines for a few days. That's why the experts want you to be ready to be without power for a few days.
The timing is not ideal, and yes it's a pain, but taking a moment or two to prep will likely save you a hassle in the long run.