Another Winter Storm Approaching Maine
December 28, 2013
The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for much of central and coastal Maine for late Sunday afternoon into early Monday morning.
A fast-moving storm is forecast to bring as much as 10 inches of snow to inland areas while some downeast areas still in the dark from the last week's ice storm may see snow, sleet and freezing rain.
Although power restoration efforts have been making steady progress, cold weather has kept ice cover on trees and power lines. Heavy wet snow or more sleet and ice from the new storm could cause new outages and hamper restoration efforts.
The bulk of the remaining outages are in Hancock County, and Bangor Hydro Electric has stated that it may be as late as Wednesday before all customers' power is restored.
Hancock County Emergency Management Agency reports that multiple communities are maintaining warming centers for residents' use, and a regional American Red Cross emergency shelter remains open at the Ellsworth Middle School, 20 Forrest Avenue in Ellsworth. A complete list of warming centers and shelters is posted on MEMA's web site, or residents may call 2-1-1 (toll free) for locations.
Carbon monoxide poisoning remains a central concern of state, county and local officials. Since the ice storm began, one death has been attributed to carbon monoxide poisoning related to operation of an emergency generator. The Maine CDC is tracking multiple additional CO poisoning cases.
The MaineCDC reminds Mainers that CO poisoning is not only related to generator use, it can also arise when alternative heat sources such as kerosene heaters are used improperly, when vents to home appliances are blocked, or when vehicles are improperly vented or run inside a garage.
Bangor Hydro Electric also reports that line crews working on restoration are encountering numerous cases of improperly installed generators. In addition to the risk to the resident of carbon monoxide poisoning, if the generator electrical connections are not made correctly power can feed back into the distribution system, putting line workers at extreme risk.
Here again are winter storm safety tips and sources for additional information:
- Stay informed as the new storm moves closer on Sunday. Forecasts will be different depending on where you are, and will will become more refined as the storm moves closer.
- Check in on friends and neighbors who may need assistance, especially those who are operating generators or alternative heaters. Neighbors helping neighbors save lives. Share safety information with those who might not have received it.
- No fallen power line is safe to touch. If you find a downed power line, call your electric utility immediately. Do not trim trees that are in the vicinity of fallen lines.
- Death can result from improper use of generators. To avoid carbon monoxide poisoning, use generators outside only, at least 15 feet away from doors and windows. Have a carbon monoxide detector with battery back-up where people sleep
- Signs of carbon monoxide poisoning are headache, nausea, vomiting or dizziness. Get out of the house and call 911 at once.
For more help and information:
- Life or safety-threatening emergency: Call 9-1-1
- Power outage or downed power line: Call your electric utility
- Bangor Hydro Electric/Maine Public Service: 1-800-440-1111 (Central and Downeast Maine) and 1-877-655-4448 (Northern Maine)
- Central Maine Power: 1-800-696-1000
- Eastern Maine Electric: (207) 454-7555 Ext. 250, (800) 696-7444 Ext. 250
- For shelter locations or other health and safety resources: Dial 2-1-1 (toll free) or http://www.211maine.org
- Maine Prepares (weather alerts and safety information): 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: 511maine.gov or dial 5-1-1 (toll-free)
- MEMA on Facebook: www.facebook.com/MaineEMA
- MEMA on Twitter: @MaineEMA (twitter.com/MaineEMA)