AUGUSTA, MAINE - Maine Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), partner agencies, and utility companies are coordinating preparedness efforts in advance of this evening's winter storm. The National Weather Service offices in Gray and Caribou report a Winter Storm Watch is in effect from late tonight through Wednesday afternoon in sections of Oxford, Franklin, Somerset, Androscoggin, Kennebec, Waldo, Sagadahoc, Lincoln, Knox, and Cumberland Counties with total snow accumulation ranging from 6 - 12 inches. A Winter Storm Warning is in effect from 5 AM Tuesday through noon Wednesday in portions of York and Cumberland Counties with 6 12 inches of heavy, wet snow expected and wind gusts of up to 60 mph, especially along the coast. Northern Maine will experience the least amount of impact with 1 3 inches of snow in the forecast.
"We are working with our partners to prepare for this storm and will monitor through the evening and into tomorrow and Wednesday," said MEMA Director Pete Rogers. "As always, our priority is keeping citizens safe, and we urge folks to travel only if necessary."
Citizens are encouraged to stay tuned to alerts and warnings through the media or by downloading the free FEMA app on their smart phone, which provides targeted preparedness information, alerts, and warnings for specific areas.
Motorists are reminded to please give plow trucks plenty of room on the roads. Remember to update theemergency kitin your vehicle in case you become stranded and be sure to let someone know where you will be traveling and when you expect to arrive at your destination. If you must travel during the storm, please consider the following:
- Never warm up a vehicle in an enclosed area such as a garage to avoid Carbon Monoxide poisoning
- Make sure tires are properly inflated and in good condition
- Check windshield wiper fluid
- Ensure the vehicle is clear of all ice and snow
- Keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid the gas line freezing up or running out of gas and becoming stranded
- Bring a fully charged cell phone with roadside assistance numbers programmed in your contacts
- If you become stranded in your vehicle, stay with the vehicle, and tie a brightly colored cloth to the antenna or use other distress signals
- Run the engine and heater just long enough to remove chill to conserve gas
Folks using oil heat or propane are encouraged to monitor levels closely and if they are expecting deliveries, be sure to clear a path to allow easy access for the delivery driver. Mainers are reminded to ensure that alternate heat and power sources are in proper working condition and properly installed. Those who use heat pumps should clear snow drifts away from outdoor units but do not need to worry about snow and ice accumulating on them; heat pumps automatically defrost. For more information on heat pumps visit Effciency Maine's website. For further tips or resources on heating during the winter months, visit the Governor's Energy Office's Winter Heating Guide.
Scattered power outages are possible with this storm system. Warming and Charging Centers operated by local municipalities could open in communities across Maine. Please visit MEMA's website to find a location near you. You may also dial 211 (or 1-866-811-5695) or text your zip code to 898-211 for a list of locations, or contact your local town office, fire, or police department.
The State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) is monitoring the storm and prepared to assist the county emergency management agencies with any storm-related issues. For additional preparedness and safety information please log on to www.MainePrepares.com or visit MEMA on Facebook or Twitter.