AUGUSTA, MAINE - A quick moving storm is set to hit Maine late Wednesday evening into Thursday. The wintery mix of snow, rain, freezing rain, and ice will move south to north with higher snow totals expected to the north and west. The National Weather Service Offices in Gray and Caribou report coastal Maine will see wet, heavy snow and winds gusting upwards of 50+ mph, specifically in Hancock and Washington Counties where power outages could be an issue. Temperatures will plummet Thursday evening into the single digits Friday morning causing refreeze.
Motorists should plan for extra travel time during both the Thursday morning and evening commutes as road conditions may be hazardous with reduced visibility at times. Travel conditions in northern Maine could be challenging Friday morning as well.
If you observe a downed power line, report it to your utility company. Citizens are reminded to never touch a downed power line or a tree in contact with a downed line. Motorists should slow down or change lanes, if possible, when approaching utility crews working on roadways.
"We are monitoring the third significant storm this month," said MEMA Director Peter Rogers. "Due to the mixed precipitation, we anticipate unsafe driving conditions, and we also urge folks to be cautious while shoveling out from the storm."
When removing snow, remember to take the following precautions to prevent injury:
- Push snow instead of lifting it, pushing small amounts at a time
- Bend your knees to lift with your legs, not your back
- Avoid power lines when removing snow from rooftops
- Those with heart trouble should consult a doctor to make sure it is safe to shovel
- Avoid shoveling immediately after eating or while smoking
- Pace yourself - shoveling can raise your heart rate and blood pressure
- If you can, shovel soon after the storm when the snow is fresh and powdery
- Dress warmly and limit exposure to your nose, ears, hands, and feet
- Take frequent breaks
- If you feel tightness in your chest, stop immediately
Snow blower safety:
- If the blower jams, turn it off
- Keep your hands away from the moving parts
- Avoid using the snow blower while consuming alcohol
- Avoid running a snow blower in an enclosed space to prevent Carbon Monoxide poisoning
- Never refuel while the snow blower is running
Folks who use 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 proper installed.
After power and other utilities have been restored, you might face the issue of what to do with storm-damaged trees. Maine Forest Service offers tips and helpful guidance for those faced with questions about what to do with downed trees, limbs, and branches.
For further tips or resources on heating during the winter months, visit the Governor's Energy Office's Winter Heating Guide.
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 2-1-1 or visit their website for a list of locations.
Mainers are encouraged to stay tuned to alerts and warnings through media or by downloading the free FEMA app on their smart phone, which provides targeted preparedness information, alerts and warnings for specific areas. For more information on preparedness please visit MEMA on Facebook or Twitter.