Hurricane Sandy Weakens; Heavy Rain, Strong Winds Expected Today in Maine
Hurricane Sandy will bring her heavy rains and high winds to Maine Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service in Gray, which is predicting wind gusts between 50 mph and 60 mph and the threat of coastal flooding.
Maine isn't likely to be hit as hard as the mid-Atlantic states, where Sandy is expected to make landfall. Once it does, the storm will weaken, forecasters say, but because of its size (it's roughly as big as Texas) is effects will be felt from North Carolina to Maine. Because the storm is moving so slowly, it is likely to affect Maine's weather -- bringing rain, heavy at times -- throughout the week.
Local forecasters are predicting that the heaviest rain will be over by Wednesday morning, thus leaving only scattered showers for later in the day when trick-or-treaters make their rounds Halloween night.
On Friday, Maine Gov. Paul LePage signed a limited state of emergency in an effort to more quickly restore power should Sandy cause widespread outages. The storm's imminent arrival has also caused some cancellations along the coast, with local officials also warning of the possibility of other closures.
Bangor Hydro Electric Company and Maine Public Service are readying repair crews and preparing equipment for emergency restoration work. The companies are asking their customers, especially those in coastal areas, to take steps to brace for the storm.
"This storm has potential to cause widespread outages," said Kim Wadleigh, Vice President Transmission and Distribution for the utilities. "We’re staging crews in outlying areas, especially Washington County, so they’re where they are needed when the storm passes through."
The utilities remind customers to call customer service centers in the event of outages or downed lines. The numbers are (Bangor Hydro) 1-800-440-1111 or (207) 973-2020 and (Maine Public Service) 1-877-655-4448 or (207) 760-2300. Call centers at both utilities will be staffed with additional employees this afternoon and through Tuesday morning.
Hydro officials warned that, depending on the severity of the storm, power outages could last several days. The utility also has offered some suggestions to customers on how to prepare for the storm.
Here's how the storm is affecting points south:
- The storm surge is expected to reach 6 to 11 feet in many places including the New York metropolitan area.The storm is expected to dump up to a foot of rain in some places. Inland flooding is very likely.
- Evacuations orders have been issued for flood-prone sections of New York City and many coastal communities throughout the Northeast.
- Officials are warning residents in the storm’s path that power outages could last for several days. More than 5K power outages were already reported in New Jersey early Monday morning.
- Public transit systems across New York, Philadelphia and New Jersey have suspended service during the storm as well.
- The New York Stock Exchange will close its trading floor Monday, but Big Board trading will continue electronically.
Mainers still have time to take some precautions before Sandy hits. Loose items around the property should probably be picked up, and things buttoned down. And with the potential of high winds causing extended power outages in many areas, a few extra supplies of food and water in the cupboard wouldn’t be a bad idea.
Flashlights and batteries are a must. Make sure that if you do have a generator, check it for proper operation, and always be aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning when using such equipment.
Nelson Jewell contributed to this report.