AUGUSTA — Gov. Paul LePage Friday signed a limited emergency declaration, which will allow power crews from other states and/or Canada to help Maine prepare for Hurricane Sandy. The declaration will help Maine power providers pre-place their crews by extending the hours their crews can drive.
The declaration was issued in advance of the hurricane, currently off the east coast of Florida, in order to expedite power restoration for thousands of Maine households could potentially be without electricity as a result of the pending storm.
"This effort will allow power crews to restore power in areas that sustain damage," LePage said in a press release. "The ability to have electrical service repaired quickly is critical to protect [the] public health and safety of Mainers."
The governor and the state Emergency Management Agency continue to monitor the weather as Sandy travels north. For more information regarding the storm, visit www.maine.gov/mema.
The Governor's proclamation waives Federal Department of Transportation rules and extends the hours of service for workers, and allows additional crews from other states to assist with repairs.
Currently a category 1 hurricane with peak winds of 80 mph, Sandy crossed the Bahamas Thursday. The hurricane is expected to reorganize and strengthen as it winds its way toward the mid-Atlantic. National Weather forecasters are saying now that a large cold front moving into the East will eventually be met by Sandy creeping north, and the result will form a much larger storm that will affect a greater area.
Models are now showing a remote chance of the storm directly striking New England, but the sheer magnitude of Sandy will bring wind, rain and high surfs to Maine. After the storm makes landfall around Delaware, wind currents are expected to trap it for several days in the Pennsylvania and western New York state area, causing Maine to experience tropical showers and downpours through Friday.
Central Maine Power officials Friday reported they are now preparing for the storm by lining up the work crews and contractors to be on standby to repair damaged power lines.
"We’ve put our storm response plan into motion, and we’re watching the forecast closely," said John Carroll, spokesperson for CMP. "Our main concern will be the high winds and heavy rains forecast to accompany the storm. With leaves that have not yet been shed, trees are particularly vulnerable to strong winds, and the limbs and branches could be blown into our lines."
If outages occur, CMP urges customers to call the toll-free outage hotline at 1-800-696-1000.
— NOAA: Hurricane Sandy