Governor Mills declares State of Emergency in anticipation of Hurricane Lee

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FRANKLIN COUNTY – As Hurricane Lee approaches, the exact trajectory remains unclear, but tropical storm warnings are in effect for parts of Maine. Governor Janet Mills has declared a State of Emergency in anticipation of the storm. The National Weather Service predicts that western Maine may see winds and rain as Lee hits Maine Friday night through Saturday afternoon.

“To make sure that we can respond to this storm with all state resources as quickly as possible, I have proclaimed a State of Emergency.” Governor Mills said in a radio address Thursday afternoon. “I have also requested that President Biden issue a State of Emergency declaration to give our state access to federal resources and personnel. At the time of this recording, that request is pending, but I have spoken directly with the Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator, Deanne Criswell, and I have been assured that the Biden Administration is ready to deploy federal resources to help us weather this storm as quickly as possible.”

The most recent local statement from the National Weather Service was issued shortly before 6 p.m. Thursday afternoon, saying that Hurricane Lee is continuing to move north and expand in size. The northward movement will continue through Friday, bringing it into the Gulf of Maine late Friday night or early Saturday. As the storm moves north, it is expected to slowly weaken, but the wind field will continue to expand significantly. Therefore, tropical storm conditions are expected along the coast and may develop as early as Friday evening, with the threat continuing through Saturday evening. The strongest winds are expected across coastal portions of New Hampshire and western Maine.

Large, pounding surf in addition to one to three feet of storm surge will result in beach erosion and minor to pockets of moderate coastal
flooding. Heavy rainfall is also possible, particularly across Midcoast Maine where localized flooding will be possible.

There remains some uncertainty with regards to the exact track of Lee, which will play a role in the level of impacts experienced across the area, but confidence is higher for locations further east.

Franklin County Emergency Management Agency Director Amanda Simoneau said Thursday afternoon that the agency is monitoring Hurricane Lee; at this point it appears that it will be more of a coastal storm when it reaches Maine. At this time they are expecting to get rain and some wind here in Franklin County. Depending on the wind speeds and falling trees there may be power outages, which could be longer termed due to CMP having to prioritize their response.

Central Maine Power stated that they are monitoring Lee, and noted that Maine may have worsened impacts due to the extraordinarily wet summer which has resulted in tree stress due to increased soil saturation, flooding, and nutrient runoff.

Roads may become impassable due to downed lines, trees, or flood conditions. Downed lines are never safe to touch, and drivers should not drive through water on the roadways. Follow all local advisories, directions, and hazard warnings.

Preparations can include securing or storing outdoor furniture, toys, and equipment such as grills, gazebos, and trash cans. Check that your emergency kit includes supplies you need for several days without power, including food and water. Check that you have an adequate supply of any medications, pet food, or other necessities that your family needs. Extended power outages can led to food spoiling if not managed properly; the American Red Cross has recommendations for food safety on the website.

Get the latest emergency alerts on your smartphone by downloading the free FEMA app or National Weather Service app. Charge cell phones and other electronic devices, and consider a battery pack for devices. If you own a generator, make sure it is in good working order and that you have an adequate fuel supply. And remember, never use a generator indoors.

Updates on Lee can be found on the National Weather Service website.

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