Emergency Management News - Maine

 

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State Drought Task Force Says Recent Rainfall Eases Drought Conditions In Maine

12 hours 12 minutes ago
AUGUSTA, MAINE - Maine's Drought Task Force convened virtually yesterday, September 8, for the second time this season to discuss drought conditions across the state. Data from the U.S. Drought Monitor show nearly 40% of the state is abnormally dry (12 of 16 counties), less than 6% is experiencing moderate drought (10 of 16 counties), and just over 3% is in severe drought (7 of 16 counties) by area. An estimated 28% of Maine's population resides in abnormally dry or drought-stricken regions.

The National Weather Service Offices in Gray and Caribou report in August, the weather pattern did an abrupt U-turn for many areas across the state. The Mid-Coast and northern Aroostook County were the two areas to receive below normal precipitation. Meanwhile, Central Maine and York County received 4+ inches above normal. This helped bring those areas closer to normal for the season, although parts of southern Maine were far enough behind normal that they still show a deficit.

Despite recent rain events, severe drought conditions remain in portions of 7 counties along the coast from York County to Penobscot Bay. This is the sixth continuous week of severe drought in these counties; an additional two weeks will be needed to trigger emergency assistance from USDA.

"While the recent steady rainfall has certainly improved drought conditions, we are not out of the woods yet," said MEMA Director Pete Rogers. "August conditions have brought an increase in reports of dry wells so we continue to ask Mainers who are experiencing dry wells to please report them on the Dry Well Survey."

A total of 87 private wells have been reported dry this season with 77 of those being residential. Maine homeowners with dry wells are encouraged to report this information on the Dry Well Survey. For assistance filling out the survey Mainers can either call 211 or 1-877-463-6207, or they can text their Maine zip code to 898-211.

"For farmers that have invested in irrigation and soil health practices, crops are looking good," said Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF) Public Service Coordinator Tom Gordon. "Drought has increased operating costs, particularly for labor and diesel fuel. For farmers who have not invested in irrigation, the outlook is for reduced quantity and quality of yields."

Groundwater levels are normal to above normal in northern and eastern Maine, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The remainder of the monitoring wells experiencing the worst drought conditions in 2022, vary from "normal" along the I-295 corridor, to "below normal" just west of the I-95 corridor. Of particular concern is the area around Oxford where monitoring well ME-OW1214 has been showing the lowest months on record since May, based on 42 years of record at the site. However, these and many other monitoring wells have shown small amounts of recharge from rain over the last two weeks.

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention's Drinking Water Program (DWP) has not received any new reports of water quantity issues from public water systems (PWSs) since mid-August. The Stonington Water Company issued emergency mandatory water use restrictions on July 21, 2022, that are still in effect.

The Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestrys Maine Forest Service reports there have been 596 wildfires, burning a total of 387 acres, as of September 8, 2022.

The Drought Task Force is made up of state, federal and private scientific, agricultural, regulatory, water use and natural resources organizations and assists in monitoring, coordinating, and managing responses to droughts and recommends actions to minimize impacts to public health, safety, the environment, and agriculture. The next virtual Drought Task Force meeting is scheduled for October 6th at 1 p.m.

For more information please visit:

Maine Emergency Management Agency Urges Caution As The Outskirts Of Hurricane Fiona Approach

12 hours 14 minutes ago
AUGUSTA, MAINE - The Maine Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is closely monitoring the track of Hurricane Fiona and is working with County Emergency Management Agencies, the National Weather Service, other State agencies and utilities to prepare for the possibility of damaging winds, rough seas, rain and power outages. Fiona is expected to have the most impact on coastal areas and eastern Maine between Friday evening and midday Saturday as it tracks toward Nova Scotia, Canada. MEMA has offered support to Canadian partners, through the International Emergency Management Group (IEMG) and International Emergency Management Assistance Compact (IEMAC).

"We are working with all of our partners to prepare for Hurricane Fiona," said Maine Emergency Management Agency Director Pete Rogers. "While Hurricane Fiona is not predicted to be a direct hit for our state, we urge residents to be prepared and monitor local forecasts."

The National Weather Service Offices in Gray and Caribou report Fiona has weakened to a Category 4 Hurricane. The Bangor area could see wind gusts of 40-50 mph, Washington County 60-65 mph in Eastport and Lubec, Aroostook County 45-55 mph, and western Maine in the 30-40 mph range. In addition to the high wind threat, high surf is possible Friday evening through the day Saturday as well as an increased risk for rip currents. Large waves can present a danger to people on rocks above the water. Stay away from rocks along the shoreline exposed to ocean waves, as waves can easily sweep people into the cold ocean water.

Steps people can take to prepare for the storm include:

  • Check that your emergency kit includes supplies needed for several days without power, including food, water, and hand sanitizer. Also consider medications, pet food or other special needs.
  • Get the latest alerts and warnings on your smartphone by downloading the free FEMA app or National Weather Service app.
  • Ensure cell phones are enabled to receive National Weather Service Wireless Emergency Alerts for tornadoes, flash flooding and other emergency situations.
  • Charge cell phones and other electronic devices.
  • Determine local evacuation routes.
  • Bring in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and anything else that is not tied down.
  • Remove boats and other watercraft from the water and secure them.
  • Ensure generators are properly installed, fueled, and in good working order.


  • In the event of flooding, do not walk, swim, or drive through flood waters. Turn Around. Don't Drown! Just six inches of fast-moving water can knock you down, and one food of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.

    Prepare for a power outage:

  • Find Alternate Power Sources. Plan for batteries and alternative power sources to meet your needs when the power goes out, such as a portable charger or power bank. Have flashlights for every household member. Remember, never use a generator indoors.
  • Appliances. Disconnect appliances and electronics to avoid damage from electrical surges. Install carbon monoxide detectors with battery backup in central locations on every level of your home to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Food Storage. Keep freezers and refrigerators closed. A refrigerator will keep cold for four hours. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours. If you are in doubt, monitor temperatures with a thermometer and throw out food if the temperature is 40 degrees or higher.
  • Know Your Medical Needs. If you rely on electricity for any medical needs, make a power outage plan for medical devices or refrigerated medicines. Find out how long medication can be stored at higher temperatures and get specific guidance for any medications that are critical for life.
  • Cleanup. 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.


  • Hurricane season runs June 1 - November 30. Please visit Maine Emergency Management Agency on Facebook or Twitter.

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    Drought Outlook From State's First Drought Task Force Meeting of 2022

    1 month 4 weeks ago
    AUGUSTA, MAINE - Maine's Drought Task Force convened virtually yesterday, August 4, as Maine sees its third consecutive year of drought. The U.S. Drought Monitor reports nearly 26% of the state is abnormally dry (9 of 16 counties), almost 32% is in moderate drought (11 of 16 counties), and a little over 8% is experiencing severe drought (8 of 16 counties). Conditions are not expected to improve in the short term.

    The National Weather Service offices in Gray and Caribou forecast warmer than average temperatures to continue through the weekend. By Monday, the weather pattern will begin to shift to a cooler, wetter pattern. Temperatures will be near or slightly below average for the beginning of next week, with rainfall expected on Monday. Currently, rainfall estimates for Monday are ranging around 0.5", with most of the precipitation falling across the north and west.

    "This week's heat and humidity is a true reminder of why over 76% of the state's population is in abnormally dry or drought-stricken areas," said Maine Emergency Management Agency Director Peter Rogers. "While we do have some rain on the horizon next week, we do not anticipate it will be the prolonged, soaking rain needed to remedy these conditions. We are getting reports of dry wells in the southern and western parts of the state. We ask citizens who are experiencing dry wells to please report that."

    A total of 18 private wells have been reported dry this season, 16 of which are residential. Maine homeowners with dry wells are encouraged to report this information to the Dry Well Survey. If someone has difficulty filling out the survey on their own, they are encouraged to dial 2-1-1 or they can text a Maine zip code to 898-211 for assistance with filling out the survey.

    The Maine Center for Disease Control's Drinking Water Program has received sporadic reports of low water quantity from public water suppliers in all areas of Maine except northern Penobscot and Piscataquis Counties and Aroostook County. The Stonington Water Company has issued mandatory water use restrictions and is currently augmenting its supply with water transported by tanker.

    "For farmers that have invested in irrigation and soil health, crops are looking good," said Tom Gordon, Public Service Coordinator at Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry. "Drought has increased operating costs, particularly for labor and diesel fuel. For farmers who have not invested in irrigation, the outlook is for reduced quantity and quality of yields, and crop losses if the drought persists or intensifies." Gordon explained hay supply will be limited for cattle farmers who rely on hay for feed over the fall and winter.

    The Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry's Maine Forest Service reports there have been 533 total wildfires this year, burning more than 350 acres. There is an increase of roadside fires; some were related to arson, but others were related to mechanical malfunctions. Lightning activity picked up in the south during the storm/wind events mid-July around the Sebago Lake area. The expectation is for an increase in wildfire activity as the drought continues.

    Given that conditions are not expected to improve in the short term, the Task Force will meet again virtually on September 8 at 1 p.m. The Drought Task Force is made up of state, federal and private scientific, agricultural, regulatory, water use and natural resources organizations and assists in monitoring, coordinating, and managing responses to droughts and recommends actions to minimize impacts to public health, safety, the environment, and agriculture.

    For more information please visit:

    State Drought Task Force Convenes For 2022 Season

    2 months 2 weeks ago
    AUGUSTA, MAINE - Given the substantial increase in drought conditions over the past two months, the Maine Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) has activated the State's Drought Task Force to discuss current conditions and forecast potential issues. As of July 7, 2022, the U.S. Drought Monitor reports that 8 of Maine's 16 counties are abnormally dry (38.68% of the state) while 14 of Maine's 16 counties are in moderate drought (35.69%). An estimated 75.9% of Maine's population resides in abnormally dry or drought-stricken regions. Groundwater levels in western Maine are still impacted by persistent drought conditions from 2021.

    "Since June 2020, Maine has been experiencing drought conditions in various regions," said Nick Stasulis, Maine Field Office Chief of the U.S. Geological Survey and Co-chair of the Drought Task Force. "These prolonged dry conditions, and the current dry conditions we're experiencing have combined to result in regional groundwater levels that are below normal for the past year and dropping streamflow levels this summer." Stasulis went on to add, that, "while impacts related to these depleted groundwater and streamflow conditions aren't apparent, it's important the Maine Drought Task Force convene to compile potential impacts and share resources with the public."

    Maine has seen 5 privately owned wells reportedly run dry this year; 3 of these wells are in Cumberland County and the other 2 are in Kennebec County. Maine homeowners with dry wells are encouraged to report this information to the Dry Well Survey.

    For low-income homeowners requiring assistance with dry private wells (including drilling a well deeper, drilling a new well, laying pipes to the home, associated labor costs, etc.) please refer to the USDA Single Family Housing Repair Program or the Maine State Housing Authority Home Repair Program.

    MEMA and the U S Geological Survey (USGS) will host a virtual Task Force meeting on Thursday, August 4th from 1 - 2:30 PM to discuss current conditions and forecast trends. The Drought Task Force is made up of state, federal and private scientific, agricultural, regulatory, water use and natural resources organizations and assists in monitoring, coordinating, and managing responses to droughts and recommends actions to minimize impacts to public health, safety, the environment and agriculture. The Task Force is convened when necessary based on drought threat, and members remain in close communication until the dry conditions subside.

    For more information please visit:

    State Drought Task Force Convenes For 2022 Season

    2 months 2 weeks ago
    AUGUSTA, MAINE - Given the substantial increase in drought conditions over the past two months, the Maine Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) has activated the State's Drought Task Force to discuss current conditions and forecast potential issues. As of July 7, 2022, the U.S. Drought Monitor reports that 8 of Maine's 16 counties are abnormally dry (38.68% of the state) while 14 of Maine's 16 counties are in moderate drought (35.69%). An estimated 75.9% of Maine's population resides in abnormally dry or drought-stricken regions. Groundwater levels in western Maine are still impacted by persistent drought conditions from 2021.

    "Since June 2020, Maine has been experiencing drought conditions in various regions," said Nick Stasulis, Maine Field Office Chief of the U.S. Geological Survey and Co-chair of the Drought Task Force. "These prolonged dry conditions, and the current dry conditions we're experiencing have combined to result in regional groundwater levels that are below normal for the past year and dropping streamflow levels this summer." Stasulis went on to add, that, "while impacts related to these depleted groundwater and streamflow conditions aren't apparent, it's important the Maine Drought Task Force convene to compile potential impacts and share resources with the public."

    Maine has seen 5 privately owned wells reportedly run dry this year; 3 of these wells are in Cumberland County and the other 2 are in Kennebec County. Maine homeowners with dry wells are encouraged to report this information to the Dry Well Survey.

    For low-income homeowners requiring assistance with dry private wells (including drilling a well deeper, drilling a new well, laying pipes to the home, associated labor costs, etc.) please refer to the USDA Single Family Housing Repair Program or the Maine State Housing Authority Home Repair Program.

    MEMA and the U S Geological Survey (USGS) will host a virtual Task Force meeting on Thursday, August 4th from 1 - 2:30 PM to discuss current conditions and forecast trends. The Drought Task Force is made up of state, federal and private scientific, agricultural, regulatory, water use and natural resources organizations and assists in monitoring, coordinating, and managing responses to droughts and recommends actions to minimize impacts to public health, safety, the environment and agriculture. The Task Force is convened when necessary based on drought threat, and members remain in close communication until the dry conditions subside.

    For more information please visit:

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    Maine Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) Reminds Citizens to Prepare as Atlantic Hurricane Season Begins

    2 months 2 weeks ago
    AUGUSTA, MAINE - Today marks the beginning of the Atlantic Hurricane Season that extends through November 30. Forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service, are predicting above-average hurricane activity this year - which would make it the seventh consecutive above-average hurricane season. NOAA's outlook for the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season predicts a 65% chance of an above-normal season, a 25% chance of a near-normal season, and a 10% chance of a below-normal season.

    For the 2022 hurricane season, NOAA is forecasting a likely range of 14 to 21 named storms (tropical storm winds of 39 mph or higher get named), of which 6 to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 3 to 6 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher). NOAA provides these ranges with a 70% confidence.

    Maine doesn't usually see many hurricanes, but in 2011 Hurricane Irene, which was downgraded to a tropical storm, still resulted in a disaster declaration in the state. Hurricanes could also affect Mainers traveling to other destinations.

    To prepare for a hurricane, you should take the following measures:
    • Build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan.
    • Know your surroundings - especially if you are traveling in unfamiliar territory.
    • Learn the elevation level of your property and whether the land is flood prone. This will help you know how your property will be affected when storm surge or tidal flooding are forecasted.
    • Identify levees and dams in your area and determine whether they pose a hazard to you.
    • Learn community hurricane evacuation routes and find out if you are in an evacuation zone by using the Maine Hurricane Dashboard. Determine where you would go and how you would get there if you needed to evacuate.
    • Make plans to secure your property:
      • If you live in a high-risk area, cover your home's windows. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with 5/8" marine plywood custom cut to fit. Tape does not prevent windows from breaking.
      • Install straps or additional clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure. This will reduce roof damage.
      • Be sure trees and shrubs around your home are well trimmed so they are more wind resistant. Fallen trees and tree limbs are one of the leading causes of damage and fatalities during these storms.
      • Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
      • Reinforce your garage doors; if wind enters a garage it can cause dangerous and expensive structural damage.
      • Plan to bring in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and anything else that is not tied down.
      • Determine how and where to secure your boat.
      • Install a generator for emergencies.


    Additional preparedness and safety information is available at www.MainePrepares.com or visit MEMA on Facebook or Twitter.

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