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[UPDATE- Weather Watches Issued] Latest Updates and Some Helpful Tips to Prepare for Hurricane Sandy

National Weather Service

Frankenstorm—a nickname for the potential combination of current Category 1 Hurricane Sandy and other storm systems in the North Atlantic and over the continental United States—is almost here, and for much of the East Coast, that means it’s time to get ready for lots and lots of rain, wind and general meteorological mayhem.

A high wind watch is in effect for Monday afternoon to Tuesday morning for Knox, Lincoln, Sagadahoc, Cumberland, York, Kennebec, Androscoggin, southern Oxford, southern Franklin, and southern Somerset counties. Wind gusts over 55 miles per hour are possible.

Also, a coastal flood watch is in effect for coastal York, Cumberland, Sagadahoc, Lincoln, and Knox Counties from Monday morning through Monday evening. This will likely be extended into Tuesday.

Here’s the latest from CMP:

If outages occur, CMP urges customers to call the toll-free outage hotline: 1-800-696-1000.

CMP offers customers the following tips to stay safe and comfortable if power outages do occur.
• Keep battery-operated flashlights and radios on hand, along with supplies of drinking water and non-perishable foods.
• When you use an emergency heating source, like a wood stove, fireplace, or kerosene heater, keep fuels away from the flames and be sure to ventilate properly.
• Never use grills or camp stoves indoors — they can give off dangerous gases.
• For customers with generators:

o Carefully read and observe all instructions in your generator’s owner manual.
o Don’t run a generator indoors, even in an open garage.
o Hire a licensed electrician to install permanent generators and transfer switches.
o Make sure portable generators are properly grounded.
o Don’t store fuel indoors or try to refuel a generator while it’s running.
o Refer to CMP’s web page on generator safety:

Here’s the latest for MEMA:

The National Weather Service reports that although Hurricane Sandy will likely turn ashore somewhere in the mid-Atlantic States, the storm is very large and therefore the effects of the outer bands of the storm will be felt here. The intensity of the effects will depend on the position of the storm as it turns inland. The National Weather Service stressed that this is still an extremely complex system to forecast, and all interests should pay close attention to updated information as the storm approaches.

It appears likely that Maine will experience dangerously strong winds, heavy rains, high surf and potential coastal erosion starting Monday, into Tuesday. Immediate concerns during this time are downed trees and power lines, and the potential for flash flooding and coastal splashover and erosion. Wind speeds and the magnitude of other specific hazards will depend on Sandy’s evolving track.

The rain will then linger for several days, bringing the risk of high stream flows and localized flooding.

The first and most important step for everyone, says MEMA Director Rob McAleer, is to stay informed. “Pay close attention to the latest weather forecasts and warnings for your area, “ McAleer said. “This is a very complex weather system, and with every NWS forecast cycle we learn more. The first step to staying safe is to stay tuned.”

With the potential for widespread power outages, Governor Paul R. LePage has signed a limited Emergency Declaration that will allow power crews from other states and/or Canada to help Maine prepare for the storm. The declaration will help Maine power providers pre-place their crews by extending the hours their crews can drive.

“County and local emergency managers, first responders and utility companies are getting ready for a serious storm” McAleer said. “But we all can take steps to make sure we can weather the storm.”

During and after the storm:
Respect any local access restrictions to flooded areas, beach and shoreline areas or roadways blocked by fallen trees or power lines. Stay away from any downed power lines and report them to your electric utility. If you lose power, use generators and alternate heat sources safely. Generators should only be set up outdoors, at least 15 feet away from doors and windows. MEMA joins the National Weather Service and all operational partners in urging the utmost caution as this complicated storm system brings its hazards to Maine.

Get the latest from the Maine Emergency Management Agency.

Here are some tips on how to deal with any potential power outages caused by the storm.

On Twitter, follow the hashtag #Frankenstorm for further updates.

[CNN, New York Times, National Weather Service]

Next: Latest Forecast

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