Emergency Management News - Maine

 

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The Maine Emergency Management Agency Prepares for Post Tropical Cyclone Elsa

2 weeks 2 days ago
AUGUSTA, MAINE - The Maine Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is closely monitoring and tracking Elsa, which has been downgraded to a post tropical cyclone. MEMA is working with the Emergency Response Team, County Emergency Management Agencies, the National Weather Service, other State agencies and utilities to prepare for the possibility of wind, rain and power outages. The fast-moving storm will occur Friday afternoon into the evening. Wind gusts of up to 35 to 40 mph may impact the immediate coast.

"We are working together with all our partners to plan for this event," said Maine Emergency Management Agency Director Peter Rogers. "With 1 to 3 inches of rain expected, Maine people should be aware that there is a potential for localized flash flooding."

MEMA is working with electric utilities to help facilitate getting additional crews in place to help expedite the power restoration process, if needed.

"The wind impacts are going to be minimal for most of the state. We live in Maine; we can handle 30 to 35 mph wind gusts," said Donald Dumont of the National Weather Service in Gray.

Steps people can take to prepare for this post tropical storm or any weather event include: - Build an emergency kit with several days' worth of supplies including food, water, hand sanitizer, and face masks.

- Make a family plan and discuss with your family.

- Get the latest alerts and warnings by downloading the free FEMA app or National Weather Service app on your smartphone.

- Ensure cell phones and electronic devices are fully charged and are enabled to receive National Weather Service Wireless Emergency Alerts for tornadoes, flash flooding, and other emergency situations.

- Avoid driving down flooded roadways.

- Determine local evacuation routes.

- Identify alternate shelter locations in case you need to evacuate.

- Follow Covid-19 shelter guidelines such as wearing masks, social distancing, washing hands, and avoiding congregate shelters if you are not feeling well.

- Bring in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and anything else that is not tied down.

- Remove or secure boats and other watercraft from the water.

- Ensure generators are properly installed, fueled, and in good working order.

Hurricane season runs June 1-November 30. Please visit the Maine Emergency Management Agency on Facebook and Twitter for more information.

State Drought Conditions Discussed at First Drought Task Force Meeting of 2021

3 weeks 1 day ago
AUGUSTA, MAINE - Maine's Drought Task Force convened virtually yesterday, June 30, to discuss drought conditions across the state. Maine saw a rainfall deficit in May and June this year, with Caribou and Portland logging the warmest June on record. However, central and western Maine are currently experiencing the most drought.

"We're already starting to see conditions month to month that are well below normal," said Nick Stasulis, Data Section Chief of the U.S. Geological Survey and Co-chair of the Drought Task Force. "We didn't get the significant spring recharge we were hoping to see."

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services, Center for Disease Control, Drinking Water Program (DWP) report that many public water systems in Maine are currently taking steps to prepare for a drought and modify operations to accommodate low water.

Susan Breau with DWP added, "During the past few weeks we've received requests for assistance, mostly in the southern and coastal portions of the state."

Maine has seen some instances of dry wells, prompting the opening of the Dry">https://maine-dry-well-survey-maine.hub.arcgis.com">Dry Well Survey for private landowners and private wells with 6 reported thus far.

Maine Emergency Management Agency Director Peter Rogers expressed the importance of Drought Task Force members working in tandem through the summer. "I'm concerned about lightning strikes and dry well reports. It's really critical to keep information flowing," said Director Rogers.

Slight relief from the warm temperatures is in the forecast. "The heat will break down as we enter the holiday weekend. We can expect a good cool down with gradually decreasing humidity," said Sarah Jamison of the National Weather Service in Gray. "But the outlook for next week will heat up again."

The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry noted that farmers who have irrigation are using it heavily in most areas of the state. "The first-cut hay crop has been good, but subsequent hay growth has been slow," said Tom Gordon, Public Service Coordinator. The University of Maine Cooperative Extension provides an online Hay">https://extension.umaine.edu/livestock/hay">Hay Exchange resource.

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 will continue to monitor the situation and plans to convene again in one month unless conditions worsen and would then consider meeting sooner.

For more information, please visit:

- Maine">https://www.maine.gov/mema/hazards/drought-task-force">Maine Drought Task Force - Drought">https://droughtmonitor.unl.edu">Drought Monitor - USGS">https://waterwatch.usgs.gov">USGS Water Watch - USGS">https://groundwaterwatch.usgs.gov">USGS Groundwater Watch - Northeast">https://nedews.nrcc.cornell.edu">Northeast Drought Early Warning System (NE DEWS) - Dry">https://maine-dry-well-survey-maine.hub.arcgis.com">Dry Well Survey

State Drought Conditions Discussed at First Drought Task Force Meeting of 2021

3 weeks 2 days ago
AUGUSTA, MAINE - Maine's Drought Task Force convened virtually yesterday, June 30, to discuss drought conditions across the state. Maine saw a rainfall deficit in May and June this year, with Caribou and Portland logging the warmest June on record. However, central and western Maine are currently experiencing the most drought.

"We're already starting to see conditions month to month that are well below normal," said Nick Stasulis, Data Section Chief of the U.S. Geological Survey and Co-chair of the Drought Task Force. "We didn't get the significant spring recharge we were hoping to see."

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services, Center for Disease Control, Drinking Water Program (DWP) report that many public water systems in Maine are currently taking steps to prepare for a drought and modify operations to accommodate low water.

Susan Breau with DWP added, "During the past few weeks we've received requests for assistance, mostly in the southern and coastal portions of the state."

Maine has seen some instances of dry wells, prompting the opening of the Dry">https://maine-dry-well-survey-maine.hub.arcgis.com">Dry Well Survey for private landowners and private wells with 6 reported thus far.

Maine Emergency Management Agency Director Peter Rogers expressed the importance of Drought Task Force members working in tandem through the summer. "I'm concerned about lightning strikes and dry well reports. It's really critical to keep information flowing," said Director Rogers.

Slight relief from the warm temperatures is in the forecast. "The heat will break down as we enter the holiday weekend. We can expect a good cool down with gradually decreasing humidity," said Sarah Jamison of the National Weather Service in Gray. "But the outlook for next week will heat up again."

The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry noted that farmers who have irrigation are using it heavily in most areas of the state. "The first-cut hay crop has been good, but subsequent hay growth has been slow," said Tom Gordon, Public Service Coordinator. The University of Maine Cooperative Extension provides an online Hay Exchange resource at: https://extension.umaine.edu/livestock/hay/.">https://extension.umaine.edu/livestock/hay">https://extension.umaine.edu/livestock/hay/.

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 will continue to monitor the situation and plans to convene again in one month unless conditions worsen and would then consider meeting sooner.

For more information, please visit:

Maine Drought Task Force: https://www.maine.gov/mema/hazards/drought-task-force">https://www.maine.gov/mema/hazards/drought-task-force">https://www.maine.gov/mema/hazards/drought-task-force

Drought Monitor: https://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/">https://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/">https://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/

USGS Water Watch: https://waterwatch.usgs.gov/">https://waterwatch.usgs.gov">https://waterwatch.usgs.gov/

USGS Groundwater Watch: https://groundwaterwatch.usgs.gov/">https://groundwaterwatch.usgs.gov/">https://groundwaterwatch.usgs.gov/

Northeast Drought Early Warning System (NE DEWS): https://nedews.nrcc.cornell.edu/">https://nedews.nrcc.cornell.edu/">https://nedews.nrcc.cornell.edu/

Dry Well Survey: https://maine-dry-well-survey-maine.hub.arcgis.com/">https://maine-dry-well-survey-maine.hub.arcgis.com/">https://maine-dry-well-survey-maine.hub.arcgis.com/

Maine Emergency Management Agency Works With Partners To Address Flash Flooding And Road Washouts In Hancock and Washington Counties

1 month 2 weeks ago
AUGUSTA, MAINE - Heavy rain and severe thunderstorms caused extensive damage to roadways in Down East Maine early Wednesday, June 9, 2021, including washing out a road that limited ingress and egress out of Roque Bluffs. Maine Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) remains in constant communication with agency partners in Hancock and Washington Counties, including the County EMA's, Maine Department of Transportation, Maine Forest Service, National Guard, US Coast Guard, Maine Marine Patrol, and local fire and police departments.

"MEMA and its partners established air support for Roque Bluffs through Lifeflight and notified the National Guard in the event a person experienced a medical emergency that required transport," said MEMA Director Peter Rogers. "We're addressing the situation in the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) along with managing ongoing COVID missions."

The Maine Department of Transportation is working to assist affected communities.

"Maine Department of Transportation crews have been hard at work since early this morning - joining our emergency management partners to help the affected communities," said MaineDOT Commissioner Bruce A. Van Note. "We mobilized quickly and were able to reconnect the community of Roque Bluffs by midday. There's still a lot of work to do as our crews continue to repair the damaged roadways and upsize the culvert that was overwhelmed by this morning's flooding. I'm proud of our crews and their dedication to the residents in the area."

Residents and visitors are reminded to Turn Around, Don't Drown if they come across flooded roadways. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than half of all flood-related deaths happen when a vehicle has attempted to cross into flood waters. It only takes 6 inches of flowing water to knock a person over, and 12 inches to render a car useless. Never attempt to cross flood waters.

Residents are encouraged to call 211 to report any home or property damages.

For additional information, please visit Maine.gov/MEMA, or visit MEMA on Facebook or Twitter.

Maine's Drought Task Force Proactively Convenes Ahead of Potential Drought

3 months ago
AUGUSTA, MAINE - On Thursday, April 22, the Maine Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and US Geological Survey (USGS) commenced a preliminary activation of the Drought Task Force (Task Force) for the 2021 season. The U.S. Drought Monitor mapping program shows extensive abnormally dry conditions across the state of Maine that exceed the threshold required for activating the Task Force. Given that these conditions are occurring early in the year, and in combination with the many vaccination-related efforts taking precedence at MEMA, Task Force Chairs from USGS and MEMA approved a preliminary activation of the Task Force.

"Weekly communication has begun between MEMA, USGS, National Weather Service, Maine Drinking Water Program, and other drought monitoring partners to compile a weekly email update on the status of Maine's drought. Task Force members are closely monitoring the drought situation across the state," said Samuel Roy, Natural Hazards Planner with Maine Emergency Management Agency.

Currently about 55% of Maine is experiencing abnormally dry conditions, impacting 15 counties. The majority of streamflows and groundwater levels are lower than average springtime conditions, though recent rainfall has temporarily increased some streamflows in western and southern Maine. River basin reservoir managers are storing more water than average in anticipation of abnormally dry conditions. More precipitation is expected at the start of next week. Task Force members will stay in close communication until the dry conditions subside.

In addition to drought monitoring responsibilities, Task Force partners are asked to report any drought-related impacts for which they are notified. The Task Forces preliminary response will continue for as long as appropriate, until virtual meetings are deemed necessary to respond to drought-related impacts in the state.

For additional information, please visit Maine.gov/MEMA, or visit MEMA on Facebook or Twitter.

Drought Conditions See Significant Improvements Statewide

3 months ago
AUGUSTA, MAINE - Maine's Drought Task Force met virtually Thursday to discuss the drought conditions across the state. Since the Task Force met a month ago, drought conditions have significantly improved across the state. According to the latest Drought Monitor, five percent of the state remains in drought status.

The National Weather Service reported large precipitation gains over the last month, noting most areas received normal or above normal precipitation amounts. While snowpack is currently below normal for mid-December in the headwaters region, they noted there is still a lot of winter to go.

The U.S. Geological Survey reported that river flows have recovered due to rain events in October and November, and that on average, Maine stream flows are above normal. Ground water levels have also recovered, with recharge showing in all 18 monitored real time wells. Some of the slower responding wells are still rising from recent rains.

"Its been a long year but its great to see things have really turned around," MEMA Deputy Director Joe Legee said. "We're proud of all of the great work the Task Force has done."

The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) reported that Knox County received a drought declaration. The special FSA">https://www.usda.gov/topics/disaster/drought/usda-drought-programs-and-assistance">FSA Farm Programs remain in effect to assist farmers, ranchers and small businesses, as well as the Small">https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela">Small Business Administration disaster loan assistance programs. Available programs and loans include: - Non-insurable">https://www.fsa.usda.gov/Assets/USDA-FSA-Public/usdafiles/FactSheets/noninsured_crop_disaster_assistance_program-nap-fact_sheet.pdf">Non-insurable Crop Assistance Program (NAP) - provides financial assistance to producers of non-insurable crops when low yields, loss of inventory, or prevented planting occur due to natural disasters including qualifying drought.

- Livestock">https://www.fsa.usda.gov/Assets/USDA-FSA-Public/usdafiles/FactSheets/livestock_forage_program_lfp-fact_sheet.pdf">Livestock Forage Program (LFP) - provides compensation to eligible livestock producers who suffered grazing losses for covered livestock due to drought.

- Tree">https://www.fsa.usda.gov/Assets/USDA-FSA-Public/usdafiles/FactSheets/archived-fact-sheets/tap_fact_sheet_may_2018.pdf">Tree Assistance Program (TAP) - provides financial assistance to eligible orchardists and nursery tree growers to replant and/or rehabilitate eligible trees, bushes, and vines lost due to a qualifying natural disaster.

- Emergency">https://www.fsa.usda.gov/Assets/USDA-FSA-Public/usdafiles/FactSheets/archived-fact-sheets/elap-livestock-fact-sheet_11-22-19.pdf">Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) - provides emergency relief for losses due to feed or water shortages, disease, adverse weather, or other conditions, which are not adequately addressed by other disaster programs.

- Emergency">https://www.fsa.usda.gov/Assets/USDA-FSA-Public/usdafiles/FactSheets/emergency_loan_program-factsheet.pdf">Emergency Loan Program - available to producers with agriculture operations located in a county under a primary or contiguous Secretarial Disaster designation. These low interest loans help producers recover from production and physical losses.

- Emergency">https://www.fsa.usda.gov/Assets/USDA-FSA-Public/usdafiles/FactSheets/emergency-conservation-program-ecp-fact_sheet.pdf">Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) - provides cost share, up to 75% of the producers actual costs, to provide emergency water during periods of severe drought (specifically for grazing and confined livestock and existing orchards and vineyards). Approved practices and measures may include: - installing pipelines or other facilities for livestock water or existing irrigation systems for orchards and vineyards - constructing and deepening wells for livestock water - developing springs or seeps for livestock water.

Producers experiencing drought related losses should contact their local FSA Office. A list of local offices can be accessed">https://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app?state=me&agency=fsa">accessed here. The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry has partnered with the University of Maine School of Food and Agriculture, in collaboration with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, to administer the Maine Drought and Agriculture Survey to research how the drought affected farming operations over the past five years. Those wishing to participate in the survey can access it here.">https://umaine.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_2l6xn5MnFy7WJtr">here.

The Dry Well Survey, launched by MEMA in August, received feedback of dry wells in all sixteen counties and has been formally closed. With over 280 responses, the information helped the Task Force determine how widespread the problem was and what resources were needed.

Citizens who may be experiencing low water levels in wells are also encouraged to take the following steps:

- Avoid filling wells by a water hauler or fire department. This could contaminate the owner's well because water from an unknown source may contain toxins and water would likely leak out in a short amount of time.

- Check water systems for leaks and fix them. This can also save money for those on public water.

- Ensure you have a full load before running dishwashers and washing machines.

- Space out water usage to avoid a temporary shortage that could damage the pump.

- If using drinking water from an outside source, make sure containers and the water source are clean.

- Use a licensed well driller or pump installer to check water levels in wells for the most accurate assessment and advice and to avoid contamination.

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 has officially been closed due to the improved conditions. The Task Force will reconvene in the spring of 2021 should the conditions warrant.
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News releases and informational articles relating to emergency management in Maine.
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