Storm could bring up to a foot of snow in Waldo CountyCentral Maine Power prepares for possible outages
Waldo County is under a winter storm watch for the end of the week as up to a foot of snow could fall across the area.
The National Weather Service issued a winter storm watch for the county that is in effect from noon on Thursday, Feb. 13, until noon on Friday, Feb. 14. The storm is expected to bring 8 to 12 inches of snow.
There is a possibility the storm will bring some mixed precipitation along the immediate coast. Temperatures are expected to be in the mid 20's with a wind speeds between 10 and 20 mph and gusts up to 40 mph.
The snowfall is expected to taper off early Friday morning, according to NWS.
If the storm system moves more to the east it would mean less overall snowfall accumulation; whereas if it moves more to the west, there is a chance for more mixed precipitation and less snowfall, according to NWS.
Central Maine Power Company is preparing for the mixed precipitation and gusty winds forecast for the area. Utility trucks are fueled and equipped, and CMP personnel are holding pre-storm planning sessions to discuss staffing levels and finalize response plans.
“We’ve put our storm response plan into motion, and we’re watching the forecast closely,” said Gail Rice, spokesperson for Central Maine Power. “The heavy snow, sleet, and rain forecast for Thursday could cause considerable snow and ice buildup on roadways, tree limbs, and power lines. Combined with gusty winds, this could result in power interruptions and difficult travel, so we’re getting crews, equipment, and materials in place to respond.”
Twenty-five CMP crews, along with crews from contractors that often assist the utility during storms, have been in southeastern Pennsylvania restoring service under a mutual aid agreement. Both CMP and the contractors recalled the crews to make them available for Thursday’s forecast storm. They were due to arrive back in Maine late Wednesday afternoon, Feb. 12.
The utility is coordinating its storm preparation efforts with other utilities in the North Atlantic Mutual Assistance Group, or NAMAG. It is also lining up contract crews to assist local crews if the storm causes widespread damage. CMP is also keeping the Maine Emergency Management Agency apprised on preparation efforts.
If outages occur, CMP urges customers to call the toll-free outage hotline: 1-800-696-1000.
CMP offers customers the following tips to prepare for the storm and stay safe and comfortable if power outages do occur.
Before a storm strikes:
- Keep battery-operated flashlights and radios on hand, along with supplies of drinking water and non-perishable foods.
- Make sure that smart phones, tablets, and other mobile devices are fully charged.
- Fill your car’s fuel tank.
During a power interruption:
- To report a power interruption, contact CMP at 1-800-696-1000. Our telephone system automatically creates a work order and sets the stage for dispatch of crews to the outage location.
- When using 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.
- Keep refrigerators and freezers closed as much as possible. Most food will last 24 hours or longer if you minimize the opening of refrigerator and freezer doors.
For customers with generators:
- Hire a licensed electrician to install permanent generators and transfer switches.
- Make sure portable generators are properly grounded.
- Carefully read and observe all instructions in your generator’s operating manual.
- Never run a generator indoors, or even in an open garage.
- Do not store fuel indoors or try to refuel a generator while it’s running.
Refer to CMP’s web page on generator safety.
The company urges customers to use caution if they see downed lines.
“Everyone should stay clear of any downed power lines or fallen trees that may be tangled in the lines,” said Rice. “All downed lines should be considered live and dangerous. Customers should leave the clean-up to our crews, who are trained and equipped to handle these situations safely.”
CMP also reminds drivers to use caution when approaching utility crews. The working conditions are difficult, and the workers appreciate everyone’s consideration for their safety.
Additional information on storm safety and restoration, including a town-by-town listing of outages in the CMP service area with an area map, can be found on the CMP website.