Mainers can expect more than half an inch of ice, power outages Sunday into Monday

By Alex Barber, BDN Staff
Posted Dec. 21, 2013, at 12:24 p.m.

Up to three-quarters of an inch of ice accumulation is expected Sunday through Monday, and meteorologists warn Mainers to be prepared for periods of power loss.

An ice storm warning went into effect Saturday morning, according to the National Weather Service. The warning lasts through Monday morning.

Rumford and Lewiston east to Bangor and Calais could receive between a half and three-quarters of an inch of ice on roads, cars, trees and power lines.

“It’s a significant storm,” said Corey Bogel, a weather service meteorologist in Caribou. “There will likely be power outages and severe disruptions in travel.”

Caribou and into the St. John Valley can expect between 8 and 12 inches of snow. Areas near Jackman and Eustis could receive 8 to 10 inches of snow.

The Portland metro area may see up to a quarter of an inch of ice, according to meteorologist Margaret Curtis of the National Weather Service in Gray. Interior Cumberland and York counties could see between a quarter of an inch and a half an inch of ice.

Southern Penobscot and central Washington counties could see freezing rain totals of between a half and three-quarters of an inch of ice, said Bogel.

There is a freezing rain advisory for coastal areas of Washington and Hancock counties.

“We’re expecting less in way of ice buildup along the coast,” said Bogel.

Areas near Kittery, Biddeford and Saco will likely see only rain and no ice, said Curtis.

Bangor Hydro, Maine Public Service and Central Maine Power are keeping track of the storms and have crews on standby.

“We’ve put our storm response plan into motion, and we’re watching the forecast closely,” Gail Rice, spokeswoman for CMP, said Friday. “Freezing rain is always one of our biggest concerns, and the conditions forecast for Sunday could cause considerable ice buildup on roadways, tree limbs and power lines. This could result in power interruptions and difficult travel, so we’re getting crews, equipment and materials in place to respond.”

Susan Faloon, spokeswoman for Bangor Hydro, said people should be prepared if there are extended periods of power loss.

“If we do see an extended outage event, we encourage people to call to make sure we are aware of it,” said Faloon. “Make sure you have batteries and a flashlight. We recommend people having a backup plan. No amount of preparation is too much. Think ahead and have a place to go [if there’s an extended power loss].”

Faloon also warned people to not move anything if a tree limb falls onto a power line.

Those using electric generators are advised to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines when operating them, and to make sure they’re outside and downwind of their home.

“We’re stressing that if people lose power and use generators, be careful of carbon monoxide. That’s the most dangerous things in ice storms,” said Curtis. “It’s very tempting to throw in the garage, but it can make you very sick or even kill you.”

Rice advised people to have supplies of drinking water and non-perishable food in the event of a power outage. Smart phones, tablets and mobile devices should be fully charged and vehicles should be fueled up.

Curtis warned against driving Saturday evening and Sunday.

“The storm will be worst overnight into Sunday,” she said.

http://bangordailynews.com/2013/12/21/news/state/more-than-half-an-inch-of-ice-expected-saturday-night-into-sunday/ printed on August 2, 2014