Gov. Janet Mills has declared a state of emergency ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Lee.
In addition to her Thursday proclamation, Mills has called on President Joe Biden to declare a federal state of emergency, her office announced. That presidential order would give Maine access to federal resources to assist with the state’s response to Hurricane Lee.
In her letter to Biden, Mills warned that Hurricane Lee could overwhelm the state’s emergency officials.
Mills cautioned Mainers that Hurricane Lee’s high winds, big surf and heavy rain may create dangerous conditions that pose “an imminent threat” to life and property.
Additionally, the heavy summer rain has increased soil saturation, flooding and nutrient runoff that has worsened tree health, and combined with the high winds, creates the conditions for widespread power outages.
The proclamation from Mills authorizes the Maine Emergency Management Agency to activate “all resources necessary” to deal with the storm.
“The preemptive actions I took today position Maine to seize Federal resources to respond to the impacts of Hurricane Lee,” Mills said. “We continue to closely track the storm and are expecting heavy rains and high winds that likely will cause storm surge, inland flooding, infrastructure damage, and power outages. We continue to strongly urge Maine people — particularly those Downeast — to exercise caution and to take steps to ensure they have what they need to stay safe as the storm draws closer.”
Hurricane Lee is currently tracking farther to the east and likely to pass Down East Maine and travel up the Bay of Fundy into Canada. That will likely lessen the impact from the storm on southern and central Maine and concentrate its worst effects over parts of the midcoast and Down East Maine, according to meteorologists with CBS affiliate WGME.
The impacts from Lee will be felt between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, with the worst of the storm happening from the afternoon into the night. Lee will produce strong waves and winds in excess of 50 mph.
Coastal authorities have been scrambling to prepare their communities for what could be a potentially damaging storm even as they hope for the best.
“You always look out for the worst, no matter how dumb it is when nothing happens,” George “Bud” Finch, the interim city manager of Eastport, told the Bangor Daily News. “If it comes fast, we’ve got to be ready.”