Maine Bracing For Hurricane Sandy’s Wrath 

People all across the eastern United States are feeling the wrath of Hurricane Sandy. Officials at the Maine Emergency Management Agency and local power companies are on alert.It’s all hands on deck in the Emergency Operations Center at the headquarters of MEMA in Augusta. MEMA officials say the next 12-18 hours are the most critical here in Maine. “We have not dispatched any resources,” MEMA director, Robert McAleer, told reporters Monday afternoon. “The way we operate with our emergencies is we wait for the request to come in first from the local community, or the county, or the metro area, and then we dispatch those resources. We have not received any request for those.”Governor LePage was briefed on what the next 18-hours could bring, then he offered this advice to Mainers. “Basically, use a lot of common sense. Stay out of elements. Let the storm take its course and be safe.”The major concern for Maine residents are the high winds Sandy is expected to pack. Gusts of up to 60-to-70 miles per hour in some places. “The storm will enter into the southern region of the state, first working its way North,” McAleer said. “The greatest impact we believe will be in the southern region, but we’ll have to wait for the final track of the storm.”Those winds are expected to leave tens of thousands of Mainers without power. “At this point, all of our employees are notified. We call it an ‘all hands on deck’ event,” said Central Maine Power Spokesman John Carroll.Officials from CMP say extra utility crews from Canada are on standby to assist in power restoration efforts. They’re warning customers to be prepared for outages that could last days. “We’re going to look at high winds especially on the coast and with the rain that we’ve seen, we could have a lot of heavy trees falling down,” Carroll said. “It’s not so much limbs but whole trees coming and breaking poles. That’s the type of repair that takes a long time.”LePage said if the storm doesn’t do a lot of damage in Maine some of those extra crews could be sent to other areas that suffer heavier damage in Sandy’s wake. “I think what may happen is, if everything goes according to the tracking, the likelihood is tomorrow we’ll be releasing some of the crews to go help down in e other states, because we’re hoping we’re not going to get hit as bad. If we do, of course, they’ll stay here,” LePage said.As of 4:30 Monday afternoon, CMP tells us around 6,000 Mainers have already lost power, and they’re bracing for a long night.Bangor Hydro and Maine Public Service also have repair crews ready to deal with outages.Here are some quick early numbers that show the impact of Sandy so far here in Maine:- Power outages: 5,700. – Evacuations: There are no mandatory evacuation orders. But the town of Wells encouraged residents of low-lying areas to leave their homes and businesses. – Number of people and number of shelters: At least one shelter open in Buxton. – Injuries/deaths: None. – Key road/government closings: Route 1A in York temporarily closed. Ferry service suspended to several islands. – Highlight: Sustained winds of 40 mph, and higher gusts, expected Monday afternoon and through the night. Extra utility crews from Canada were on standby to assist in power restoration efforts.The quote of the day comes from lobsterman Pat White of York who said: “We’re in uncharted territory,” noting that an unusual wind direction is anticipated when the hurricane meets with two other storms. “It’s going to be like a washing machine out there.”(The Associated Press Contributed To This Report)