In advance of Hurricane Lee’s projected landfall Friday evening, Maine Gov. Janet Mills declared a State of Emergency Thursday and requested that President Joe Biden issue a preemptive Presidential Emergency Disaster Declaration for the state.
The governor’s proclamation states that Hurricane Lee will likely cause “sustained high winds, pounding surf, and heavy rains” that could pose “an imminent threat to public safety as well as damage to public and private property.”
The proclamation also authorizes the Maine Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) to activate and deploy all resources necessary to respond to the hurricane.
“The preemptive actions I took today position Maine to seize Federal resources to respond to the impacts of Hurricane Lee,” Gov. 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,” she said.
Mills met with Deanne Criswell, Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), earlier on Friday, who offered the governor the federal support in responding to the impending storm.
Central Maine Power (CMP) and Versant have warned of the potential of the hurricane to cause widespread power outages because of high winds and trees already weakened by this summer’s heavy rains.
Within the last two years, Maine has received a total of five Presidential Disaster Declarations for severe storms and floods — most recently on Sept. 5 and 6, when disasters were declared in Franklin and Oxford Counties.
“With the increased frequency and intensity of storm events in Maine over the last 24 months, emergency management officials across all levels of government have been stretched in their fiscal and programmatic capacity to respond to and recover from disasters,” Mills wrote in a letter to President Biden Friday.
“An Emergency Declaration will help safeguard Maine’s citizens and infrastructure by expediting critical federal assistance. I humbly request your consideration of this request as Maine braces for the impacts of Hurricane Lee,” she wrote.