storm system

Parts of Maine Brace for Possible Power Outages as Christmas Storm System Moves In

The storm could bring winds of up to 60 mph to parts of Maine Thursday night into Friday

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A number of people are bracing for possible power outages this Christmas as a storm system with heavy winds makes its way to coastal Maine.

As the storm moves into the area Thursday night into Friday, high wind watches have been issued for parts of the state as the storm could bring winds of up to 60 mph along the coast.

For the past few days, Central Maine Power has been making sure it has enough staff to respond to major outages.

"It's tough being on Christmas, this is our third major storm this month," said Catherine Hartnett, the manager of corporate communications at Central Maine Power. "We have a full contingent of CMP line workers, 80 to 90 tree crews and 75 outside contractors scheduled to come in. We also have hundreds of folks who work behind the scenes through every storm."

The non-field staff working Christmas will include call center employees who would not otherwise work a holiday but will be on hand for customer questions and concerns.

Meanwhile, Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention is prepared to keep new shipments of COVID-19 vaccine cold in case of the facilities that house them lose power.

During a media briefing on Wednesday, Maine CDC director, Dr. Nirav Shah, said ultra-cold vaccine storage sites had already been asked if they had backup generators as part of the state's vaccination plan.

"One of the elements in our planning is always the 'what-if,'" Shah explained.

According to CMP, facilities critical to fighting coronavirus will be given prioritization should they lose power including plants for companies that produce COVID-19 test swabs and tests.

"We have two or three manufacturers in the state with whom we've been doing steady work to upgrade their service to make sure they don't experience any hiccups," Hartnett said.

She also advised all CMP customer to stock up on flashlights and batteries in case of an outage from the storm.

Hartnett also cautioned that any outages that do occur on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day could be prolonged if winds persist for extended periods of time creating unsafe conditions for line workers to operate bucket trucks.

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