CALAIS — Weather reports predicting a nor’easter early today had weary emergency personnel preparing for the worst and hoping for the best Thursday.
The storm was expected to dump 6 to 12 inches of rain, sleet and snow on Washington County early Friday morning.
Washington County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Joseph Tibbetts said he had 15 full- and part-time officers canvassing Washington County Thursday. “We are coordinating with fire departments, the Department of and Wildlife and Marine Patrol to try and physically check every residence in Washington County in those communities that do not have an organized police department to make certain people have plenty of food, water and heat,” he said.
The chief deputy said although some shelters planned to close Thursday night, they would reopen Friday if needed. Anyone in need of help should call the sheriff’s department at 1-800-432-7303 or 255-4422.
“We are greatly concerned,” said Eastport City Manager George “Bud” Finch Thursday. “The past storm made us realize how weak the power-grid system is. It would be negligent of us not to expect the worst.”
Although Eastport, through a combination of generators and direct feed from Bangor Hydro-Electric Co., has power, Finch said Thursday the city would keep its shelter at the youth center open.
Lubec officials plan to keep their four shelters open. Town Administrator Victoria Dyer said anyone who might need shelter assistance should call the town office, which will be open throughout the weekend. “We are going to maintain the shelters until we get through this,” she said.
Milbridge officials said the Milbridge Fire Department will continue to serve as a shelter. Town Manager Peter Jankowski said food will be available. “We have had hot food down there, hot dogs and hamburgers, stews and soups,” he said.
Princeton officials said the shelter at the community center would reopen if the storm hit. Town Treasurer Jackie O’Neill said the volunteer fire department has done an outstanding job of running the shelter. She said Fire Chief Donald Bailey even cooked moose-meat stew.
Baileyville Town Council Chairman Doug Jones said he hoped the storm would go out to sea, and that if it hit Washington County it would represent a setback. Town Manager Jack Clukey said the town office would serve as a shelter if needed.
Calais Fire Chief Danny Carlow said anyone in need of a shelter should call the fire department’s nonemergency number. During the last storm, Calais lost power only for a short time. “In this area we have been very fortunate to have the power on in almost every location in town. We just put out the word if anybody needed assistance to call in and we had very few calls,” Carlow said.
Calais Police Chief Michael Milburn said his officers would be available to assist anyone who might need to go to a shelter. He said they should call the department’s nonemergency numbers.
The Washington-Hancock Community Agency has set up a contingency plan to assist its clients. People in need of fuel or furnace start-up assistance should call 1-800-828-7544. Funds are limited and service is provided on a first-come, first-serve basis. A list of food pantries and shelters may be obtained by calling 546-7544.