You might be chuckling to yourself as you read that headline, because Maine is about as safe from major hurricanes as you can get. Between the Gulf Stream, and the oceanic conditions necessary to strengthen hurricanes, storms of that magnitude are just not sustainable this far up the coast. But according to the National Weather Service, that does not mean we should be sitting idly by, doing nothing.

Those of us here in the Bangor area have far less to worry about than our friends on the coast, but weather can be affected for hundreds of miles inland. Recently, we had Hurricane Irene blow through, and it did tons of damage, especially in the form of floods. But still, Maine has been hit by a slew of Category 1 strength storms over the years. Even this past fall, we had the bomb cyclone that came through and blew down trees everywhere with winds that often topped hurricane speeds. It caused power outages for days in some areas.

According to the NWS website, here are a few things we should think about, even here in Maine.

  • Storm surge is the abnormal rise of water generated by a storm's winds.  Storm surge and large battering waves can result in large loss of life and cause massive destruction along the coast.
  • Storm surge can travel several miles inland, especially along bays, rivers, and estuaries.
  • Flooding from heavy rains is the second leading cause of fatalities from landfalling tropical cyclones. Widespread torrential rains associated with these storms often cause flooding hundreds of miles inland. This flooding can persist for several days after a storm has dissipated.
  • Winds from a hurricane can destroy buildings and manufactured homes. Signs, roofing material, and other items left outside can become flying missiles during hurricanes.
  • Dangerous waves produced by a tropical cyclone's strong winds can pose a significant hazard to coastal residents and mariners. These waves can cause deadly rip currents, significant beach erosion, and damage to structures along the coastline, even when the storm is more than a 1,000 miles offshore.

And here is a graphic from the National Weather Service in Caribou's Facebook page,  showing the path of all the strong storms that have blown by our coast.

Donald Dumont via National Weather Service Facebook page
Donald Dumont via National Weather Service Facebook page

As you can see, Maine is no stranger to strong, devastating winds, rain, and flooding in the wake of bad weather. So, maybe it's time to start thinking of our state as a place where bad things can happen because of weather. Other than just snow. Keep yourself safe, and watch out for others as well. Maybe that way Maine will always be the way life should be.


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