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January 2, 2018

Get ready for a 'potent' storm brewing off East Coast

Photo / James McCarthy
Photo / James McCarthy
A view of downtown Rangeley at dusk on Dec. 28 from a second-floor window at the Rangeley Inn. Temperatures plummeted to minus-17 degrees that night as Maine continues to experience extreme cold into the new year.

A powerful low-pressure system intensifying off the East Coast has the potential to create severe winter conditions in Maine by early Thursday through Friday, according to the Weather Channel.

The entire Eastern Seaboard is likely to be affected as low pressure in the western Atlantic Ocean intensifies and tracks toward the north-northeast off the Northeast coast, before hitting Atlantic Canada by early Friday, the Weather Channel reported.

The closer the offshore low tracks to the East Coast the greater the odds of "moderate to heavy snow along with strong winds," the Weather Channel reported. "A track farther offshore would bring lighter amounts of snow to the East Coast and gusty winds."

The forecast also reported a high likelihood that the low will undergo a rapid drop in atmospheric pressure of 24 millibars or more in a 24-hour period, a type of "weather bomb" phenomenon known as bombogenesis, the same weather phenomenon experienced in the Oct. 29-30 storm that left 500,000 Mainers without power.

"When a pressure drop like this occurs, it signals the development of a potent storm system," the Weather Channel reported, adding that wind gusts of up to 50 miles per hour are possible.

Emergency proclamation ensures oil deliveries

Gov. Paul R. LePage signed an emergency proclamation on Dec. 29 to ensure Maine residents receive heating oil deliveries without delay and throughout the New Year's holiday weekend. The order is in effect at least until Friday, or until LePage declares the emergency is over.

"The Northeast is experiencing a lengthy cold snap with record low temperatures. Our oil delivery drivers need the flexibility to be on the roads so Mainers can heat their homes over the next several days," LePage said in a news release.

The state-of-emergency proclamation will enable Federal Department of Transportation to grant a waiver to allow heating oil delivery personnel to stay on the road longer to make sure homes and businesses stay warm.

LePage also reminded drivers who are picking up extra hours to remain safe on the roadways. "We want to keep Mainers warm, but drivers and business owners should understand their limitations too," he said.

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