AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — There is light at the end of the tunnel, but we're not out of the woods yet. That's the message from officials at the Maine Emergency Management Agency, who say the state should be back to some sense of normalcy within a few days.
Central Maine Power says it has cut its total number of customers without power in half. As of Wednesday, there were just under 190,000 of them who are still in the dark. Emera Maine's making headway as well. About 36,000 of its customers are without power.
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"We've been fortunate and if we do get through this without a death, we'll be extremely fortunate," said Maine State Police Colonel Robert Williams.
Public safety officials are urging people not to become complacent when it comes to safety, knowing that a lot of folks are getting tried. They're warning motorists there are still traffic lights and railroad warnings not working. Even though many roads have reopened, some still have debris and significant amounts of water on them.
While utility crews deal with the power outage MEMA is working on a cleanup plan for the massive amount of trees, limbs, and branches now littering the state.
"How are we going to deal with all of this debris on the side of the roads. And how are we going to get this disposed of in a proper, responsible, environmentally sound manner," said Kevin Rousseau with Maine Emergency Management Agency?
There is no one particular area that was hit hardest. That's what made this storm so tough to deal with.
Rousseau said, "It is everywhere. So that has been a real challenger from the response, it's just not isolated to a couple of towns."
Only two counties, Aroostook and Washington, were spared widespread damage and outages. Through it all MEMA officials are pleased with the response, praising first responders and utility crews, while not forgetting all the volunteers and neighbors who've been checking on each other.
"When tough times like this hit, this is what makes Maine a pretty special place to live in and we're seeing that this week,” said Rousseau.
The Centers for Disease Control also weighing sending a message urging people to use generators properly to avoid Carbon Monoxide poisoning. They also are warning people about food safety. Do not eat items that have gone without proper refrigeration for several hours. MEMA plans another news update tomorrow afternoon.