Public Information Statement
Issued by NWS Portland, ME

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NOUS41 KGYX 031511

Public Information Statement
National Weather Service Gray ME
1115 AM EST Fri Nov 3 2017

The National Weather Service offices that serve New England have
declared the week of October 30th through November 3rd, WINTER
AWARENESS WEEK, the National Weather Service Office in Gray will be
issuing Public Information Statements concerning many aspects of
winter weather and winter weather preparedness.  This is the fourth
in a series of five Public Information Statements to be issued this


In addition to snow, sleet, freezing rain and rain, winter storms
bring the threat of high winds and coastal flooding to northern New
England.  Dense fog, caused by warm air moving over cold snow-covered
ground, is also a frequent hazard in northern New England during the
winter and early spring.

...High winds...

High winds can occur before, during, and after major winter storms
and can make driving difficult and dangerous, especially if you drive
a high-profile vehicle.  If your vehicle starts to swerve due to the
wind, slow down.  High winds can cause snow to blow and drift,
reducing visibilities and causing slippery conditions on the
roadways.  Also, high winds bring increased danger from falling
trees, which can lead to power outages.

To alert the public to potentially dangerous wind events, the
National Weather Service issues HIGH WIND WATCHES, HIGH WIND
WARNINGS, and WIND ADVISORIES.  These alerts are based on the
following criteria.

     HIGH WIND WATCH -   Sustained winds of 40 mph or greater or
                         frequent gusts to 58 mph or greater are
                         possible within the next 24 to 48 hours.

     HIGH WIND WARNING - Sustained winds of 40 mph or greater or
                         frequent gusts to 58 mph or greater are
                         likely within the next 24.

     WIND ADVISORY -     Sustained winds of 31 to 39 mph or frequent
                         gusts to between 46 and 57 mph are likely
                         within the next 24 hours.

In addition, WINTER WEATHER ADVISORIES are issued when blowing and
drifting snow reduces visibilities to 1/4 mile or less creating a
significant hazard on the roadways.

...Coastal flooding and beach erosion...

Coastal flooding can precede or accompany major winter storms.
Strong south, southeast, east, and northeast winds can cause water
to pile up along the Maine and New Hampshire coastlines causing tide
levels to rise above normal.  In addition to abnormally high tides,
large waves associated with a storm can cause substantial beach
erosion along the coastline.

To alert the public to the potential for coastal flooding, the
National Weather Service issues COASTAL FLOOD WATCHES and COASTAL
FLOOD WARNINGS.  In determining the potential threat from a
particular storm, the National Weather Service considers the timing
and height of the normal tides, the timing of the storm, and the
expected storm surge that will accompany the storm.

     COASTAL FLOOD WATCH -   Coastal flooding possible within the
                             next 24 to 48 hours.

     COASTAL FLOOD WARNING - Coastal flooding likely within the
                             next 24 hours.

Note that beach erosion can occur from large storm-generated waves
even though the tide levels may not be above flood levels.  In these
cases, the likelihood and severity of any beach erosion is addressed
in the public forecast product.

...Dense fog...

During late winter and early spring, warm air moving northward from
areas to our south, often encounters the cold snow-covered ground
in northern New England.  This combination of warm air moving over
a cold surface often results in the formation of dense fog.
Precipitation will also enhance the likelihood of dense fog
formation.  Motorists should be extremely careful when driving in
these conditions.  Visibilities may change from good to near-zero
visibility in a matter of feet.  In some cases, the fog may be so
dense that it may be difficult to even see the edge of the road.  In
addition, dense fog may hide other hazards such as deer or moose in
the roadway, stopped motorists, or flooding.  Be especially careful
at night.

To alert the public to these dangerous conditions, the National
are issued for cases when widespread dense fog creates near-zero
visibility over a large area.


One of the greatest dangers during high wind events is from falling
trees and/or tree limbs.  To reduce the danger from high winds, cut
down any dead or diseased trees and prune any tree limbs that could
potentially fall on someone or something before they fall.


Do hurricanes or winter storms cause the highest storm surges along
the Maine and New Hampshire coastlines?

ANSWER:Both hurricanes and winter/spring storms can cause
significant storm surges along the Maine and New Hampshire
coastlines.  However, because the coast gets hit by many
more winter storms than hurricanes, the greatest surges
in the past have come from winter or spring storms.  In
fact, of the top ten surges recorded in Portland, nine were
from winter/spring storms while only one was from a
hurricane (Hurricane Carol, 1954, tie for 8th highest
surge).  The greatest surge reported in Portland was 4.3
feet on March 3, 1947.  This compares with the 3.3 ft surge
observed with Hurricane Carol.

On February 2, 1976, an intense winter storm caused a storm
surge along the mid and Downeast coast of Maine from
Brunswick to Eastport.  After reaching the coast, the
surge of water funneled up the Penobscot River causing a
surge of over 10 ft in the city of Bangor.  Reportedly,
at around 11 am, the water level in the city rose more than
12 ft in just 15 minutes, submerging approximately 200
vehicles.  Many people were trapped in buildings by the
frigid water, and some had to be rescued quickly from the
tops of their cars.

Here`s a listing of the topics that have been or will be covered in
Public Information Statements during WINTER WEATHER AWARENESS WEEK.

Monday...October 30     - Winter Weather Basics.
Tuesday...October 31    - WATCH...WARNING...and ADVISORY criteria
                          for winter storms.
Wednesday...November 1  - Wind Chill...Extreme Cold... Frostbite
                          and Hypothermia.
Thursday...November 2   - High Wind...Coastal Flood...and Dense
                          Fog threats.
Friday...November 3     - Winter Weather Preparedness



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