City officials urge residents to be prepared

PORTLAND — Portland officials today urged residents to prepare for the hurricane by collecting emergency supplies, such as a radio, a flashlight and nonperishable food. Officials also urged residents to bring any outdoor furniture inside their house to prevent it from becoming a projectile.

Mayor Nicholas Mavodones said residents should offer assistance to their elderly neighbors.

“This is a time to reach out and offer a helping hand,” Mavodones said at a press conference at City Hall.

Portland Fire Chief Fred LaMontagne said the highest danger for the harbor and islands will occur on Sunday at high tide at 11 p.m.

City officials said they have yet to determine whether they plan to open any shelters. Officials will hold a press conference at 10 a.m. on Saturday.

For non-emergency needs, people should call public services dispatch at 874-8493. People should call 911 for any emergencies, Mavodones said.

Casco Bay Lines will suspend vehicle service to Peaks Island at some point on Sunday. The Bailey Island Cruise and Bailey Island Noontime Cruise have been canceled for Sunday.

Also, commercial freight shipments delivered Saturday and Sunday will most likely be held for shipment on Monday or Tuesday.

Westbrook, Scarborough offer high schools as shelter

The city of Westbrook will be opening Westbrook High School as an emergency shelter on Saturday at 7 p.m.

The town of Scarborough will be opening Scarborough High School as an emergency shelter at 3 p.m. on Saturday.

Those choosing to use the shelter are reminded to bring essential items, such as a towel, soap, toothpaste, medications and insurance documents. People are also encouraged to eat and shower before they leave their homes.

Surfers can expect waves to get ‘hairy and scary’

While many are out at the grocery and hardware stores stocking before Hurricane Irene hits, surfers are watching the wave forecast.

Nanci Boutet, owner of Aquaholics in Kennebunk, said she’s not getting too excited just yet. She’s been monitoring the Gulf of Maine Ocean Observing System for the latest on how the hurricane will affect the seas.

The forecast calls for building surf throughout the weekend. Seas around 2 feet today will build to 5 feet by Saturday night and up to 15 feet Sunday afternoon. As the storm leaves Maine, the waves will subside Monday to about 6 to 8 feet by the afternoon and that’s what Boutet is looking forward to.

“Monday afternoon is probably going to be beautiful and the lifeguards are not going to be impressed,” with all the surfers enjoying the waves, she said.

Hurricane season does limit her shop’s rental business however. She said they likely won’t rent surfboards to beginner or even moderately experienced surfers.

“If they’re not a seasoned veteran surfer and there is any question in their mind whether they can handle it they should just watch,” Boutet said. “Because not only are they a danger to themselves, but to anybody out there too.”

Boutet also warns people against going swimming.

“Be prepared for it to get hairy and scary out there,” she said. “People should be cautious.”

Acadia to close campgrounds Sunday morning

MOUNT DESERT ISLAND — The National Park Service announced today that it will close the Blackwoods and Seawall Campgrounds at Acadia National Park at 10 a.m. on Sunday because of the predicted path of Hurricane Irene.

The campgrounds will reopen when the storm has passed.

In addition, the Duck Harbor Campground on Isle au Haut will close on Saturday at 11 a.m. and will reopen when conditions are safe.

Officials also canceled the Frenchman Bay Cruise and Islesford Scenic and Historic Cruise scheduled for Sunday.

UMaine women’s soccer game canceled

The University of Maine women’s soccer team’s game Saturday against Fairleigh Dickinson University at Falmouth has been canceled because of the threat of Hurricane Irene.

Maine opened its season today against Charleston Southern in Orono, and Saturday’s game has not been rescheduled.

Fairleigh Dickinson’s campus in Teaneck, N.J., has been shut down in advance of Hurricane Irene. Classes were to begin Monday, but now will start on Wednesday.

Irene postpones Windsor Fair

WINDSOR — Opening of the Windsor Fair will not occur Sunday, prompted by safety concerns from a strengthening Hurricane Irene.

The fair’s board decided this morning to postpone the opening of the fair to 1 p.m. Monday to allow the wind and rain to pass and give exhibitors time to set up on Monday morning.

Some events, such as the draft horse show and Woodsman’s Day competitions, have been canceled. Others will be rescheduled for later in the week, Fair President Tom Foster said. A new schedule may be available later today.

The Windsor Fair is Maine’s second-largest agricultural fair and runs through Labor Day.

Clamflats will close at noon Sunday

The shellfish industry will also be impacted by the effects of Hurricane Irene.

The Department of Marine Resources has announced that as of noon Sunday no one is allowed to harvest clams, quahogs, oysters or mussels from shores, flats and territorial waters along the coast.

The closure is due to pollution anticipated from heavy rainfall and coastal flooding caused by the hurricane.