Electric utilities, aid organizations and residents with Maine ties are readying for the impact of Hurricane Dorian as it approaches the southeastern U.S.

The powerful Category 5 storm battered the Bahamas on Sunday as it slowly made its way toward Georgia and South Carolina. Current meteorological projections say Dorian may graze the Florida coast instead of making landfall there, and pass by Georgia and South Carolina as late as Wednesday and Thursday.

Still, Nancy Vaughn, a South Portland native who lives in Port Orange, Florida, near Daytona Beach, is taking precautions. She and her husband, Jeff, have bolted their hurricane shutters to the eastern side of their stucco house, just in case the storm meanders their way.

“There’s so many variables,” she said over the phone Sunday. Though the Vaughns have weathered several hurricanes during their 20 years in Florida, for some of their neighbors, “being in limbo as to what’s going to happen is maddening,” she said.

The National Hurricane Center issued a hurricane watch for Florida’s East Coast from Deerfield Beach north to the Volusia and Brevard county line, The Associated Press reported. Port Orange is in Volusia County.

Maine organizations are doing their part, too.

Emera Maine, the electric utility serving northern and eastern Maine, has sent down two repair crews – 12 workers and a supervisor – to help Florida power companies keep electricity flowing, a spokeswoman said Sunday.

Emera Maine and Central Maine Power are part of nationwide networks that coordinate disaster relief. CMP hasn’t yet been called on to help, a spokeswoman said.

At least nine volunteers for the American Red Cross of Maine have already been assigned to different stations in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, according to spokeswoman Ann Kim. They’re expected to fill a variety of roles, including shelter work and psychological “first response.”

They are joining a relief effort of more than 1,600 Red Cross volunteers from around the country, with 110 emergency response vehicles and 99 tractor-trailer loads of supplies.


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