Many of us were looking forward to Christmas and the new year. But 2023 wasn’t done with Maine.

Less than two months after the mass murder in Lewiston ripped apart a community and destroyed our collective sense of safety, many of us are now struggling to recover from an unprecedented storm and devastating flooding.

Monday’s storm was expected; its intensity was not. We know climate change has brought more precipitation and a warmer ocean and atmosphere, providing all the ingredients for a destructive weather event. Still, it remains a surprise when it all comes together so ferociously and destructively. As the waters start to recede, it ranks as the worst flood in Maine since 1987.

In just a few days, so many have lost so much. It is an incalculable tragedy.

Our thoughts remain with the people who have lost loved ones. Thousands of residents are still without power, at the time of writing, and many suffered for days, struggling to stay warm and fed, and worrying about just how bad things could get. For many of our neighbors, the storm and its aftermath could not have come at a worse time – with the holidays upon us and temperatures falling.

One quote, from Jennifer Hayes of Lewiston, sums up well where many of our neighbors find themselves this late December.


“Still no power, on the 54th hour, no heat, no hot water and lost all my groceries,” she said. “Candles are almost gone and batteries are almost dead, and CMP says still assessing. We have a very small generator our neighbor let us borrow, it only runs for an hour before we have to fill it with gas again – don’t know when that’s going to run out and I’m broke till Tuesday.”

The people whose lives have been devastated this week will need help and understanding – from their friends and family, their neighbors, their bosses and co-workers, as well as from the elected officials and government workers who are working on what to do next to support all the people and businesses affected by this week’s storm.

The response will have to be substantial, considering all the families and businesses that have been hurt and all the property that’s been damaged.

While we wait for that, we are encouraged to see that those kind of accommodations are already happening, at least in some cases. As always, when Maine is faced with hard times and unexpected challenges, we are inspired to see how people throughout the state are stepping up to help.

As should happen after such an emergency, the immediate response will have to be reviewed to see if the government and our institutions responded as they should. But as the rain came and water levels rose, emergency personnel were there to perform rescues and coordinate evacuations. Police departments with power opened to provide shelter, food and charging stations. Many schools did the same.

We are grateful for the line workers, who appear to be restoring power as fast as resources and conditions allow, and for the municipal workers who are busy now cleaning up our towns and cities and putting them back together.


On days like these, too, we look to everyday Mainers for hope that we are going to get through this. We’ve heard about people with power opening their homes for those without, or making large meals and offering them up to all comers. We’ve heard about people who helped businesses move inventory to safety as the waters rose and about businesses giving away food and other items to those who need it.

We can’t keep bad things from happening, but we can control how we respond to them.

When there’s a tragedy in Maine, we should all do our best to respond with kindness and generosity.

If you want to know how, look to some of your neighbors.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.