GRAY (AP) – It appears that Maine will escape the wrath of Hurricane Isabel, which is expected to hit the East Coast later this week.

The hurricane was projected to hit landfall somewhere in the Middle Atlantic States and then track northward into upstate New York, said John Cannon, meteorologist from the National Weather Service in Gray.

The projection could change. But as of Monday, it appeared that Maine would see only some rain and wind on Friday, he said.

Nonetheless, the city of Portland asked transportation providers and facility operators to take reasonable precautions.

And the York County Emergency Management Agency told residents it was time to check off items on the disaster list: batteries, flashights, water, pet food, and a mechanical can opener.

At 11 a.m. EDT, Isabel’s fastest sustained wind had slowed to about 140 mph, down from 150 mph earlier in the day and 160 mph early Sunday, but still powerful enough to rate it as a Category 4 storm.

Forecast models showed the storm hitting the East Coast anywhere from North Carolina to New Jersey with wind up to 130 mph late Thursday or early Friday.

The last time a hurricane came close to Maine was in 1991, when “Bob” scored a direct hit in Massachusetts. The hurricane lost steam in Maine but still knocked out power for days to some residents.

AP-ES-09-15-03 1521EDT

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