The lights are back for most Mainers and flood waters are receding across the state following last week’s deadly rain and wind storm, but the long recovery process is only just beginning. 

On Tuesday, Gov. Janet Mills launched the Maine Flood Resources and Assistance Hub, an online aggregate of information, resources and assistance for Mainers affected by flooding and damages.

The website provides links to Maine Bureau of Insurance resources on flooding and storm-related insurance claims, directions for reporting storm damage to the state, road closures, and information about how to safely deal with tree debris. It also includes resources to help families stay safe during future storms and prolonged power outages, such as where to find warming and emergency shelters, home heating guides and tips for generator and food safety.

The website will be updated as more information is available.

Also on Tuesday, Mills announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Maine Emergency Management Agency will assess the damage brought on by the storm, the first formal step toward requesting a Major Disaster Declaration from the federal government.

The December storm dumped 6 inches of rain on some parts of the state, knocking out power and heat for hundreds of thousands of Mainers and leaving a path of destruction in its wake. Strong wind gusts tore down power lines, uprooted trees and prevented line crews from quickly restoring power to many parts of the state. The heavy rains, combined with melting snow, sent rivers overflowing their banks, spilling onto roads and flooding homes and businesses with inches or even feet of water. Two men were killed by falling trees and two women died after their truck was swept away by the flood waters. 


A state of civil emergency was declared in all but two of Maine’s 16 counties.

Mills had requested on Friday that the government dispatch FEMA officials to Maine to initiate a Federal Preliminary Damage Assessment. The state is working with local partners to estimate the cost of the damage caused by the storm. 

The Kennebec River floods the parking lot of the Hathaway Creative Center on Water Street in Waterville on Dec. 19, a day after a storm dumped several inches of rain on the region. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

The federal government approved the request Tuesday and the two agencies are working to schedule the assessments, the governor’s office said in a news release. 

If FEMA, as expected, decides the costs are beyond what the state can handle, Mills will formally request a Major Disaster Declaration from the president. 

“We welcome this quick approval from FEMA and look forward to working with them to validate damage from the storm so that we can request a Major Disaster Declaration from the President as soon as possible,” said Mills in a statement. “We continue to encourage anyone who experienced property damage to report it by dialing 2-1-1. Sharing your information will help the State of Maine unlock Federal disaster funds to support Maine people and communities as we recover and rebuild.”

Officials noted that reporting damage is not an application for assistance and people are still encouraged to file claims with their insurance providers. 

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