UMaine Experts Available to Discuss Hurricane Damage, Safety and Advice

Maine isn’t expected to bear the full brunt of Hurricane Sandy, but the state will still get hit hard, according to the Associated Press and others monitoring the storm. Several University of Maine experts are available for interviews about different aspects of the storm, including coastal damage from hurricanes, climate modeling, and consumer advice on storm consequences ranging from food safety in a power outage to protecting livestock in rain and high winds.

Joe Kelley, a marine geologist in UMaine’s School of Earth and Climate Science, is available for interviews about coastal damage due to hurricanes. His research interests include the response of developed and pristine shorelines to sea-level change, and Kelley has monitored and mapped coastal hazards that are a response to rising sea level. He can be reached at (207) 581-2162 or

Sean Birkel, a postdoctoral research associate in UMaine’s Climate Change Institute, is available to discuss climate modeling. He can be reached at

UMaine Extension educator Kate Yerxa and Jason Bolton, UMaine Extension’s statewide food safety specialist, are available to discuss basic emergency preparedness, safety and ways to protect homes from heavy wind and rain, along with safe handling, preparation and storage of food during and after a power outage. Yerxa can be reached in Orono at (207) 299-8336. Bolton can be reached at (207) 581-1366 in Bangor or (207) 233-2569 (cell).

A few suggestions from Yerxa include having a manual can opener on hand; check expiration dates on all canned items and discard any foods that are past their expiration date; for shelf stable foods that need to be heated, be sure alternate heating sources such as a propane grill or camp stove are ready to be used; plan on 1 gallon of water per person, per day for drinking, cooking, and personal hygiene; and households with infants should make sure plenty of diapers, wipes and infant formula are available. Don’t forget the needs of pets, she adds. Bolton suggests that a UMaine Extension online video and a fact sheet discuss some of these precautions.

UMaine Extension veterinarian and professor of animal and veterinary sciences Anne Lichtenwalner is not available for interviews but suggests that livestock owners have backup power and water and feed supplies on hand. Know where the animals are and whether they have windbreaks, she says. Also, inspect roofs and batten down any metal panels susceptible to flapping, she advises. Horse owners should beware of water leakage onto hay storage areas and be certain that the horses can get out of the wind. They can handle the rain better than wind, and while trees can be used by horses for shelter in storms, they also can be treacherous in high winds, Lichtenwalner says

Contact: George Manlove, (207) 581-3756