Maine lessons from Sandy's destructive path

5:56 PM, Jul 12, 2013   |    comments
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SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- It was standing room only during a panel discussion on lessons learned from Superstorm Sandy at the 13th annual Maine Beaches Conference at Southern Maine Community College.

"It might not happen in our lifetimes, I don't know that that is the new normal, but what I think is very important is to take a look at what worked, and what didn't work," stated Jay Tanski, a coastal geologist with the New York Sea Grant Program.

Tanski says Maine is ahead of other states because it already has a monitoring program to help develop understanding of what changes are occurring along our coastline.

He says officials at all levels of government need to be gathering information and making informed decisions with the data they are gathering.

"You have to be willing to change on the fly as you get more information," he said.  

"You really have to look at the specific area and you really have to look ok, what do we want to do here, what are the objectives here, what are the forces that are acting on it, the flooding forces, the erosion, the wave forces and how is that shoreline responding?" he added.

Peter Slovinsky, a marine geologist with the Maine Geological Survey, says the areas impacted most by the storm share similar characteristics with the Pine Tree State.

"In New Jersey, just like in Maine, we have a lot of low lying areas," he explained.  "We know some of these areas flood due to minimum events, so if you have a large event, they are going to flood just that much more." 

He says more information is needed to develop more detailed planning documents and to improve our emergency response in the event of catastrophic storm.

"I think a lot of the lessons learned from what happened with Sandy are transferable to Maine," said Slovinsky.  "Luckily, we have not had something like that happen here."









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