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After heavy preparation, Hurricane Lee causes minimal damage to campus

September 22, 2023

Before Hurricane Lee swept through Maine with winds reaching up to 50 mph on Saturday, Facilities Management, Safety and Security, and athletic teams prepared heavily for the impending storm. Throughout campus, and Brunswick, Lee’s damage was minimal, and its path far tamer than initial projections suggested.

Facilities Management inspected and fueled all generators on campus, cleared storm drains and catch basins and stored loose furniture throughout campus grounds. They also procured batteries for fire alarm devices and scheduled staff to be available in the event of a power outage.

“These procedures help ensure the department is prepared to address any issues experienced during and after a storm event,” Director of Facilities Operations Emil Cuevas wrote in an email to the Orient.

Athletic teams also prepared for possible damage the hurricane might cause to equipment. Sailing Head Coach Frank Pizzo explained how the sailing team pulled its motor boats and a couple of sailboats off the dock. Team members removed the masts and rudders from the remaining sailboats left on the water, so the team would not lose any equipment if the boat flipped on the dock.

While the team prepared heavily for the hurricane, Pizzo said the winds were not as bad as he anticipated.

“I think at [the Schiller Coastal Studies Center] [the wind] was in the mid-thirties, which is definitely windy, but it wasn’t as bad as some of the forecasts had reported early on,” Pizzo said. “But in many ways, we were able to protect our stuff and keep going this week. It would have been much worse for us if the winds were stronger.”

Facilities Management also reported minimal damage to campus. Cuevas said a tree fell between the Visual Arts Center and the Searles Science Building, and several tree branches around campus fell as well. Another tree was lost at Kent Island, and some additional branches were lost at Schiller.

“From a security perspective there is really nothing storm-related to report,” Director of Safety and Security Randy Nichols wrote in an email to the Orient. “We had no campus power outages associated with the storm. We were fortunate.”


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