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COA prepares for Hurricane Lee

Credit: noaa.gov

Please check this space for Hurricane Lee updates throughout the storm.

Sunday, September 17, 2023

Tropical Storm Lee has finally passed us by. It delivered significant rain and wind. Damage to campus has been minor so far but we are still assessing. There are some basements with minor flooding. A few off campus residences are still experiencing an internet outage.

On the waterfront, the boat that ran aground still poses a significant hazard. A brief meeting with Department of Environmental Protection representatives this morning was very encouraging. At the moment, the beach remains closed. Please do not approach the boat or any rocks near it. This is still a very dangerous area. I will be meeting with waterfront director Toby Stephenson later this morning to discuss the situation. Further updates regarding the waterfront will come from him unless there is any change to the safety of the area.

This will be our last regular update. Thank you.

Dan Daigle

Director of Buildings, Grounds, and Campus Safety


Saturday, September 16, 2023, afternoon update

There are some issues with the tour boat that broke free of its mooring and ran aground on the COA beach earlier today that I want to inform you about.

Due to damage from the accident, the boat is leaking diesel fuel. A crew from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is onsite and working to remediate the leak and capture all of the remaining fuel in the tank. The boat owner notified them immediately upon discovering the fuel leak, allowing them to keep damage to a minimum.

Earlier today, I joined a meeting on campus with DEP, the Bar Harbor Fire Department, and the Maine Marine Patrol to review the situation. The cleanup operations are likely to last into the night and possible tomorrow.

Please continue to avoid the waterfront. With the high surf this is still a dangerous area.


Dan Daigle
Director of buildings, grounds, and campus safety

Saturday, September 16, 2023

According to the National Weather Service, Lee is no longer a tropical storm but instead a post-tropical cyclone. Please do not let this change alter your plans, as this weather continues to create dangerous conditions. Please do not go outside. Falling trees, downed power lines, and flooded roadways are some of the hazards in the area. Please stay away from the shoreline on campus and off.

Across Mount Desert Island and throughout Hancock County trees are down involving wires and blocking roadways. Travel is not recommended at this time and I urge you to stay off the road unless it’s absolutely necessary.

On campus, there appear to be no power outages. There is one reported outage at an off-campus housing facility.

On the waterfront, a local tour boat has run ashore. No one was aboard and there were no injuries. Please DO NOT go to the waterfront. With the high surf and rising tide this is still a dangerous area. We’ve notified Toby, our director of waterfront operations, as well as the appropriate authorities, and trust that they will handle the situation appropriately.

Members of the campus safety department will be on campus and visiting residences to see if there are any immediate needs today. Please call us at our emergency number, 207-288-9001 if you need assistance.

Thanks for your cooperation,


Dan Daigle
Director of buildings, grounds, and campus safety

Friday, September 15, 2023

The National Weather Service has shifted the forecasted path of Hurricane Lee further east and canceled the hurricane watch for our area. We are still under a tropical storm warning, high surf advisory, and coastal flood warning. The effects of this storm will still be noticeable. Please do not let the change in the forecast alter your storm preparation plans.

Coastal Washington County, just to our east, is still under a hurricane watch.

There are no changes to our original planned response. We will continue to monitor the storm and make preparations.

Remember, please stay away from the shoreline, do not approach any downed power lines, do not drive through any flooded roadways, and do not use candles in the event of a power outage.

We will be testing our campus emergency alert system today. It will be preceded by an email notice.

The COA night bus will not be in service Saturday night. Weather permitting, service will resume Sunday evening.

Our next scheduled update will be tomorrow morning unless conditions change.

Remember to check our preparedeness suggestions below!

Thank you,

Dan Daigle
Director of buildings, grounds, and campus safety

Thursday, September 14, 2023

As of 8 a.m. this morning, the weather forecasts are calling for Hurricane Lee to impact our area with high winds, heavy rain, and dangerous surf this weekend. We’ve been watching the weather very carefully, coordinating with regional emergency response management, and shoring up campus and our waterfront in preparation for the storm. Please read through to see how you can be best prepared.

The effects of the storm will be felt from late Friday evening through Sunday morning. Some forecasts are calling for more than four inches of rain. A storm of this magnitude is likely to cause downed trees, power outages, flooded roads, pathway washouts, and other complications. It is our goal that our campus-at-large and our community are prepared as best as possible for a storm like this.

How we are preparing
Our senior safety staff have been busy reviewing emergency procedures, speaking with local officials, and planning an appropriate response. We are also monitoring updates from the Maine Emergency Management Agency, the National Hurricane Center, and the Hancock County Emergency Management Agency.

Our buildings and grounds crew are securing loose objects, clearing storm drains, checking sump pumps, testing generators, and positioning other assets that may be needed to deal with the storm. The waterfront has been secured, with ramps removed and vessels removed or moved to safe harbors. We are also reviewing appropriate measures to be taken at our off-campus facilities, including housing and farms.

Our Office of Campus Safety is testing our emergency alert system and planning for 24-hour staffing through the storm.

*Unfortunately, we feel the need to cancel any major events and academic field trips this weekend.*

What you can do to be prepared

  • Stock up on groceries for the weekend. Plan ahead for not being able to get to the store.
  • Keep your devices and cell phones charged and flashlights available.
  • DO NOT use candles as a light source.
  • Make certain you have enough of any important medication.
  • Make sure you have signed up for our emergency alert system, E2Campus.
  • Save the campus emergency number in your phone: 207-288-9001.
  • Stay off the roads from Saturday afternoon through Sunday afternoon. If you absolutely must go out, do not drive through flooded roadways or near any downed powerlines. The same applies if you encounter any downed lines on campus.
  • Stay AWAY from the shoreline. We understand the temptation but have also seen the consequences. It can be very slippery and unpredictable by the water during a storm of this size.

What local agencies are doing
College of the Atlantic has an open channel of communications with Bar Harbor and Mount Desert Island emergency response, and, along with our island agencies, a robust relationship with state and regional emergency management officials. These agencies cooperate well and share up-to-date information with each other. As of Thursday morning, the Town of Bar Harbor is not planning for shelters or evacuations. The Police and Fire departments are adequately staffed and they are ready to respond as the situation dictates. Their recommendations are similar to ours and they are monitoring for updates from the same sources.

Acadia National Park has issued road and campground closures from Friday afternoon until further notice. The Park Loop Road, including Ocean Drive will be closed as of 5 p.m. Friday.

Our campus safety department plans to issue updates on Friday morning, Saturday morning and evening, and Sunday morning, or as needed. Updates will happen sooner if required.

Thank you,

Dan Daigle
Director of buildings, grounds, and campus safety