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Schools Close, Arlington Declares State of Emergency

Winds are picking up and rain is starting to fall, and Arlington County is taking steps to brace for the impacts of Hurricane Sandy.

All classes and activities have been canceled Monday at Arlington Public Schools in advance of the storm, which is expected to drop 4 to 7 inches of rain and pack wind gusts up to 70 miles per hour between tonight and Tuesday.

Trash and recycling collection in Arlington has been suspected on Monday and Tuesday. Arlington County Manager Barbara Donnellan, meanwhile, has declared a state of emergency.

From a county press release:

County Manager Barbara Donnellan today signed a Declaration of Local Emergency for Arlington County in response to Hurricane Sandy. The County is activating its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to manage storm response. The hurricane is projected to impact the Arlington area with heavy rain and damaging winds from late Sunday night through Tuesday night.

This storm is expected to produce rainfall of between 5 and 10 inches in our area, which could cause localized flooding on area streets, low-lying areas, creeks and streams. The County expects significant tree damage, and residents, businesses and visitors should plan for widespread power outages as a result.

To stay informed, continue to monitor Arlington Alert , the County website (www.arlingtonva.us ), local news and weather stations, and all other news channels.

What Residents Can Do to Prepare

  • Have flashlights and extra batteries, a battery-powered and/or hand-crank radio in case power goes out. Ensure mobile phones are fully charged. (And consider plugging in your old-fashioned land-line phone.)
  • Have food that does not need refrigeration and one gallon of water per person per day. Other important items are a first aid kit, medication, and other supplies.
  • Don’t forget your pets and others who may need special assistance, including elderly neighbors.
  • With heavy winds expected, ensure outside items in yards and on decks and patios are secure.
  • Clean out gutters, storm drains, etc. (keeping drains clear of trash, leaves and branches) so rainwaters can easily flow, reducing possible flooding and ponding. Also rake leaves to cut down on flying debris and prevent clogged storm drains.
  • Have a communications plan. Make sure all family members understand who to call if you get separated.
  • If you live in an area prone to flooding, be prepared to relocate your family and vehicle before flood waters have an impact. If you are driving and see a street that is flooded, turn around.

More details on the County website  , including who to call after the storm, clean-up tips, handling home damage, and more. We will continue to update this page throughout the storm response; check back for updates or sign up for an RSS feed.

Emergency Winter Shelter Opening

The Emergency Winter Shelter  (EWS) at Courthouse will open today, Sunday, Oct. 28, at 3pm and will stay open as long as needed (it normally opens Nov. 1). A-SPAN is conducting outreach to let the homeless population know this resource is available.

Key Phone Numbers

Write these down or print them out so you have then handy in case you lose power.

  • Power Outages: Dominion Virginia Power, 1-866-DOM-HELP (1-866-366-4357)
  • Natural Gas Emergencies: Washington Gas 703-750-1400 or 800-752-7520. If you smell gas, leave and call 9-1-1. Washington Gas Safety Page 
  • Trees Down : 703-228-6525
  • Street Flooding, Water, Sewer and Storm-sewer: 703-228-6555 (emergency hotline)
    (Note: During high rains, call volume is often greater than normal. Operators will respond to your call as soon as they can.)
  • Traffic Signal Outages: 703-228-6511

Dominion Power Update

Dominion is currently expecting significant impact from the effects of Hurricane Sandy for much of their service territory. Their Northwest Regional Storm Center is regularly providing updates to government Emergency Operation Center (EOCs) in the region. Other news from Dominion:

  • Dominion will open its Northwest Regional Storm Center at 6AM Monday October 29.
  • 8,800 medical condition customers have been contacted via automated calling feature, in preparation of Hurricane Sandy, with the following message: This is an important message from Dominion. In advance of Hurricane Sandy, customers with medical needs should make preparations for extended outages. Participation in the medical needs program does not mean that you will be the first to have power restored. Please make an emergency plan for backup power or arrangements to relocate until power can be restored to your home. Thank you.
  • They are working to secure additional resources to complement line, patrol and support teams.
  • Additional tree crews are on hand to assist with restoration efforts.

Gov. Bob McDonnell declared a state of emergency in Virginia on Friday.

Utilities and transit agencies are also preparing for the storm. Dominion says its crews, and mutual aid crews called in from out of state, are standing by to restore power following the storm. The company is warning of the potential for “prolonged power outages,” however.

“When customers lose their electric service during a major storm, their primary question is when their electricity will be restored,” said Dominion rep Rodney Blevins. “They expect our bucket trucks and line crews to be in the field as soon as the storm ends, or sooner, but strong winds may make working conditions too risky to proceed while the storm lingers.”

WMATA says it has been testing drainage pumping stations and has been placing sandbags at Metro entrances in preparation for heavy rains.

“Customers are strongly encouraged to check wmata.com before traveling and to sign up for MetroAlerts to receive service information via email or text message,” the agency said via its web site. “During severe weather, customers are advised to travel only if absolutely necessary.”

Arlington County has compiled a list of phone numbers and storm clean-up tips residents can use to check on power outages, to report downed trees and wires, and to deal with water damage. Those seeking critical assistance — like food, shelter or other aid — can also call 2-1-1, a central hotline for human service agencies in the D.C. area. Tips for keeping pets safe in a storm are available online from FEMA.



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