With a storm brewing that has the potential to cause flooding and knock out power in some parts of the D.C. area, Dominion Energy is reminding residents to do their best to prepare, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.
In addition to preparing an emergency kit that includes essential medicines, fresh water, batteries, flashlights and more, the energy provider reminds those in the region to add face masks, sanitizing wipes and other cleaning supplies to the checklist.
Storm Team4 meteorologist Somara Theodore said she expects the significant effect of Tropical Storm Isaias to be felt west of Interstate 81 all the way to the coastal areas east of Interstate 95, with the greatest amount of rainfall coming to the east. Up to 6 inches of rain could fall during the storm in communities east of D.C., but most of the rain should move out by Wednesday, leaving behind a mostly sunny stretch in the middle of the week.
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The storm — pronounced ees-ah-EE-ahs — prompted Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam to declare a state of emergency for the potential of heavy rain and gusty winds from coastal Virginia through Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
The power company lists the following items as important to have on hand during any large storm, and reminds readers to report, but avoid, downed power lines and double check that generators are properly connected.
- Create an emergency kit with flashlights, batteries, cleaning supplies and face coverings
- Prepare a first-aid kit with bandages, anti-bacterial wipes, over-the-counter medications and prescription medications
- Remember to carry your healthcare information with you and to prepare your medical devices, especially if you are disabled or elderly
- Download the your power company’s mobile app to track restoration efforts and report outages quickly and safely
- Prepare a supply of water and non-perishable food
- Charge your phone and other electronic devices fully before the storm arrives
- Make sure your contact information is updated in your power company’s customer database
Power companies preparing for Isaias’ impact in DC area
Dominion Energy said it has crews and equipment already staged across its Virginia and North and South Carolina service areas, and it is preparing for power outages that could take days to restore.
“Even if winds are in the 50 mph range and then we get a lot of rain, that will lead to saturated ground and then you can have trees coming down,” Dominion Energy spokeswoman Peggy Fox said. “You can have branches coming down onto power lines, and so we are expecting outages.”
Pepco has been preparing for the storm since last week and has brought in more repair crews and extra customer service representatives to answer calls about emergencies and outages.
Because the storm could have widespread effects along much of the East Coast, Pepco has also called in extra repair crews from areas outside the expected impact zone including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee and Canada.
“It’s not usual for smaller storms to bring in that many resources,” said Pepco’s Jamie Caswell.
SMECO is also bringing in contractors from other states – including Pennsylvania and North Carolina – to help get the power back on if it goes out.
“It’s a definite concern for us in Southern Maryland because of the amount of rainfall that is projected to occur over the next 24 to 48 hours,” said spokesman Tom Dennison, who notes that their service area has already seen a lot of rain in the last two weeks.
Monday: Increasing clouds and muggy, with heavy rain likely into the evening. Highs in the mid to upper 80s.
Tuesday: Heavy rain, steady at times. Tropical storm conditions possible, especially in coastal areas. Highs in the upper 70s.
Wednesday: Mostly sunny and less humid. Isolated thunderstorms possible. Highs in the mid 80s.
Thursday: Mostly sunny. Highs in the mid 80s.