Message to homeowners: batten down the hatches

WASHINGTON — The East Coast is watching the path of Hurricane Joaquin, but even if the storm doesn’t hit the United States directly, the D.C. area will get pounded with heavy rain in the coming days.

“We could have a really serious situation here,” says Dawn Eischen, spokeswoman for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management.

“There is the potential for massive power outages, possibly for an extended period of time.”

Homeowners are urged to prepare for flooding, stock up on batteries and flashlights and have nonperishable food on hand. Also, outdoor items such as lawn chairs and tables should be taken inside to prevent them from blowing away in strong winds.

“You really need to think about your structure and whether or not it could withstand the brunt of a storm,” Eischen says.

“Whether you are coastal or inland, you need to take this storm seriously.”

The department offers advice for homeowners:

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