McAuliffe declared the state of emergency to allow Virginia businesses, residents and officials to prepare for the impending storms.
“I cannot stress enough the imperative for Virginians to focus on the rainstorms that are headed our way tomorrow and Friday, well before Hurricane Joaquin could potentially impact Virginia,” McAuliffe said in a statement. “The forecast of up to 10 inches of rain in areas across Virginia could result in floods, power outages and a serious threat to life and property. As we continue to track the path of Hurricane Joaquin, I have instructed the Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security to make every preparation for a major event Thursday and Friday.”
The nor’easter is expect to hit the area Thursday and Friday bringing a prolonged period of torrential rain and the potential for dangerous flooding, McAuliffe said in a statement. The rain may continue as Hurricane Joaquin approaches.
Joaquin is currently expected to make landfall at some point on Sunday, according to the National Weather Service.
The hurricane’s possible trajectory has it hitting North Carolina around 2 p.m. on Sunday and moving through Virginia, D.C. and Maryland Sunday and Monday. Another path, however, predicts Joaquin will bypass the East Coast completely.
Joaquin is currently a Category 1 hurricane with winds up to 85 miles per hour and is floating around the Bahamas and other Caribbean islands, according to NWS.
Virginia officials issued the following tips for staying safe when flooding is expected (after the jump).
County to Ask For Federal Storm Aid — Yesterday, Arlington County ended the State of Emergency declaration put in place for Hurricane Sandy. The county says it will seek federal reimbursement for the estimated $1.17 million cost of responding to the storm. Meanwhile, the county says that one private home was destroyed by the storm, while 17 suffered major damage and 27 suffered minor damage. [Arlington County]
APS Rolls Out ‘Courtesy Bus Service’ — Arlington Public Schools has started to bus some students who lost their eligibility to ride the bus this year as part of changes to the school system’s transportation policies this year. The courtesy service will only be offered this year, school officials say. So far, 83 students have been allowed back on buses. [Sun Gazette]
SoberRide Halloween Stats — The SoberRide program says it provided 157 free cab rides to “would-be drunk drivers” in the D.C. area on Wednesday night and early Thursday morning. [Washington Regional Alcohol Program]
Road Closures for 5K Race — A number of roads will be closed near Tuckahoe Elementary School for the National Race Against the Odds 5K race this weekend. The closures will be in place from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. on Sunday (Nov. 4). [ACPD]
Advice for Damaged Trees — The TreeStewards of Arlington and Alexandria have some advice for property owners whose trees were damaged by SuperStorm Sandy. The organization has been encouraging property owners to read about precautions to be taken when hiring tree services to help with storm clean-up, and about “first aid” procedures for storm-damaged trees.
Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann
County officials compared the dangerous conditions Arlington will experience over the next 24 hours to the heavy winds of the June 29 derecho, which lasted 24 minutes.
Already some power problems and falling trees and power lines have been reported. Dominion reported 423 customers without power in Arlington earlier this afternoon, but power has since been restored to most. Firefighters are currently on the scene of a large tree that fell on to a house on the 2900 block of N. Oxford Street, in the Bellevue Forest neighborhood. The house was unoccupied at the time and nobody was hurt.
In the following Arlington Alert, the county says they’re starting to receive reports of flooded roads. Long Bridge Drive has already been closed due to flooding.
Hurricane Sandy is about to get worse.
Think of the derecho storm with high winds in June that lasted 24 minutes. The winds we’re about to experience beginning this afternoon are like the derecho, but they will last for 24 hours.
To paraphrase: Instead of 24 minutes of dangerous winds, it will be 24 hours of dangerous conditions.
We need you to stay off the roads and indoors as travel will become extremely dangerous with winds and heavy rain beginning this afternoon.
Several inches of rain and potential flooding could start happening. We’re beginning to get reports of flooded roads.
Have your battery-powered radio available and make sure your phone is fully charged if you lose power. We will share any shelter openings and other updates via our information channels such as our Emergency Management Blog, County Web Page and Arlington Alert.
Separately, the county is advising residents to secure loose items outside, if that can be done safely, and to avoid driving into high standing water. “Please exercise extreme caution” in the storm, the county said.
As high winds approach, exercise extreme caution. For the safety of our employees, Arlington County will implement its high-wind policy. As the wind approaches sustained speeds of 30-40-45 miles-per-hour, we will pull crews off the roads and in to a safe place. This includes Parks staff, who will suspend responding to downed tree calls during these dangerous wind conditions. As winds approach very high, sustained speeds, police and fire personnel will respond only to life-threatening calls.
Please exercise extreme caution; emergency managers urge you to go a safe place and stay there. We also encourage you to remove/secure loose items from your yard, balcony, deck, etc., as these could become dangerous projectiles in high wind. Do this if you can do so safely.
Monday & Tuesday trash and recycling services are delayed until Wednesday. Bring your trash carts and recycling bins into your house/garage; do not leave them outside, as they could become airborne and dangerous.
Also, it’s a good idea to remove or secure loose items from your yard, balcony, deck, etc., as these could become dangerous projectiles in high wind. Do this if you can do so safely.
We are receiving reports of ponding on some roads. Standing water is deceptive; do not drive into standing water. Do not go out onto the roads if at all possible; we urge you to get to a safe place and stay there.
- Do not drive into standing water. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. You and the vehicle can be quickly swept away.
- Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars, causing loss of control and possible stalling.
- A foot of water will float many vehicles .
- Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles including SUVs and pick-ups.
Arlington County is urging residents to stay put until the heavy rain and wind of Hurricane Sandy blows through the area over the next day or so.
“Arlington emergency managers urge everyone to stay where you are,” the county said in a media alert this morning. “High winds and the danger of falling trees will present an extremely unsafe environment. Get yourself to a safe place and stay there.”
With widespread damage to trees expected during the storm, the county is asking residents to call 703-228-6525 to report downed trees. Only in the event of a life-threatening emergency should residents call 9-1-1, the county said.
For non-emergency assistance, residents can call the non-emergency police and fire line at 703-558-2222. Requests for storm aid can be made by calling the Arlington Department of Human Services at 703-228-1300 or the regional aid hotline at 2-1-1.
Sandy is expected to drop up to 5-10 inches of rain on the D.C. area and pack damaging wind gusts of 70-80 miles per hour. From the National Weather Service:
AT 11 AM EDT… THE CENTER OF HURRICANE SANDY WAS LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 37.5N… LONGITUDE 71.5W. THIS WAS ABOUT 315 MILES EAST OF WASHINGTON DC. SANDY WAS MOVING NORTHWEST AT 18 MPH… WITH MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS OF 90 MPH. SANDY IS FORECAST TO MAKE LANDFALL ALONG THE SOUTHERN NEW JERSEY COAST EARLY TONIGHT… WITH A LITTLE STRENGTHENING POSSIBLE BEFORE LANDFALL. SANDY WILL SEVERELY IMPACT THE REGION WELL BEFORE IT COMES ASHORE.
SUMMARY OF THREATS —————— * THE MAIN IMMEDIATE THREATS FOR SANDY WILL BE STRONG WINDS RESULTING IN WIDESPREAD DOWNED TREES AND POWER/COMMUNICATIONS OUTAGES… AND HEAVY RAINS WHICH WILL RESULT IN EXTENSIVE FLOODING OF LOCAL STREAMS AND CREEKS. * BLIZZARD CONDITIONS ARE FORECAST IN THE POTOMAC HIGHLANDS AT ELEVATIONS ABOVE 2000 FEET WHERE 18 TO 24 INCHES ARE FORECAST. * MAJOR RIVER FLOODING IS LIKELY TO OCCUR… STARTING THIS AFTERNOON ON SMALLER WATERSHEDS WHICH WILL LEAD TO FLOODING ON THE MAIN-STEM RIVERS SUCH AS THE POTOMAC AND THE SHENANDOAH.
CHANGES SINCE LAST LOCAL STATEMENT ———————————- * THE TIMING OF THE PEAK WINDS FROM SANDY ARE NOW EXPECTED FROM LATE THIS AFTERNOON TO DAYBREAK ON WEDNESDAY. * RAINFALL AMOUNTS HAVE BEEN INCREASED. THE GREATER BALTIMORE METRO AREA IS NOW FORECAST TO RECEIVE 8 TO 12 INCHES OF RAIN… WITH LOCALLY HIGHER AMOUNTS. * THE POTOMAC RIVER IS LIKELY TO GO INTO FLOOD STAGE BEGINNING AROUND WEDNESDAY AND LASTING THROUGH FRIDAY.
HIGH WINDS ———- * WINDS WILL INCREASE STEADILY TODAY… WITH THE MAXIMUM WIND GUSTS OCCURRING LATE THIS AFTERNOON THROUGH TUESDAY MORNING. * GENERALLY… SUSTAINED WINDS OF 30 TO 50 MPH WITH GUSTS TO 60 MPH CAN BE EXPECTED ACROSS THE ENTIRE REGION. * HURRICANE FORCE WIND GUSTS OF 70 AND POSSIBLY 80 MPH ARE EXPECTED TO IMPACT A REGION LOCATED BETWEEN BEL AIR MD… POINT LOOKOUT MD… AND HAGERSTOWN MD BETWEEN 6 PM THIS EVENING TO 6 AM TUESDAY. THIS INCLUDES THE GREATER BALTIMORE AND WASHINGTON METROPOLITAN AREAS. * COUPLED WITH HEAVY RAINS FROM SANDY… THE HIGH WINDS WILL RESULT IN SIGNIFICANT TREE DAMAGE AND POWER LINE DAMAGE.
RAINFALL AND FLOODING ——————— * 8 TO 12 INCHES OF RAIN IN NORTHEAST AND NORTH CENTRAL MD INCLUDING THE BALTIMORE METRO AREA AND ALONG THE WEST SHORE OF THE BAY. * 5 TO 10 INCHES OF RAIN IS EXPECTED ACROSS THE FREDERICK… WASHINGTON AND FREDERICKSBURG METRO AREAS. * 3 TO 6 INCHES OF RAIN IS EXPECTED FOR EASTERN WEST VIRGINIA AND VIRGINIA… WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE DC METRO COUNTIES… AS WELL AS WESTERN MARYLAND WEST OF HANCOCK MD. * THIS AMOUNT OF RAIN WILL LIKELY RESULT IN EXTENSIVE AND DANGEROUS FLOODING OF LOCAL STREAMS AND CREEKS STARTING THIS AFTERNOON AND LASTING INTO WEDNESDAY.
MAIN-STEM RIVER FLOODING ———————— * THE POTOMAC RIVER WILL LIKELY START FLOODING TUESDAY NIGHT AND CONTINUE THROUGH THE END OF THE WEEK. * THE MONOCACY RIVER IS FORECAST TO FLOOD LATER TODAY AND CONTINUE TO BE IN MAJOR FLOOD THROUGH EARLY THURSDAY. LEVELS FORECAST HAVE NOT BEEN SEEN SINCE AGNES IN 1972.
All classes and activities have been canceled Monday at Arlington Public Schools in advance of the storm, which is now expected to drop 5 to 10 inches of rain and pack wind gusts up to 70 miles per hour between tonight and Tuesday.
Metro has suspended all rail, bus and MetroAccess service starting Monday. Service will remain suspended “until further notice.” ART bus service has also been suspended Monday.
Many flights departing out of and arriving at Reagan National Airport on Monday have been canceled, according to the airport’s Twitter account, although the airport itself will remain open.
Federal government offices will be closed Monday, and non-emergency employees are being granted excused absences.
Arlington courts, libraries, community centers and government offices will be closed Monday. Trash and recycling collection in Arlington has been suspended 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.
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.”
Although service will be suspended after Sunday night, 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.
Photo (top) courtesy @JoePraino
Update at 11:20 a.m. on 8/27/2011 — An Arlington County spokeswoman says the county is not distributing sandbags, despite information provided to ARLnow.com yesterday.
Arlington County has declared a local emergency in advance of the arrival of Hurricane Irene.
Today, Acting County Manager Marsha Allgeier has signed a Declaration of Local Emergency for Arlington County in response to Hurricane Irene. The declaration was made because Hurricane Irene is a powerful storm with potentially damaging winds, rainfall, and storm surge that could cause flooding and other hazardous conditions in Arlington.
This declaration provides for increased coordination with state resources, and provides increased administrative authority permitting the County to take necessary actions to prepare for and respond to the storm. At this time, the County reminds residents to be prepared. For emergency preparedness information, storm updates, and information on cancellations and closings, visit the County website.
All county facilities — including libraries and community centers — will close at noon on Saturday and remain shuttered through Sunday. Artisphere will be closed all day Saturday. The lobby of the Arlington County jail will be open as a shelter of last resort for homeless individuals.
An emergency exercise scheduled to take place at Pentagon City mall on Sunday morning, meanwhile, has been canceled. In addition, the Columbia Pike outdoor movie scheduled for Saturday night, has been rescheduled for Saturday, Sept. 17 at 8:00 p.m. Also, we’re told that tomorrow morning’s Courthouse farmers market will be reduced in scope, as 14th Street and part of the county surface parking, where the market is held, will be reserved for emergency vehicle parking.
This is starting to sound very familiar: a major snowstorm is heading our way, just in time for the weekend. The storm is looking increasingly likely to be on par with the impact of the Dec. 19 “Snowpocalypse.” Most forecasters are predicting a minimum of 10 inches, with up to two feet possible. The fact that the snow is supposed to start around midday Friday should help facilitate an early start to the weekend for many.
Meanwhile, the state and the county have gone into full-blown end-of-the-world mode. Yesterday Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell declared what is likely his first state of emergency (mazel tov!), a full two days ahead of the storm. Arlington County, not to be outdone, is warning of “near blizzard conditions” and asking residents to be prepared to shelter in place for 3 to 5 days. From the Arlington Alerts:
Please stay off the roads. Snow crews will plow primary and secondary roads first for emergency vehicles. After severe storms (more than 10”), it may take 36-48 hours after the snow stops before County plows can get to residential streets. Removal and treatment may take several days.
Stay tuned for more snow updates later today.