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District Government Prepares for Hurricane Sandy's Effects

Friday, October 26, 2012
Mayor Gray Declares State of Emergency


(Washington, DC) – Mayor Vincent C. Gray has declared a state of emergency in the District in anticipation of the effects of Hurricane Sandy and a simultaneous Nor’easter, which are expected to rake the region beginning late this weekend and continuing through the early part of next week. He and other District officials have been meeting to coordinate preparations for the storm, and multiple agencies are working to mitigate its potential effects on the District.

Officials will work through the weekend to ensure the District’s residents, businesses and infrastructure are as ready as possible for the effects of the storm, which could include heavy rain and street flooding, strong winds and power outages, and storm-surge flooding along the Potomac River and its tributaries. Forecasters are predicting 4" to 8" of rain to fall between Sunday night and Wednesday, with bursts of rain falling at a rate of 2" per hour. Sustained tropical-storm-force winds of 40-60 miles per hour with gusts up to hurricane strength (75 miles per hour or more) are possible, and duration of the storm’s peak impact may be several hours.

Meteorologists are sounding increasingly dire warnings about the magnitude and historic nature of this combined storm, and the District is preparing in earnest," Mayor Gray said. "We are working hard to ensure that we minimize any of this storm’s negative effects in the District."


The DC Department of Public Works (DPW) is coordinating the District government’s advance preparations. "Crucial District government agencies are already implementing their storm-response plans," said City Administrator Allen Y. Lew. "We will be ready for this storm."

Lew highlighted responses already underway:

  • DC Water is clearing storm drains citywide.
  • DPW will distribute sandbags tomorrow (Saturday, Oct. 27) between 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. at RFK Stadium, Lot 7.
  • The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is assigning staff and contractors to be ready to collect storm debris starting Monday, October 29, and DPW crews will assist.
  • DPW tow trucks will be deployed as necessary to remove vehicles blocking roadways.
  • DDOT has generators in place at major intersections. If power is disrupted, traffic signals will continue to work, and DDOT traffic control officers will be deployed to direct traffic where necessary.

For Residents

DPW is postponing Monday’s bulk garbage collections and notifying residents of the new day. Also, residents are asked to bag their leaves so they don’t collect in the storm drains and cause flooding.

Residents may go to the DC Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency website to get tips to help them prepare their homes and families for the storm. To receive important text messages about the latest information on weather, traffic, closings and more, sign up for ALERT DC at textalert.ema.dc.gov.

DC government agencies will maintain a constant presence throughout the storm on Twitter and other social-media outlets and provide crucial information as conditions develop. Please follow the Mayor (@MayorVinceGray), DPW (@dcdpw), DDOT (@ddotdc) and DC Water (@dcwater) on Twitter for information on Hurricane Sandy response, using #SandyDC as a hashtag.

Tips to Prepare

Dealing with Downed Trees

  • Residents are reminded to stay clear of broken and hanging tree branches, which can fall at any time.
  • Please report any downed tree branches by calling 311.
  • Residents are also reminded to stay away from downed wires, as they could be energized and electrical contact could be fatal. Report downed wires to Pepco by calling 1.877.PEPCO62

Power and Water Outages

  • To report a power outage, please call Pepco at 1.877.PEPCO62. Customers may report outages online at pepco.com or download Pepco’s smart phone app, pepco.com/mobileapp to report and track outages. To report a water outage, residents can call DC Water at (202) 612-3400


  • Motorists are reminded to treat dark intersections as four-way stops and to avoid driving through standing water