27 August, 2011


In a week of unprecedented weather in the Washington region — with an earthquake measuring 5.8 having shaken the entire East Coast on Tuesday — the National Weather Service is now predicting a significant potential for winds and rain associated with Hurricane Irene this weekend. A Tropical Storm Warning and Flash Flood Watch is in effect for the District and much of the mid-Atlantic region through Sunday. Public safety, transportation, and utilities are working to ensure that the city is prepared for the possible impact of the storm. Residents and business owners are urged to prepare their homes and businesses in advance of the storm’s arrival mid- to late-afternoon on Saturday.

A hurricane is a tropical storm with winds that have reached a constant speed of 74 miles per hour or more. Hurricane winds blow in a large spiral around a relative calm center known as the "eye." The "eye" is generally 20 to 30 miles wide, and the storm may extend outward 400 miles. As a hurricane approaches, the skies will begin to darken and winds will grow in strength. As a hurricane nears land, it can bring torrential rains, high winds, and storm surges. A single hurricane can last for more than 2 weeks over open waters and can run a path across the entire length of the eastern seaboard. August and September are peak months during the hurricane season that lasts from June 1 through November 30. Hurricanes can be dangerous killers. Learning the hurricane warning messages and planning ahead can reduce the chances of injury or major property damage.

Before the storm hits, have disaster supplies on hand, including:
»Flashlight and extra batteries
»Portable, battery-operated radio and extra batteries
»First aid kit and manual
»Emergency food and water supply
»Non-electric can opener
»Essential medicines and prescriptions
»Cash and credit cards

During a hurricane warning:
»Listen constantly to a battery-operated radio or television for official instructions.
»Store valuables and personal papers in a waterproof container on the highest level of your home.
»Avoid elevators.

If at home: »
Stay inside, away from windows, skylights, and glass doors.
Keep a supply of flashlights and extra batteries handy. Avoid open flames, such as candles and kerosene lamps, as a source of light.
»If power is lost, turn off major appliances to reduce power "surge" when electricity is restored.

Develop an emergency communication plan for you and your family in the event that you become seaparated. Learn more at:

Review the DC Department of Transportation’s "Emergency Tips Brochure" for evacuation procedures at:

http://ddot.dc.gov/DC/DDOT/ On+Your+Street/Traffic+Management/ Emergency+Preparedness/Transportation+Tip s+During+An+Emergency+Incident

For up to date information on the storm’s position and current predictions, go to:

Keep informed on the District’s response to the storm, alerts, and updates by following on Twitter:

@DC_HSEMA or @MayorVinceGray

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