The East Coast is bracing for Hurricane Sandy to hit this weekend. Dubbed “Frankenstorm” due to it’s closeness to Halloween, is likely to run parallel to the East Coast Sunday night through Monday, according to sources.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Friday that wherever the storm comes ashore, there will be 10 inches of rain and extreme storm surges.
This storm is predicted to bring serious winds and floods, so be sure to take necessary precautions. Here are some suggestions from FEMA:
– Top off gas tanks. If power is knocked out, gas pumps and ATMs won’t work.
– Have a working flashlight and batteries handy.
– Have a battery-operated radio (to be able to listen to news reports about the storm).
– Fill drug prescriptions.
– Have a first-aid kit at home.
– Stock supplies of water and nonperishable food for 5 days. An adequate water supply is 1 gallon of water per person per day.
– Stock baby formula and diapers, if there are babies at home.
– Heed evacuation orders from the Office of Emergency Management
http://www.ready.gov/hurricanes has more information
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Take a look at how officials in the D.C., Maryland and Virginia area are preparing for Hurricane Sandy via The Weather Channel.
When asked about Sandy affecting the president’s travel schedule, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney stated, “We leave it to the professionals to track storms and make predictions about where it will travel. The [resident’s concern about this storm is making sure that citizens in potentially affected areas are aware of it and taking the necessary precautions, and making sure that FEMA is working as necessary with local officials in preparation for a storm.”
Gov. Martin O’Malley is declaring a state of emergency across Maryland as Hurricane Sandy approaches. O’Malley said Friday the declaration gives the state flexibility to activate the Maryland National Guard and provide assistance to local emergency managers.
Maryland utility companies and emergency management officials say they’re preparing for large-scale power outages, flooding and other damage from a storm that could arrive as early as Sunday. Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. said it’s planning for hundreds of thousands of potential outages. The company says it’s putting 1,300 workers on standby and making plans to bring in at least 500 from other states.
In western Maryland, Potomac Edison is denying new vacation requests until any storm repairs have been made. The company is looking at the possibility that Tropical Storm Sandy could be followed by wintry weather in mountains.
The utilities and the Maryland Emergency Management Agency say lessons learned from past storms, including one in late June, that could help reduce damage and recovery time.
A campaign official for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said he has canceled a planned rally on Sunday night in Virginia Beach, according to Garrett Haake from NBC News.
Navy bases in Virginia are making preparations for Hurricane Sandy. The commander of Navy Region Mid-Atlantic ordered all installations in southeast Virginia on Friday to operate under Tropical Cyclone Condition Three. That means base personnel are being told to remove debris from drainage areas and to secure objects that could be blown away and cause injuries or damage during a storm.
Tropical Cyclone Condition Three is set when destructive winds exceeding 50 knots are possible within 48 hours. The order applies to bases such as Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach as well as Naval Station Norfolk, the world’s largest naval installation. Friday’s order also applies to Weapons Station Earle in New Jersey and Naval Support Activity Mechanicsburg in Pennsylvania.
Below are more preparedness tips:
Before a Hurricane
To prepare for a hurricane, you should take the following measures:
* To begin preparing, you should build an emergency kit<http://www.ready.gov/build-a-kit> and make a family communications plan<http://www.ready.gov/family-communications>.
* Know your surroundings.
* Learn the elevation level of your property and whether the land is flood-prone. This will help you know how your property will be affected when storm surge or tidal flooding are forecasted.
* Identify levees and dams in your area and determine whether they pose a hazard to you.
* Learn community hurricane evacuation routes and how to find higher ground. Determine where you would go and how you would get there if you needed to evacuate.
* Make plans to secure your property:
* Cover all of your home’s windows. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with 5/8” marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install. Tape does not prevent windows from breaking.
* Install straps or additional clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure. This will reduce roof damage.
* Be sure trees and shrubs around your home are well trimmed so they are more wind resistant.
* Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
* Reinforce your garage doors; if wind enters a garage it can cause dangerous and expensive structural damage.
* Plan to bring in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and anything else that is not tied down.
* Determine how and where to secure your boat.
* Install a generator for emergencies.
* If in a high-rise building, be prepared to take shelter on or below the 10th floor.
* Consider building a safe room.
During a Hurricane
If a hurricane is likely in your area, you should:
· Listen to the radio or TV for information.
· Secure your home, close storm shutters and secure outdoor objects or bring them indoors.
· Turn off utilities<http://www.ready.gov/utility-shut-safety> if instructed to do so. Otherwise, turn the refrigerator thermostat to its coldest setting and keep its doors closed.
· Turn off propane tanks
· Avoid using the phone, except for serious emergencies.
· Moor your boat if time permits.
· Ensure a supply of water<http://www.ready.gov/water> for sanitary purpose such as cleaning and flushing toilets. Fill the bathtub and other larger containers with water.
· Find out how to keep food safe<http://www.ready.gov/food> during and after and emergency.
You should evacuate under the following conditions:
If you are directed by local authorities to do so. Be sure to follow their instructions.
· If you live in a mobile home or temporary structure – such shelter are particularly hazardous during hurricane no matter how well fastened to the ground.
· If you live in a high-rise building – hurricane winds are stronger at higher elevations.
· If you live on the coast, on a floodplain, near a river, or on an island waterway.
Read more about evacuating yourself and your family<http://www.ready.gov/evacuating-yourself-and-your-family>. If you are unable to evacuate, go to your wind-safe room. If you do not have one, follow these guidelines:
· Stay indoors during the hurricane and away from windows and glass doors.
· Close all interior doors – secure and brace external doors.
· Keep curtains and blinds closed. Do not be fooled if there is a lull; it could be the eye of the storm – winds will pick up again.
· Take refuge in a small interior room, closet or hallway on the lowest level.
· Lie on the floor under a table or another sturdy object.
· Avoid elevators.
After a Hurricane
· Continue listening to a NOAA Weather Radio or the local news for the latest updates.
· Stay alert for extended rainfall and subsequent flooding even after the hurricane or tropical storm has ended.
· If you have become separated from your family, use your family communications plan or contact FEMA or the American Red Cross.
· FEMA has established the National Emergency Family Registry and Locator System (NEFRLS)<https://egateway.fema.gov/inter/nefrls/home.htm>, which has been developed to help reunite families who are separated during a disaster. The NEFRLS system will enable displaced individuals the ability to enter personal information into a website database so that they can be located by others during a disaster.
· The American Red Cross<http://www.ready.gov/redirect?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.redcross.org> also maintains a database to help you find family. Contact the local American Red Cross chapter where you are staying for information. Do not contact the chapter in the disaster area.
· If you evacuated, return home only when officials say it is safe.
· If you cannot return home and have immediate housing needs. Text SHELTER + your ZIP code to 43362 (4FEMA) to find the nearest shelter in your area (example: shelter 12345).
· For those who have longer-term housing needs, FEMA offers several types of assistance, including services and grants to help people repair their homes and find replacement housing. Apply for assistance<http://www.fema.gov> or search for information about housing rental resources<https://asd.fema.gov/inter/hportal/home.htm>
· Drive only if necessary and avoid flooded roads and washed¬ out bridges. Stay off the streets. If you must go out watch for fallen objects; downed electrical wires; and weakened walls, bridges, roads, and sidewalks.
· Keep away from loose or dangling power lines and report them immediately to the power company.
· Walk carefully around the outside your home and check for loose power lines, gas leaks and structural damage before entering.
· Stay out of any building if you smell gas, floodwaters remain around the building or your home was damaged by fire and the authorities have not declared it safe.
· Inspect your home for damage. Take pictures of damage, both of the building and its contents, for insurance purposes. If you have any doubts about safety, have your residence inspected by a qualified building inspector or structural engineer before entering.
· Use battery-powered flashlights in the dark. Do NOT use candles. Note: The flashlight should be turned on outside before entering – the battery may produce a spark that could ignite leaking gas, if present.
· Watch your pets closely and keep them under your direct control. Watch out for wild animals, especially poisonous snakes. Use a stick to poke through debris.
· Avoid drinking or preparing food with tap water until you are sure it’s not contaminated.
· Check refrigerated food for spoilage. If in doubt, throw it out.
· Wear protective clothing and be cautious when cleaning up to avoid injury.
· Use the telephone only for emergency calls.
· NEVER use a generator inside homes, garages, crawlspaces, sheds, or similar areas, even when using fans or opening doors and windows for ventilation. Deadly levels of carbon monoxide can quickly build up in these areas and can linger for hours, even after the generator has shut off.
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