Rain comes down around region as Joaquin shifts path


Rain comes down around region as Joaquin shifts path

UPDATE: 1.30 p.m., Oct. 3

WASHINGTON – The threat from Hurricane Joaquin has diminished and the steadiest rainfall is over.

There is little risk of major flooding across the Greater Washington D.C. area, but there will continue to be some coastal flooding in Anne-Arundel County as well as the flood prone areas along the Potomac in D.C., Arlington, Falls Church and Alexandria.

The biggest issue in many areas this afternoon will be the gusty winds, which could reach over 30 mph at times. Highs will be in the middle to upper 50s and it will feel even cooler with the stiff breeze. Tonight will remain cloudy and blustery with lows in the 40s and some spotty drizzle.

What to expect Saturday night:

Some drizzle, cloudy and windy

Lows: 40s

Winds: N 15-20, gusts up to 30+ mph


    BGE Monitoring and Preparing for Hurricane Joaquin

    BALTIMORE (October 1, 2015) – Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) is monitoring Hurricane Joaquin, which some forecasts indicate could affect the mid-Atlantic region. BGE is making staffing preparations in order to respond to any potential service interruptions caused by the heavy rain and damaging winds of a major coastal storm.  In addition to the company’s 3,200 employees, BGE is activating additional support contractors—tree and overhead line crews—and has begun the process of requesting crews from other utilities. The company also asks customers to make sure they have contingency plans and supplies prepared should they become necessary.

    Customers should report service interruptions or downed wires to BGE at 877.778.2222. BGE asks all customers, including those with smart meters, to report their outage.
    Outages may also be
    reported at BGE.com and through mobile devices. Customers can find information on preparing for natural disasters and other emergency events at the
    storm center on BGE.com
    , as well as storm preparation information and restoration progress via BGE’s social media sites Twitter and Facebook. We thank our customers in advance for taking the time to prepare their homes and families.

    Should the storm affect central Maryland, BGE will work to keep customers updated through the company’s website, local media, social media channels. 

    Customers are reminded to have the following basic items on hand:

    • Flashlights – not candles
    • Fresh batteries
    • Battery-operated clock radio
    • Corded telephone
    • Fully charged cell phone
    • Non-perishable foods
    • Water – one gallon of water per
      person per day for at least three days for drinking and sanitation
    • First aid kit
    • Local maps
    • Blankets

    In addition, customers should consider filling the fuel tanks of their vehicles in the event a power
    outage affects service to neighborhood gas stations.
    For customers who rely on well water, filling a bathtub with water in advance of severe weather is strongly encouraged. Customers using a generator should follow manufacturer instructions and be sure to locate generators outside, in well-ventilated areas.

    In instances of long periods of heavy rain, BGE prepares for the very real potential of not only outages relating to overhead power lines, but also outages caused by flooding in cases where water enters gas and electric meters. In cases where flooding affects equipment after the meter, customers are responsible for all wiring, pipe, appliances, breaker boxes and any other gas or electric-related equipment or service inside the home or business.

    Customers are urged to consider the following safety tips:

    • Proceed with care if you have
      experienced flooding in your basement and/or other areas of your home
    • Do not enter a room with
      standing water, particularly if the water covers electrical outlets or
      electrical cords that are plugged into outlets
    • Ensure the electrical system is
      shut off before entering a flooded room or basement
    • Do not attempt to shut off your
      electrical system if you have to stand in water or on a wet floor to do so

    If you experienced flooding, do not turn on any lights or appliances without having a comprehensive inspection performed by a licensed electrician and also by a registered plumber with a gasfitter's license for gas appliances.

    TCW football games scheduled for this weekend are canceled. Varsity plays TONIGHT, 10/1 at 7:30 p.m., South County High School. #TCWTitans.
    Taste of Bethesda canceled due to stormy forecast, Bethesda Magazine reports.

    Governor Larry Hogan today signed an Executive Order declaring a state of
    emergency in Maryland in anticipation of heavy rains, potential flooding, and
    the possibility that Hurricane Joaquin may affect the state. 

    The Hogan administration has asked state agencies, including the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), to make preparations for the incoming storms.

    Residents can go to MEMA’s website, mema.maryland.gov, for more flooding and hurricane preparedness information and can follow MEMA’s Twitter feed, @MDMEMA,
    and Facebook page,
    www.facebook.com/MDMEMAfor up-to-date information.

    RICHMOND – Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) crews are prepared and stand ready across the state to respond to any unsafe traveling conditions and damage resulting from another round of forecasted heavy rainfall and the possibility of impacts from Hurricane Joaquin.

    Rain is expected to impact Virginia through Saturday.  Hurricane Joaquin could impact Virginia on Sunday and Monday, depending on its track. VDOT is closely monitoring the statewide storm, with the
    hardest hit areas expected to be
    along the coast in the Hampton Roads and Fredericksburg regions.

    High winds combined with rain-soaked conditions are likely to weaken trees, causing downed trees and limbs to block roadways. Since heavy rains have already drenched the state, additional rain fall will tend to pond on roads, which is expected to worsen from the possible impacts of Hurricane Joaquin on Sunday.

    Conditions change quickly. Motorists are encouraged to monitor weather reports and road conditions before traveling. Driving on area roadways through Sunday or Monday could be hazardous as a result of heavy rain and wind gusts. VDOT recommends drivers delay travel until unsafe weather conditions have passed.

    What is happening Thursday across the state:

    • 2,500 VDOT crews and contractors are prepared to clear roads from expected heavy
      rains, fallen trees and other debris. 
    • Additional contract debris removal and tree crews are on standby. VDOT has begun preparations for Hurricane Joaquin at Hampton Roads tunnels, moveable bridges and
    • Based on current forecasts, the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel (HRBT) should not be impacted
      by the tidal events. 
      The district will test tide gates at the HRBT 2 a.m. Friday morning.  

    Elizabeth River Crossings (ERC) is prepared to shut the Midtown Tunnel if needed should tide levels reach potential flooding levels.  ERC will test the tunnel gate at 10 tonight.

    Merry Pointe and Sunnybank ferries are closed throughout the storm. Normal operations continue at the Jamestown Scotland Ferry.

    Crews are repairing damaged roads from flooding that occurred this week in the Salem,
    Staunton, Culpeper districts. 

    Nine roadways are washed out and VDOT is working on emergency repairs.

    Early flooding has been reported in the Southampton County communities of Franklin
    and Capron where rural roads often flood first.

    Road clearing priorities:

    Crews will first clear roads that provide access to hospitals and emergency facilities, followed by interstates and major primaries.  Once those roads are cleared, they will focus on the secondary system.

    • VDOT only closes bridges, ramps or roads when there is eminent danger
      to public safety such as high water, strong sustained winds, structural
      damage, or downed trees and debris blocking the roadway.
        Following a
      hurricane, crews in conjunction with utility companies, work to clear all
      roadways of debris.
      Roads will be cleared and opened as quickly, and
      safely, as possible.

    Motorist Safety:

    While VDOT urges motorists to limit travel, if you are driving in bad
    weather, keep the following in mind:

    • Expect the unexpected. Be prepared to slow or stop quickly and without warning.
    • Keep headlights on while it’s raining: it’s the law.
    • Drive at a speed that enables you to stop quickly and safely within the distance illuminated by the vehicle’s headlights.
    • Turn Around, Don’t Drown! Never drive through water flowing across a road. It takes only six to 12 inches of water to float a small vehicle.
    • Never drive around barricades. Remember, the road has been closed for your safety.
    • Slow down when driving through standing water. Driving too fast through water could cause loss of control due to hydroplaning.
    • Avoid flood-prone areas, especially along creeks and other low-lying areas.
    • Be alert for tree limbs and other debris in the roadway. Even small branches and other debris can damage a car or cause the driver to lose control.
    • If you come across a downed power line, do not try to move it. Contact your local authorities.
    • Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded and watch out for debris. Floodwaters often erode roads and walkways.

    During storms with high winds:

    Anticipate gusts.

    Be aware of large vehicles such as tractor trailers and recreational vehicles. They are more susceptible to high winds and drivers may have difficulties staying in their lanes.

    Keep a firm grip on the wheel in case the wind begins to move your vehicle.


    • Know the road conditions before you go. Call 511 or visit www.511Virginia.org to find out what roads may be closed and any weather-related traffic conditions in your area.
    • Residents and motorists can also call VDOT’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-FOR-ROAD to report hazardous road conditions or need to speak with a customer service representative.
    • For the latest list of road closures go here.
    The Latest: State Fair of Virginia cutting run short

    The operators of the State Fair of Virginia are ending the agricultural attraction’s run because of the threat of severe weather.

    The Doswell fair held at The Meadow Event Park will close Thursday and not re-open for the scheduled remainder of its run. The fair was to run through Sunday.

    Read more here.

    We are monitoring Hurricane Joaquin and any potential impact on our area. Read more here: fcps.edu.

    Hurricane and rainstorm are locked in a dangerous dance

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Hurricane Joaquin is locked in a dance with an extraordinarily heavy rainstorm that is already drenching the Carolinas. As the two draw closer together over the next few days, the effects could be disastrous for the East Coast.

    Hot off the press..County Encourages Residents to Prepare for Heavy Rains and Potential Flooding ow.ly
    Heavy Rainfall & Possible Flooding Forecasted to Impact Loudoun County,LCSO Advises Residents to Monitor Local Weather & Roadway Conditions go.usa.gov

    The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office continues to monitor local forecasts as heavy rainfall is expected to impact Loudoun County over the next few days.

    Heavy rains are expected to bring flooding to our region and many roadways, especially in low-lying areas, may become impassable. Motorists are reminded to never walk or drive through a flooded area. Stay away from flooded areas and seek higher ground if you are in an area experiencing flooding. It takes only six inches of fast-moving flood water to knock over an adult and two feet to move a vehicle. If you come across a roadway that is flooded or where high water is present, please contact the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Communications Center at 703-777-1021.

    The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office encourages residents to stay informed about the latest weather information before attempting to travel by monitoring the National Weather Service at www.weather.gov (//mobile.weather.gov on your phone) for the latest forecast.

    Weather conditions are expected to worsen over the next several days. If you haven’t already, residents are encouraged to secure outdoor furniture and other items in case of high winds. This will eliminate the chances of damage. Do not attempt to take these precautions once the full force of the severe weather has arrived. During the severe weather, residents are also encouraged to stay away from windows and glass doors and find a safe area in the interior of your home.

    Other precautions to take during the storm:
    • If your home is threatened by flooding, turn off electricity at the main breaker.
    • Do not use electrical appliances.
    • If you lose power, turn off major appliances to minimize damage.
    • Stay inside! You could be struck and seriously injured or even
    killed by flying debris or falling trees.

    Motorists are reminded that when approaching an intersection where no law enforcement is present and the traffic signals are off due to power failure, that intersection must be treated as a four-way stop. Please be patient as widespread power outages are possible.

    When dealing with downed trees and post-storm debris, residents are reminded to stay away from downed wires as they may be live with electricity. If you see a downed line, report it immediately.

    Also, make sure to report power outages. For Dominion Virginia Power, call 1-866-366-4357. Dominion also provides updates through Facebook and Twitter. To report NOVEC power outages, call 1-888-335-0500. For Washington Gas, call 1-800-752-7520. For Columbia Gas, call 1-800-543-8911.

    Other phone numbers you need to know:
    • 5-1-1 is to be used for the latest in road conditions
    • Call #77 on a cell phone to report a traffic crash or traffic emergency to the Virginia State Police

    Only call 9-1-1 in a true emergency. For non-emergency situations in Loudoun County, call 703-777-1021.

    Residents are encouraged to download the new Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office app to monitor road conditions and receive the latest information from the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office. Learn more about the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office app at sheriff.loudoun.gov

    Please be safe.

    Hurricane #Joaquin may impact our weather in Maryland! Please take action now by connecting with the NOAA NWS National Hurricane Center on Facebook. We also suggest liking the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA). Please stay weather alert throughout the weekend.

    A message from Fairfax County Public Schools

    "Dear FCPS Community,

    We are closely monitoring the path of Hurricane Joaquin and any potential impact on our area. We will continue to do so through tonight and the weekend. As there is great uncertainty in the track of the storm, we encourage you to monitor weather reports and make any preparations if necessary.

    There have been some cancellations and changes to sports and other events due to the heavy rain currently impacting our area. Please check with your school for the most recent status.

    Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) Administrators will meet Sunday evening to make decisions regarding FCPS operating status for Monday and an update will be provided Sunday evening. However, should conditions warrant, changes to FCPS operating status may be determined sooner.

    For those who may use, or have students on twitter, please note that the only official Twitter source for FCPS operating status is @fcpsnews.

    Thank you for your continued support of FCPS."

    Due to the inclement weather predicted for this weekend, the Alzheimer's Walk at Prince George's Stadium has been rescheduled for Oct. 10. 

    Sandbag Distribution to Continue Until Supplies are Depleted

    Charles County government sand distribution continues for county residents who need them to protect property. Due to high demand, sandbags are no longer available. Residents are encouraged to purchase bags from a local home improvement store, and bring them to the sand distribution location at Laurel Springs Park (5940 Radio Station Road, La Plata). Residents should bring a shovel to fill bags. No shovels or other tools will be provided. Distribution is scheduled to continue until sand supply is depleted. If sand runs out prior to 8 p.m., distribution will cease until further notice.

    Charles County declares local state of emergency

    On Thursday, Commissioner President Peter F. Murphy signed an order declaring a local state of emergency in Charles County. The state of emergency order will be in effect for up to seven days.

    The National Weather Service (NWS) is forecasting heavy rain throughout the end of this week for the state of Maryland. Rainfall is likely to continue at least through the weekend, with the potential of 5 to 10 inches of total precipitation throughout much of the state. Some areas will receive higher
    amounts, which could produce flooding of rivers, streams, ponds, and low-lying areas.

    The Department of Emergency Services encourages residents to prepare for potential flooding, and recommends that residents take the following precautionary actions:

    • Clean storm drains and gutters on your house to prevent overflow and water buildup.
    • Don't wait. Communicate. Know how to get in contact with your friends and family during any emergency.
    • Fuel up your automobile before any storm.
    • If you have a basement in your house, shelve household items and make sure any electronic equipment is not lying directly on the floor.
    • Check to see if you live or work in a flood prone area.
    • Listen to instructions from local officials and know the current forecast by following your local emergency management office, forecasters, and news stations. 

    Severe weather notices are posted online at www.CharlesCountyMD.gov, on CCGTV, which broadcasts on Verizon channel 10 and Comcast channel 95, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CharlesCounty, and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/CharlesCoMD

    Sign up for the Citizen Notification System at www.CharlesCountyCNS.com to receive inclement weather and traffic alerts by e-mail or phone. Call 9-1-1 in the event of an emergency.
    Assateague State Park will close at noon tomorrow, 10/2. Campers w/reservations, 10/2 - 10/6, will be contacted for cancellation.
    Due to a severe weather warning for this weekend, all Alexandria City Public Schools field trips and outdoor practices have been canceled beginning Friday, Oct. 2. 

    Indoor activities at schools for Oct. 3 will still go ahead as scheduled. A decision regarding activities for Oct. 4 will be taken closer to the time depending on the weather.

    All updates will be posted first on the ACPS website.

    USDA Farmers Market will be closed Oct. 2 because of inclement weather and will reopen Oct. 9

    The market, located at 12th Street and Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington,
    D.C., is usually open every Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. from May 1 through Oct. 30.

    National Weather Service meteorologist Chris Strong tells WTOP the DC area is in the 'threat zone' of Joaquin, and while it's too soon to tell where exactly the storm will go, they should know a lot more Friday.

    Read more here.
    Several cities distribute sandbags

    WASHINGTON -- As people anticipate flooding in the region, several cities are giving out sandbags to those who want them. Below are links to locations giving out sandbags. Note: availability is subject to change.
    • DC Water expects to announce sandbag pickup locations Friday, but only for people in Bloomingdale, LeDroit Park and part of P Street NW where flooding has happened before.
    • Alexandria will distribute sandbags starting at 9 a.m. Friday.
    • The Town of Chesapeake Beach is distributing sandbags at Town Hall.
    • Get updates on Charles County's sandbag distribution here.

    What's being done to mitigate flooding in Virginia, WTOP's Megan Cloherty reports.

    Metro planning ahead for weekend weather
    AP Photo 

    WASHINGTON — Metro is monitoring the weather closely, and planning ahead in case our region gets hit with a nor’easter and a hurricane.

    Weekend track work is scheduled to start Friday at 10 p.m. and continue through all of Sunday.

    Trains are set to run every 20 minutes on the Red Line, and every 25 minutes on all other lines except the Green Line, where normal weekend service is scheduled.

    Metro says the weather may force some aboveground work to be called off, but no weather-related service changes are expected.

    Read more about Metro preparations here.

    Cuba issues tropical storm warnings

    The National Hurricane Center in Miami says the Cuban government has issued a tropical storm warning for several provinces as Hurricane Joaquin barrels through the Bahamas with 130-mph (210 kph) winds.

    On Thursday night, the storm was centered about 25 miles (45 kms) southeast of Clarence Town, Long Island, Bahamas, and about 75 miles (120 kms) south of San Salvador, Bahamas.

    The storm was moving southwest at 5 mph (7kph).

    Read the latest here

    The Latest: Joaquin lingers over Central Bahamas

    Hurricane Joaquin is lingering over the Central Bahamas, and the dangerous Category 4 storm is expected to affect the islands through early Friday.

    The National Hurricane Center in Miami said late Thursday that Joaquin was centered about 20 miles (35 kms) southeast of Clarence Town, Long Island, Bahamas, and about 75 miles (120 kms) south of San Salvador, Bahamas.

    Its maximum sustained winds were 130 mph (215 kph) and the storm was creeping to the west at 3 mph (6 kph). A turn toward the north is expected Friday.

    Hurricane warnings are in effect for the Central Bahamas, Northwestern Bahamas, and Southeastern Bahamas. A hurricane watch is in effect for Bimini and Andros Island.

    Tropical storm warnings are in effect for the Cuban provinces of Camaguey, Los Tunas, Holguin, and Guantanamo.

    Click here to follow the latest developments.

    Perry Williams, 47, left, and Alaric Nixon, 28, place sandbags on the storefront of Diamond's International store, in preparation for the arrival of hurricane Joaquin in Nassau, Bahamas, Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015. (AP Photo/Tim Aylen) 

    Essential personnel only at Langley AFB

    (AP) -- Langley Air Force Base is telling only its essential personnel to report to work on Friday.

    The base in Hampton, Virginia will be closed to all non-mission essential personnel beginning at 9 a.m. The base’s leadership made the decision based on projected tidal surges and potential flooding.

    The hospital on the base will remain open during the storm to maintain emergency care for mission-essential personnel and base residents.

    On Thursday, about 40 aircraft and 100 personnel from Langley Air Force Base were relocated to Grissom Air Reserve Base, Indiana in advance of Hurricane Joaquin.

    Read more here.

    Forecast track of #Joaquin continues to shift away. Unrelated heavy rain & flash flooding still possible thru Sat. #dcwx #mdwx #vawx #wvwx
    National Park Service closing fields, canceling events ahead of storm

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The National Park Service is closing turf fields and canceling events around the Washington area as the region prepares for heavy rainfall and the possible arrival of Hurricane Joaquin.

    The park service says people wondering about specific events on Friday or over the weekend should reach out to organizers. Many events have already been canceled.

    Read more about preparations here.

    Heavy rain to our South is moving in soon. #WeatherAlertDay Flood threat HIGH tonight. Stay Safe! Avoid high water! http://pbs.twimg.com/media/CQTPOTuUwAAWb4k.png

    Northeasterly turn but #Joaquin staying off the coast. Runs paralell to NC beaches Sunday/Mon @WTOP @nbcwashington http://pbs.twimg.com/media/CQTbJNkVAAA6wRU.png

    #Joaquin continues to churn around #Bahamas . Cat 4, Winds at 130mph, 935mb-barely moving at 3mph @wtop @nbcwashington http://pbs.twimg.com/media/CQTbpBzUsAA2GBD.png

    Flash Flood Watch in effect through early Sat morning. Heaviest rain this aft. - early Sat. AM @wtop @nbcwashington http://pbs.twimg.com/media/CQTiAZqUYAEPUmA.png

    Not going to take much for some flooding! Heaviest rain falling closer to the Low - South of DC through Central VA http://pbs.twimg.com/media/CQTiOHYVEAA7hi7.png

    Alexandria readies for flooding, offers sand bags

    WTOPALEXANDRIA, Va. — Hurricane Joaquin may end up missing the eastern seaboard, but there is still a concern for flooding across the D.C. metro area because of a coastal nor’easter dumping lots of rain across the area. Businesses have already begun preparing for possible flooding in Old Town Alexandria.
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