Alexandria weathers Hurricane Sandy’s arrival

By Derrick Perkins and Melissa Quinn

Updated 12:16 p.m. Tuesday

Though the superstorm has come and gone, Alexandria residents may still be feeling her effects. An apartment building on the 4800 block of Kenmore Avenue underwent substantial roof damage after rainwater began leaking through the structure. Because of the water and wind damage, residents from 11 apartments were ordered to leave the building, displacing 20 people. All 20, though, found refuge with friends or family and the apartment building has been condemned.

It has since been reported that two other homes in the area suffered significant roof damage, though the city refutes those claims. Thus far, the structure on Kenmore Avenue is the only one with reported damage.

Members of the Old Dominion Boat Club decide to weather the storm with a drink. (Susan Braun)

Updated 11:24 a.m. Tuesday

As the region reels from the wrath of Hurricane Sandy, law enforcement all across the Commonwealth remain attentive to storm-related emergencies. From Sunday through Tuesday, troopers responded to 2,549 traffic crashes and disabled vehicles and received more than 4,500 calls for service.

As the hurricane made its way across the state, officers fielded 155 calls per hour.

Though WMATA suspended service this morning, Metro announced rail and bus service will resume at 2 p.m. with limited service. Those traveling via rail can expect to see trains every eight to 15 minutes through closing – normal weekday fares and parking fees apply. Metro buses will operate on a Sunday schedule.  Though the modified schedule will be used throughout Tuesday, commuters can expect to see normal service resume Wednesday morning.

Updated 11:13 a.m. Tuesday

Though the worst of Hurricane Sandy passed through the city last night, Alexandria remains under a state of emergency, officials said Tuesday morning. Dominion Virginia power reports fewer than 10,000 residents are without power this morning.

But the storm is expected to leave flooding in its wake. Officials will distribute sandbags at Market Square between 2 and 6 p.m. King Street is closed below the Lee Street intersection and Union Street is blocked off between Prince and Cameron streets. A coastal flood warning is in effect until 8 a.m. Wednesday.

So far, officials have described flooding in Alexandria as “minor.”

City offices and public schools remained closed Tuesday. The DASH bus system has been shut down for a second straight day and the King Street Trolley is not running. Trash collection has been suspended as well.

Authorities urged motorists to avoid driving through flooded roads and treat all dark intersections as four way stops.

Updated 9:31 p.m.

While other regions have suffered worse, about 109,700 in Northern Virginia remain in the dark, according to Dominion Virginia Power. Company officials remind residents to contact them if the power goes out. Call (1-866-366-4357) to report outages.

Most neighborhoods in Alexandria have been plagued by some outages with the possible exception of Cameron Station, according to Dominion maps. The most widespread outages are near Russell Road and in south Old Town.

Got photos or updates? Respond in the comment section below, email Derrick Perkins at dperkins@alextimes.com or tweet us at @AlexTimesNews.

Updated 7:17 p.m.

Dominion Virginia Power is reporting about 76,600 Northern Virginia residents without power as the storm bears down on the region. In total, from North Carolina to Virginia, about 87,800 are in the dark.

Screenshot of power outages locally from Dominion Virginia Power. (Image/Dominion Virginia Power)

Oh and if you’ve got a book due back at Alexandria libraries, anything scheduled for return between now and Thursday is actually due on November 5.

Updated 4:58 p.m. Monday

All Washington, D.C., Metro service has been suspended Tuesday – both rail and bus – as well as DASH and the King Street Trolley.

Updated 4:43 p.m. Monday

Hurricane Sandy has left its first city residents in the dark, with roughly 200 Alexandrians without power hours after the storm began in earnest. The power outages are not concentrated and are scattered throughout the city.

City officials report between seven and eight downed trees, but no injuries have been reported. There hasn’t been any flooding or road closures, and the city government is expected to make an announcement addressing those concerns in the coming hours.

Though the hurricane has moved past the commonwealth and is headed toward New Jersey, the city is preparing for more power outages and increased wind. If the need for emergency shelters arises, local officials will act accordingly.

Updated 3:14 p.m. Monday

With nearly 7,500 flights grounded due to Hurricane Sandy, travel will not be made easier for those leaving from DC-area airports. The Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority announced the cancellation of all flights departing and arriving at Ronald Reagan National Airport and Dulles International Airport until further notice. The travel hubs will remain open, though, and the Airport Authority expects flights to resume once the storm passes.

For homeless residents in the Alexandria area seeking shelter, David’s Place at the Carpenter’s Shelter extended its hours of operation, staying open for 24 hours over the next day. Last night, the shelter welcomed 15 homeless men and women, and has served 27 today, said Kelly Andreae, director of development at the shelter. She expects that number to remain constant as the temperature drops and winds pick up throughout the afternoon and evening.

Updated 1:09 p.m. Monday

While Atlantic City and other New Jersey beaches are pounded by Hurricane Sandy, Alexandria remains in the clear. As the storm moves further north, there have been no reports of flooding, road closures or power outages, and residents have the go ahead to stay in their homes. Mayor Bill Euille and Tony Castrilli, director of communications for the city, made their way to the waterfront and reported “everything is under control.”

Alexandria City Public Schools extend its closures to tomorrow, and City Hall will keep its doors closed as well.

Updated 11:24 a.m. Monday

Though officials urge motorists to stay off the roads through the duration of Hurricane Sandy, parking enforcement at metered or timed areas has been suspended in the city for Monday. Still, drivers illegally parking in handicapped spaces, fire lanes or tow zones will risk fines.

In person absentee voting also was cancelled today and the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce announced it will shut down both Monday and Tuesday.

Water flew off grocery store shelves as residents prepare for Hurricane Sandy. (Susan Braun)

Updated 10:21 a.m. on Monday

As Hurricane Sandy makes a left turn toward the coast of New Jersey, Alexandria hasn’t seen too much action. There are no reports of flooding at this time and evacuation orders have not gone into effect. In addition, there have been no reports of injury or death, and city residents still have full power, said Tony Castrilli, director of communications for the city.

Updated 8:19 a.m. Monday

Dominion Virginia Power reported 2,227 customers without power in North Carolina and Virginia as of Monday morning. About 390 are located just south of Alexandria.

Residents can expect to see six to seven inches of rainfall as Hurricane Sandy hovers over the region, according to the latest NOAA estimates.

Updated 8:52

Add Capital Bikeshare to the list of transit options shuttered tomorrow. The popular bicycle rental service will shut down at 1 a.m. Monday and reopen at a later date.

Updated 8:28 p.m. Sunday

In another twist, Alexandria officials re-closed City Hall tomorrow. Municipal departments, public schools, mass transit and courts will remained locked up Monday, though essential employees are expected to clock in for work. With trash collection suspended, officials urged residents to store and secure waste until the storm passes.

DASH, Metro, VRE and MARC mass transit options are closed tomorrow. Travelers hoping to catch an passenger liner out of either Dulles or National should double-check flight statuses. Officials canceled most Monday flights earlier this evening. Still, the two airports remain open.

Updated 7:48 p.m. Sunday

Alexandria City Hall will remain open tomorrow, Monday, though nonessential public employees can take unscheduled leave. City trash collection – including recyclables, leaves and garbage – will be postponed.

Updated 7:28 p.m. Sunday

WMATA has cancelled service for Monday, several hours after the federal government announced most employees will have the day off. DASH has also cancelled service for Monday.

Our original story follows below:

Officials closed City Hall tomorrow and cancelled school for Alexandria’s children as they urged residents to prepare for Hurricane Sandy’s likely payload of heavy winds and intense rain.

Experts predict the powerful storm will pummel the region between Sunday evening and Tuesday night, showering the metropolitan area with up to seven inches of rain. Wind speeds are expected to reach as high as 60 mph during the storm’s  of the mid-Atlantic early this week.

Though predictions continue to change as the storm bears down, the hurricane likely will leave downed trees, floods and power outages in its wake.

City Manager Rashad Young declared a state of emergency Sunday afternoon and in advance of the storm’s expected arrival and all city-sponsored activities scheduled for Monday were cancelled. Public employees kept busy cleaning storm drains – a tactic designed to prevent flooding – and handing out sand bags throughout Sunday.

Authorities asked residents to clear storm drains and sewer openings, check gutters and downspouts, test sump pumps and relocated furniture from basements in flooding-prone neighborhoods. They recommended stockpiling enough non-perishables - like canned goods – to last three days in case of major power outages. Residents also should squirrel away a gallon of water per person per day.

Emergency supplies, such as medicines, cash, flashlights, batteries, hand-operating can opener and a battery – or otherwise – operated radio, also should be gathered ahead of the storm, officials said. They called on residents to tuck away lawn furniture and decorations to avoid inadvertently creating dangerous projectiles flung by the storm’s winds.

While leaf collection will begin Monday, officials asked residents to refrain from raking leaves into the street. Instead, they directed city dwellers to use leaf collection bags.

The city’s elected officials discussed storm preparations during a Sunday morning conference call with emergency responders.  To report power outages, residents can contact Dominion Virginia Power at 866-366-4357. For downed trees, call the police department’s non-emergency line: 703-746-4444.

Municipalities across the region made similar moves as the storm approached this weekend. In Washington, non-emergency federal officials learned they had Monday off from work. Most area schools will be closed tomorrow and Amtrak shut down service along the Northeast corridor for the day.

While Maryland officials shut down MARC service, WMATA will run as if any other day tomorrow, though authorities warned heavy winds could force them to close above-ground stations.

Helpful links:

Alexandria city government 

NOAA hurricane tips 

Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang

WMATA

Check back tomorrow and Tuesday for continuous updates from Alexandria Times reporters and photographers? Follow @AlexTimesNews and @DerrickTPerkins on Twitter for breaking news. Have a photo or a tip? Send them to dperkins@alextimes.com or mquinn@alextimes.com. 

 

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