Montgomery County In Full Sandy Preparation Mode
(UPDATE: Sunday, 6:25 p.m.) Montgomery County government offices will be closed on Monday, County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) announced this evening. Emergency personnel must report to work. (UPDATE: Sunday, 5:45 p.m.) The Federal Government is closed on Monday. Non-emergency Federal employees will be granted excused absences. (UPDATE: Sunday, 2:50 p.m.) Montgomery County Public Schools will be closed on Monday and Tuesday because of Hurricane Sandy, which is expected to make landfall near South New Jersey on Monday evening. MCPS made the announcement this afternoon. All activities in school buildings are cancelled and administrative offices are closed on Monday. Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) announced today that all early voting centers will be closed on Monday. The Montgomery County Division of Solid Waste Services will not be making collections on Monday or Tuesday. All collections will be two days later than scheduled, including scheduled Thursday and Friday collections now on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. (Saturday, 12:45 p.m.) The National Weather Service expects Sandy to make landfall in Southern New Jersey on Monday evening, meaning Montgomery County officials are bracing for the worst of the wind, rain and flooding Monday and Tuesday. In a conference call this morning, the County Emergency Management Group ran through the preparation and anticipated response of a number of utilities and government agencies. Pepco says there is the possibility for tens our even hundreds of thousands of power outages. A summary of today's conference call, as provided by the Bethesda Chevy Chase Regional Services Center, is after the jump. Photo via National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Weather Service Sandy is now a tropical storm located 700 miles south of Montgomery County. The forecast anticipates the storm to continue on a NE track. When it is off the Virginia / North Carolina coast it will take a hard left turn and come aboard in Southern NJ Monday evening. A flood watch has been issued for Montgomery County late Sunday through Tuesday morning. The forecast calls for four eight inches of rain. We could see a rise on Potomac River between Wednesday and Friday. Strong winds likely will result in downed trees and power lines with Monday and Tuesday worst time frame. This will be a long duration event with 24 - 48 hours of winds in excess of 40 mph. Anticipate additional watches / warnings coming over next day. PEPCO Starting to station crews Sunday night. Requested 2,500 additional overhead line crews. Have secured 500 crews already. Completed some sub-transmission work ahead of time. Will activate their emergency operations center Sunday morning. Police Working with Fire and Rescue on a combined IMT. Will increase patrol numbers for Monday and can scale up by adding non-patrol officers if needed. Specialty vehicles have been requested from the National Guard through Fire and Rescue to operate in high water. Will have a representative work with Fire and Rescue to help with swift water teams. Will increase staff at the emergency communication center. Fire and Rescue Increase staff starting on Monday morning, including staff at ECC. Staff have been told to prepare to possibly work for 72 hours. DOT Will mobilize crews mid-to-late day Sunday. Currently working on acquiring 30 more tree contractors to bring the number to 80. Will have crews maintaining open storm drains during event. Lot of loose wood remains on trees from Derecho. Advise everyone to take caution if out during and after the event. Currently working with Department of Environmental Protection on debris staging areas. Will work with County Executives Office if there is a need to activate the debris management contract. Staff is on notice for Transit, Traffic, and Parking DGS Have notified contractors to remove signs and other equipment that could become projectiles. Facilities staff is on standby. Four generators will be available and a tech will be on-site to help with generator failures. However, it will be important to be strategic about where and when generators are deployed. HHS Two shelter locations White Oak and Germantown will likely not need to mobilize until Monday afternoon. If the state staffs shelters, HHS may need to prepare to provide staff. That would likely take place on Monday. Staff has been contacting group homes and long-term care facilities to advise them to prepare. PIO / 311 311 has changed its activation schedule and will now open at 6:00 am Monday, and staff is prepared to go 24/7 until end of storm. PIO will sending out another release today. WSSC Still in process of filling distribution system. DEP Continuing to monitor rainfall amounts, and will mobilize when rainfall amounts increase. Anticipate dam watch starting Monday. FINANCE Project code guidance will be posted to WebEOC on Sunday for event-related use on County employees timecards and for operating purchases. Guidance provided in previous emergencies regarding who to call about downed trees on public property - 311 vs. 911 under certain circumstances - will also be posted to WebEOC. OEMHS EOC activation time not yet determined. Looking probable for an early Monday morning activation.