WASHINGTON - For the first time in two and a half years, Mayor Muriel Bowser has declared a state of emergency in the District of Columbia as the city prepares for possible heavy rain and potentially severe flooding from Hurricane Florence.
"We know that there will be flooding, heavy rain, wind and likely power outages," said Bowser. "So given that we know this already, we want residents to prepare accordingly."
Mayor Bowser advises that District residents and visitors should:
- Sign up for alerts at alertdc.dc.gov. AlertDC is your personal connection to real-time updates and instructions to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your neighborhood.
- Encourage family and friends in the storm's path to listen to officials and have a plan on how you will communicate once the storm passes.
- Replenish your emergency supply kit, especially if you have dietary or medical needs. For a list of items you need, visit ready.dc.gov/kit.
- If you have access and/or functional needs, take steps to prepare in advance, including informing your support network of your emergency supplies and planning for your critical needs, such as transportation, power, and communications.
- Monitor local radio or TV stations for updated emergency information.
- Clean out your home's gutters and empty out your rain barrels.
- Contact DC Water at (202) 612-3400 to report any clogged sewer basins and clean out any trash or litter around sewer basins.
- Follow HSEMA's Twitter and Facebook for updated information from the District on potential impacts.
"Make sure your cellphones, mobile devices are charged," said D.C. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency Chris Rodriguez. "Make sure you have cash on hand. Your prescriptions are up to date and full through the end of next week. Take an inventory of items that you need to rely on for electricity, including personal medical equipment."
Authorities are expecting possible power outages.
"Our in-house crews are prepared to address any downed trees, tree limbs that are potentially impacting power lines," said District Department of Transportation Director Jeff Marootian. "We will work very closely with our colleagues at Pepco to address those types of emergencies."
Officials are also warning of submerged roadways and high water.
"Just six inches of moving water can knock you down, and one foot of moving water can sweep a vehicle away and potentially putting first responders at risk of trying to rescue you," said Rodriguez.
Metro said it's planning to maintain normal service throughout if possible.
"In our underground tunnels, we have 58 pumps that can pump 50,000 gallons of water an hour," said Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld. "So we are exercising all of those pumps right now. We will have mechanics standing on call if there is any issues during the event."
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