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Mayor Gray Closes District Government Monday

Sunday, October 28, 2012
Mayor has declared State of Emergency; preemptively requested a Presidential disaster declaration and is coordinating citywide preparations

Doxie McCoy (EOM) (202) 664-9862; [email protected]
Robyn Johnson (HSEMA) (202) 506-0355; [email protected]
Linda Grant (DPW) (202) 671-2375; [email protected]
John Lisle (DDOT) (202) 486-5838; [email protected]
Alan Heymann (DC Water) (202) 787-2616; [email protected]

(Washington, DC)–Mayor Vincent C. Gray today announced that the District government will be closed Monday, October 29 and said that the District’s agencies and regional, utility and federal partners are preparing the city to weather the effects of Hurricane Sandy.

In a press conference briefing journalists on the city’s preparations for the storm–expected to cause wind and water damage across a wide swath of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast–the Mayor emphasized the serious nature of the approaching storm.

“Let me be clear: this storm is unique, large, dangerous and unlike anything our region has experienced in a very long time,” Mayor Gray said. “We are likely to suffer significant power outages due to fallen trees and other debris, and we may experience significant street flooding. Let me also be clear about this: the District government is ready to meet this challenge.”

Officials have been working through the weekend to ensure the District’s residents, businesses and infrastructure are as ready as possible for the effects of the storm, which are expected to include heavy rain and street flooding, strong winds and power outages, and the potential for storm-surge flooding along the Potomac River and its tributaries.

Forecasters are predicting 4” to 8” of rain to fall between Sunday night and Wednesday, with bursts of rain falling at a rate of 2” per hour. Sustained tropical-storm-force winds of 40-60 miles per hour with gusts up to hurricane strength (75 miles per hour or more) are possible, and duration of the storm’s peak impact will likely be several hours–with conditions expected to deteriorate rapidly during the day tomorrow and the peak of the extreme winds expected between about noon Monday and the early hours of Tuesday morning, with high winds extending well into the day on Tuesday.

“District residents need to shelter in place during the peak of this storm, preferably on the lowest level of their home and as far away as possible from windows and potential falling trees,” Mayor Gray said.


  • DC Public Schools are closed on Monday, October 29, including all after-school programs and athletic events. Principals, teachers and school-based staff who are not essential personnel do not report to school tomorrow. Central-office staff and essential school-based personnel should refer to the DCPS website for updates about whether they will be required to report to work.
  • The District government and the federal government are closed tomorrow.
  • Mayor Gray has declared a state of emergency in the District and has sent President Obama a pre-landfall request for a presidential disaster declaration, which would provide federal assistance to help the District defray the extra costs the storm will impose on the city.
  • DC Water is clearing storm drains citywide.
  • The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is assigning staff and contractors to be ready to collect storm debris starting Monday, October 29, and DPW crews will assist.
  • DPW tow trucks will be deployed as necessary to remove vehicles blocking roadways.
  • DDOT has generators in place at major intersections. If power is disrupted, traffic signals will continue to work, and DDOT traffic control officers will be deployed to direct traffic where necessary.
  • DPW is suspending street cleaning Monday through Wednesday. Bulk garbage collections for Monday and Tuesday will be rescheduled. Also, residents are asked to bag their leaves so they don’t collect in the storm drains and cause flooding.
  • Crews from DC Water and District government agencies are being deployed to assist the residents of Bloomingdale and LeDroit Park, a section of the city that has been especially hard-hit by street flooding due to backed-up storm drains during heavy downpours.

Residents may go to the DC Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency website to get tips to help them prepare their homes and families for the storm. To receive important text messages about the latest information on weather, traffic, closings and more, sign up for ALERT DC at textalert.ema.dc.gov.

DC government agencies will maintain a constant presence throughout the storm on Twitter and other social-media outlets and provide crucial information as conditions develop. Please follow the Mayor (@MayorVinceGray), DPW (@dcdpw), DDOT (@ddotdc) and DC Water (@dcwater) on Twitter for information on Hurricane Sandy response, using #SandyDC as a hashtag.

Tips for Residents

Dealing with Downed Trees
Residents are reminded to stay clear of broken and hanging tree branches, which can fall at any time.

  • Please report any downed tree branches by calling 311.

Residents are also reminded to stay away from downed wires, as they could be energized and electrical contact could be fatal. Report downed wires to Pepco by calling 1.877.PEPCO62

Power and Water Outages
To report a power outage, please call Pepco at 1.877.PEPCO62. Customers may report outages online at pepco.com or download Pepco’s smart phone app, pepco.com/mobileapp to report and track outages. To report a water outage, residents can call DC Water at (202) 612-3400.

Motorists are reminded to treat dark intersections as four-way stops and to avoid driving through standing water.