The Cook Advisory
An Update from Braddock District Supervisor John C. Cook
October 26, 2012
Preparing for Hurricane Sandy
While there is still uncertainty surrounding the exact track and timing of Hurricane Sandy, according to the National Weather Service, the most likely timeframe of impact will be Sunday and Monday. During this time, strong winds and locally heavy rainfall will be possible along and east of Interstate 95. Currently, the National Weather Service says the most likely scenario for our area right now is a slow, long-lasting system with tropical storm winds, heavy rain/flooding and moderate tidal flooding. However, they will not have a definitive scenario until at least Saturday.
But while it may be too early to identify the storm's path and impacts, it's never too early to get ready, especially with the uncertainty surrounding this storm. There are a few things you can do now in advance of the storm:
- Sign up for the County's Community Emergency Alert Network text/email updates that will provide weather alerts and other critical information.
- Check back for updates on the County Emergency Information Blog
- If you use social media then follow the County on Facebook
- Make sure you have emergency supplies such as extra water and food, as well as additional batteries for flashlights and radios.
- It's Fall and trees are showing off their reds and oranges, but many leaves have hit the ground. Keep storm drains clear in case we receive inches of rain.
- If you happen to live in an area that is prone to flooding, be prepared to relocate your family and vehicle before flood waters have an impact. In past events, there has been little warning once the water begins to rise.
Dominion Prepares for Hurricane Sandy
With Hurricane Sandy approaching, Dominion Virginia Power is preparing to respond quickly, as conditions merit. The company has requested additional crews from other states to supplement its restoration workforce. The company is asking its customers to take steps to brace for the storm.
"We are adapting our plans to ensure we have crews and equipment ready for extended duty when and where they are needed," said Rodney Blevins, Vice President-Distribution Operations. "This hurricane will bring dangerous conditions, and its effects will be felt for days along much of the East Coast. We urge our customers to monitor local weather forecasts for changing conditions in order to remain safe."
Safety tips and alerts are available through social media by clicking on these links , and on the company's website, www.dom.com.
The company reminds its customers to call toll free 1-866-DOM-HELP (1-866-366-4357) in the event of outages or downed lines. Customers may also report an outage through the company's mobile website at www.dom.com by typing in the phone number or account number on record with the company and the last four digits of their Social Security number, PIN or federal tax ID number.
Dominion urges its customers to pay attention to weather reports and to take these common-sense steps to prepare for possible outages:
- Before the storm arrives, establish an online account with Dominion at www.dom.com (search: MYA) so you can easily report an outage if it occurs and obtain outage updates online without having to call in (search: reporting outages)
- Also be sure the telephone number and other information related to your account are up to date. This includes providing a cell phone number if that is the phone you would use to report an outage or other problem. This simple step will ensure immediate access of your account for faster reporting. Phone numbers can be updated online or by calling our special phone number update line at 1-800-222-0401.
- Assemble emergency supplies such as water, flashlights, radios, extra batteries, medicine, cash and other critical items in an emergency kit.
- Have a plan for how you and your family will stay safe, how you will evacuate if necessary and where you might go. Also consider who else you might need to check on during an emergency.
- Stay informed during the emergency through news reports and official information.
- Check out the hurricane evacuation guidelines available at the Virginia Department of Transportation's website: http://www.virginiadot.org/travel/hurricane_default.asp. Also see the information on the Virginia Department of Emergency Management's website at: http://www.vaemergency.com/readyvirginia/stayinformed/hurricanes.
During the storm, if electricity is interrupted:
- Call Dominion's toll-free service number at 1-866-DOM-HELP (1-866-366-4357) or go to www.dom.com. The automated reporting system provides fastest access. Please have your account number or the phone number that is listed on your account ready so you can move through the automated system to report your outage or receive an update.
- If you experience an outage, report it and then turn off major appliances such as heat pumps, water heaters and stoves. Unplug other appliances such as TVs, stereos, microwaves and computers. This will help protect the appliances and prevent possible overloads to the company's system when power is restored. Leave one lamp or light on so you will be able to recognize when power is restored.
- If using portable or camp-type stoves or lanterns for cooking and lighting, ensure that the area is adequately ventilated.
After the storm
- Listen to your local radio station on your car or battery-powered radio for regular news and weather updates. Don't rely on your neighbors to report your outage. Call Dominion at 1-866-DOM-HELP (1-866-366-4357) or go to www.dom.com.
- Stay away from fallen wires, flooded areas and debris. Treat all fallen wires and anything touching them as though they are energized.
- Follow safe operating procedures for generators. Never operate one inside your home or in an enclosed space, such as a garage.
- Follow safe operating procedures for electric generators. Never operate one inside your home or in an enclosed space, such as a garage. Do not hook them directly to the electrical system of your home. Electricity could flow backwards onto our power lines and endanger repair crews. The correct, safe technique is to plug directly into the generator with proper-sized extension cords.
- Visually inspect the area around your electricity meter. If you detect or suspect any damage, call us at 1-866-DOM-HELP.
Some useful links for the public and media during storms: