News: Hurricane Sandy doubles in speed; Federal offices in DC area closed Tuesday
Story by Joseph P Cirone
WASHINGTON - Hurricane Sandy has doubled in forward moving speed, with a maximum sustained wind of 90 mph. Federal offices in the D.C. area will remain closed Tuesday.
Following the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s decision to keep federal offices closed, Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling will remain closed for all but emergency essential personnel.
This afternoon, Hurricane Sandy was located approximately 220 miles east of the nation’s capital and its speed increased from 14 to 28 mph while moving northwesterly. As a result of its increased speed, Sandy is forecast to impact the southern New Jersey this evening; ahead of earlier projections.
Non-essential military, civilian and contractor personnel and their families are urged to remain at home; off the roads and safe, according to JBAB commander, Navy Capt. Anthony T. Calandra.
Calandra, along with Air Force Col. Michael Saunders, JBAB vice commander; JBAB Emergency Manager Sigmund Evans and other members of the JBAB Emergency Operations Center staff have been coordinating efforts at this base throughout the day and will continue until the emergency situation has subsided.
Calandra said, “Defense Boulevard is closed between Boundary Drive [DIA Access Road] and Thomas Road, due to minor and expected flooding. Portions of Robbins Road, behind Enterprise Hall, are also closed.”
High winds overnight
Sandy has increased its impact in the D.C. area this afternoon, after 2 p.m. Winds are forecast to continue increasing throughout the afternoon, evening and overnight.
Weather forecasters predict the maximum wind intensity will be felt between 7 p.m. tonight and 2 a.m. Tuesday, while less intense wind conditions will be felt throughout the entire period between 6 p.m. tonight and 6 a.m. Tuesday. Sustained winds of 30-55 mph with gusts of 60-70 mph are forecast.
This afternoon, between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m., wind gusts in Montgomery County, Md. reached 68 mph; 57 mph in Lexington Park, Md. (St. Mary’s County); 48 mph in both Laurel, Md. and Loudon County, Va. and 47 mph at Regan National Airport, across the river from JBAB. In D.C.’s upper atmosphere near 1,000 feet above ground, winds of 80 mph have been recorded.
The total rainfall amount is expected to be five to ten inches in the nation’s capital, falling at a rate of approximately one-half to one inch per hour, a forecaster estimated. Baltimore, Md. is expected to have a total rainfall amount of 10-12 inches.
Flooding expected Wednesday
Flooding in low lying areas is expected near D.C.’s waterfront along Maine Avenue and the Alexandria, Va. waterfront along the Potomac River.
Coastal flooding will likely result as Sandy moves to the north and west over the next 12 hours and push water upstream in the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers. That will be followed by a shift in the winds to the southwest, which will return the water back downstream, forecasters said.
High tide occurs tomorrow at 9:08 a.m. at Maine Ave, with an expected two-four foot storm surge and a three foot astronomical tide. High tide occurs again at 9:19 p.m. in that area.
For the Potomac River, flooding is expected upstream near Wisconsin Avenue at about 7 p.m. Wednesday, at about 10 feet, forecasters predict.
Flood waters are expected to come down the Potomac River toward Fort McNair, JBAB and the Naval Research Laboratory on Wednesday. The Georgetown area is expected to be in a major flood stage late Wednesday, a forecaster stated.
By 9:54 p.m. the area near Constitution Avenue and Maine Ave, by the Tidal Basin is expected to be affected by flooding.
While JBAB leaders have made plans in the event that flooding causes a need to open a shelter on base, Calandra said, “We had about 12 feet of sea wall remaining at high tide this morning, so water coming over the wall seems unlikely.”
In addition to an on-base shelter location, should it be needed, JBAB residents can utilize a nearby shelter established by the D.C. government. The shelter is located at the Bald Eagle Recreation Center, 100 Joliet St., SW in Ward 8.
Winds are expected to lessen Tuesday to 30-40 mph with gusts to 50 mph, with 25-35 mph with gusts to 40 mph winds by 6 p.m., dropping to 10-20 mph later that evening.
Power outages rare; Crews keeping pace
Electric utility providers report some outages in the area, emphasizing that they have been able to keep up with the demand for restorative services so far. All available electric utility crews east of the Rockies have been committed to recovery from the storm, according to one utility representative.
This afternoon, the Barry Farms neighborhood near JBAB had some 50 power customers affected by the storm. “Wind is really picking up, but nothing has broken and there are no power outages on base,” Calandra reported.
JBAB’s EOC continues to coordinate emergency response and storm recovery efforts, as well as maintain communications with the Naval District Washington Regional Operations Center and other emergency command centers, as needed.
JBAB Public Works, Military and Family Support Services, Operations Department (including Security Services and Emergency Management elements) and the JBAB-based Central Battalion of the NDW Fire and Emergency Services Department are among the departments that have personnel dedicated to mitigating, responding to and recovering from the storm and its effects.
JBAB Public Affairs will provide news and information, as available, on www.Facebook.com/jointbase and www.Twitter.com/jointbase, as well as respond to posts to its Facebook timeline/wall or Twitter site, which include #jbabdc in the message.