News: Hurricane Sandy moves on; Federal offices in DC will resume operations Wednesday
Story by Joseph P Cirone
WASHINGTON - Hurricane Sandy has moved into the Pittsburgh area and its effects in the nation’s capital are coming to an end. Federal offices in the D.C. area will reopen Wednesday.
The U.S. Office of Personnel Management announced that federal offices will resume normal operations tomorrow. Federal workers may request unscheduled leave or do telework.
Navy Capt. Anthony T. Calandra, commander of Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, announced that the southwest D.C. military base will follow OPM guidance; continue recovery efforts and return to normal operations as well.
At 3 p.m., weather forecasters predicted that Sandy will not impact the nation’s capital further, with the exception of lingering light showers, which will end in the next day and leave behind perhaps another quarter-of-an-inch or less. High winds are not expected.
The potential for flooding exists and is expected to result in moderate coastal flooding, the forecasters said.
“Tidal anomalies of three to four feet will impact the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers. Winds from the south will continue to keep water levels elevated for the next several days,” said one meteorologist. “The next high tides at the Washington Channel are 9:19 p.m. tonight and 9:48 a.m., tomorrow.”
Air temperatures are forecast to be in the mid-40s today and fall to the upper 30s overnight. With the above freezing temperature, freezing of rainwater on roadways, parking lots and sidewalks at JBAB is not likely.
JBAB rode the Hurricane well
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, which comprised the base’s Incident Management Team, continued to coordinating efforts at the base throughout the day.
Beginning at first light, DoD police and firefighters from the JBAB-based Naval District Washington Fire and Emergency Services Central Battalion, joined members of JBAB’s Public Works Department and others to perform a comprehensive damage assessment and begin restoration efforts to ensure the base remained fully operational and able to perform its national security, homeland security, presidential and ceremonial support missions.
Additionally, throughout the storm and today, JBAB offered emergency assistance (Defense Support to Civil Authorities) to the D.C. government and its neighbors in D.C.’s Ward 8, represented by Councilman Marion Barry and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton.
“Overall, JBAB rode the storm well,” Calandra reported. “There was some minor damage to facilities, mostly missing roof tiles or detached gutters and two dozen downed trees and road signs.”
There were reports of leaky roofs, windows and doors in some housing areas, which were reported and are being addressed by the non-governmental housing partners responsible.
Throughout the buildup to the storm and concluding with its aftermath, JBAB was in contact with a large number of its resident families and unaccompanied personnel, online.
“Thanks for all your help and support to the families and workers on JBAB,” wrote one person, expressing appreciation for JBAB’s Incident Management Team and its leadership.
“Thanks for all the updates and answers!”
“We really appreciate this base service.”
“I know our family can't thank you enough for keeping us informed before during and after the storm.”
“It is good to know that [JBAB] is committed to providing prompt and correct information as soon as possible,” were some of the many comments residents sent electronically.
News and information provided to residents and off-base workers helped make a difference in the planning and execution of plans by some.
“Thanks so much for staying involved during the storm. The way you maintained information flow throughout was so helpful to me and my family! We adjusted plans and prep work based on your posts on a number of occasions and could not be more grateful for the excellent, excellent work,” another person wrote.
Halloween fun is still on
Earlier this afternoon, Calandra made the decision that plans for Halloween activities at the base, for the benefit of the many children living there, would continue as planned. “That includes our parade and trick or treating,” he said.
To help ensure the safety for children, especially when they are crossing streets, JBAB DoD Police Sgt. Ana Tarango, organized parents and other volunteers to augment police during trick-or-treat activities.
The adults, who have been designated as “the Pumpkin Patrol,” will serve as crossing guards, equipped with flashlights and reflective vests after undergoing some basic training before being pressed into service, Tarango said. “This is especially important when the sun goes down and the children in costumes might not be as easy to see,” she said.
Other adult volunteers and children will assist in checking the safety of candy and getting McGruff, The Crime Dog, around the base streets, as the large white dog with black spots, has challenges walking correctly on its hind legs for long periods of time, Tarango reported.
After a well-deserved night’s sleep, members of JBAB’s Incident Management Team will return to work and be joined by colleagues and others who are coming to work for the first time this week – some perhaps dressed as goblins, pirates, sailors, airmen, soldiers, Coast Guardsmen and Marines. However they are dressed, they will return to a base that is ready to resume normal operations, much of it vital to the nation and the world.