The Takoma Voice will update this page as the storm develops. Report fallen trees to Takoma Park Public Works at 301 891-7633. They are open Monday Oct. 29 until 5:00. After hours, call the police dispatch at 301 270-1100.
OCTOBER 29, 10:00 PM: The online PEPCO outage map shows 1142 customers without power across a large swath of Takoma Park, mainly in Wards 3, 2 and parts of 6. There are also pockets of power-loss scattered across the city in other wards, according to the interactive map. Affected are: Allegheny, Cockerille, Glenside, Willow, Poplar, Flower near Sligo Creek Parkway, Glenside (where PEPCO reports power lines down), Mississippi, and Greenwood Avenues. One source confirms that power is out on Gude Ave. Another confirms outages on Allegheny and Cockerille Avenues.
Hickory Ave. resident Jennifer Cutting reported that her power went out at 5:30 PM, was restored for a few hours, but went out again “in the middle of Foyles War,” a television program. She reports PEPCO told her on the phone that around “1,050 people lost power in our zip code alone, but that there were 5,000 more people without power in Wheaton, MD.” The implication was that, so far, Takoma Park is a lower priority than more heavily affected areas.
Cutting said when the power when out the second time she pulled her Cornish pastie stash from the freezer to cook and serve to her household and neighbors, who contributed a bottle of wine.
OCTOBER 29, 3:00 PM: Some Takoma Park businesses have closed, Takoma Metro station is closed, and the Takoma Park Community Center is closed. City of Takoma Park offices will remain closed on Tuesday, October 30.
The US Postal Service is delivering mail, however.
Wind gusts grew more powerful around 1:00 PM, the strongest predicted for Monday night. So far the Voice has had no reports of fallen trees, only a few small dead branches that landed on one resident’s deck.
There was a “partial outage” on Willow Ave affecting only “half a house.” PEPCO workers said it may have been caused by branches rubbing against the resident’s power lines.
Ace Hardware, the S&A Bead Store, Video Americain, were some of the Old Town stores still open mid-afternoon. The Magic Carpet was closed and Bread and Chocolate planned to close by 2:00.
OCTOBER 28: “Frankenstorm” is the media-hyped name of the storm beginning to wet the ground and stir branches in Takoma Park this Sunday evening. It has been called a “hybrid” storm, as it “merges” with a nor’easter coming from the north and another storm-front moving in from the west.
Not exactly, according to meteorologist Matt Wintz. “In this case, 3 storms aren’t merging to form a superstorm. It sounds glamorous, but it’s not true.”
Three rare circumstances are strengthening this already strong storm, he says.
It is a hurricane aimed at the central Atlantic, a rarity. The second rarity is the cold air coming in behind the cold front that pushed through the east last week.
A meeting of cold and warm air often creates storms. “Sandy is pulling in the cold air, creating an even more potent storm,” says Wintz.
The third rarity is an unusually powerful jet stream, “diving into this storm only adding to the mix and helping to strengthen the storm.”
“If you think of the jetstream and the cold fronts and warm fronts which ride along it as a road and hurricane Sandy as a train–everything moving along the road has to stop and wait for the train to pass, because its such a powerful storm. If [the cold front] doesn’t wait . . . it’ll get sucked up or ‘hit’ by the train and absorbed”
“So 3 storms aren’t merging at all,” Says Wintz. “You can look at a weather map and it’d be tough to pick out more than one storm because [Sandy is] so massive and is taking all the energy from the atmosphere.”
An October 28, 11:00 PM National Weather Service (NWS) update said Sandy, now about 270 miles out to sea southeast of Cape Hatteras, NC, has turned to the north and is moving at 35 MPH with winds up to 75 MPH.
Wind speeds in Takoma Park at 11:PM were 15 MPH. The city’s overnight forecast is for winds to pick up to 20-26 MPH with gusts as high as 40. Precipitation could be between a quarter and a half inch. Monday rain could be heavy at times with a north wind of 30-39 MPH, gusts as high as 65 MPH. New precipitation amounts between 2 and 3 inches possible.
OCTOBER 26: Hurricane Sandy is forecasted to hit Takoma Park – or pass nearby. City police issued a warning saying that meteorologists expect a rare mix of three big merging weather systems. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecaster Jim Cisco, who coined the nickname Frankenstorm, said: “We don’t have many modern precedents for what the models are suggesting.”
The Takoma Voice will be covering storm-related events as they occur in the city.
Government forecasters said there is a 90 percent chance – up from 60 percent two days earlier – that the east will get pounded. “It’s almost a week-long, five-day, six-day event,” he said from a NOAA forecast center in College Park, Md. “It’s going to be a widespread, serious storm.”
The effects of a hurricane or tropical storm can be far-reaching. Areas impacted directly by a hurricane or tropical storm can be affected by high winds and flooding, especially along waterways and in low-lying areas. Fringe areas of these storms are vulnerable to tornadoes and in-land flooding caused by heavy rain.
A hurricane watch is issued if there is a threat of hurricane conditions within 24-36 hours. A warning is issued when hurricane conditions are expected in a specified area in 24 hours or less. Hurricane conditions include winds of 74 miles per hour (64 knots) or greater, and/or dangerously high tides and waves. Actions to protect life and property should begin immediately when the warning is issued.
Hurricane Preparedness Tips
● Keep flashlights and battery-powered radios with extra batteries on hand, along with a basic first aid kit, emergency food and water, and a non-electric can opener.
● Listen to the radio or television for hurricane progress reports.
● Bring in outdoor objects such as lawn furniture, toys and garden tools; or anchor objects that cannot be brought inside but that could be wind-tossed.
● Remove outdoor objects such as lawn furniture, toys and garden tools; or anchor objects that cannot be brought inside but that could be wind-tossed.
● Clean out gutters.
● Turn the refrigerator and freezer to the coldest setting in anticipation of a power outage. Open the door only when necessary and close quickly.
● Refrain from putting out trash cans the night before the regular pickup.
During Power Outages
● Keep a sufficient supply of flashlights and extra batteries on hand to provide lighting during power outages.
● Avoid using candles for lighting. Use a battery-powered flashlight.
● Never use a candle when fueling equipment such as a kerosene heater or lantern, since the candle flame can ignite fumes from the fuel.
● In anticipation of possible flooding, residents are encouraged to store valuables and personal papers in a waterproof container; and avoid areas subject to flooding, including low spots, canals and streams. Do not attempt to drive over a flooded road – you can be stranded or trapped. The depth of the water and the condition of the road is not always obvious.
Night Time Safety
● Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers, downed wires and other hazards.
● For downed trees on public property, residents should call the Police non-emergency number at 301-270-1100. To report trees that have fallen on utility lines, contact the local utility companies. “Hot” wires or sparking wires, especially those across roadways, may be reported by calling 9-1-1.
● Trees that have fallen on private property are the responsibility of the property owner. The County’s Office of Consumer Protection advises homeowners to deal with established businesses only, and to call Consumer Protection first to check on a business complaint record. Consumer Protection can be reached at 240-777-3636.