NOAA officials brief Mikulski on impending storm -- Gazette.Net


Related story: Montgomery County Public Schools closed as region prepares for Hurricane Sandy

Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D) looked at a radar on weather forecaster Dan Petersen’s computer screen Sunday as he said he has never seen a hurricane like the impending Hurricane Sandy bring this much snow.

“This is amazing,” Petersen said.

“It’s actually creepy,” Mikulski replied to sounds of laughter. “It’s like a [Steven] Spielberg movie.”

Mikulski talked to forecasters like Petersen at the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration’s Center For Weather and Climate Prediction in College Park as she tried to gauge the severity of what’s coming and prepare for the aftermath. The hurricane is projected to hit the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area on Monday and bring high winds, heavy rains and potential snow in western Maryland.

Mikulski said she has faith in the state’s emergency management personnel, but she is concerned about flooding in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area from the Potomac River. She said there is a NOAA weather official stationed at the Maryland Emergency Management Agency office in Reisterstown.

“This will have a high weather impact and an enormous high economic impact,” Mikulski said.

At the Greenway Center Safeway in Greenbelt, Rohan Davey’s cart was filled with vegetables, fruit and toilet paper. Davey, of Lanham, a facilities coordinator at Lanham Christian School, said he saw some parents shopping alongside him who asked him questions about if school will open. He said the school goes according to Prince George’s County Public Schools, which was still scheduled to open Monday as of Sunday afternoon.

“I’m also thinking about drainage issues and the aftermath [and] once it goes away how that’s going to affect school attendance,” Davey said.

Jennifer Goltz of Hyattsville stocked up on canned foods inside the Greenway Center Safeway.

“We have a gas stove so we can cook,” Goltz said. “If we lose power we won’t be able to refrigerate.”

Goltz said she is most concerned about the possibilities for power outages.

“You don’t really know what’s going to happen,” Goltz said. “But you got to be prepared.”

Clay Anderson, a Pepco spokesman, said they have a commitment of 1,400 additional crews coming to the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area from states such as Alabama and Louisiana to help restore power. Anderson said they will be staged at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds in Gaithersburg. Anderson said he could not say yet how many people could potentially be without power and for how long.

“We do expect outages but until we start to see the magnitude of the storm we won’t be able to proejct,” Anderson said. “We do expect significant outages.”