Area continues to brace for Hurricane Sandy; high winds expected to whip up later today
Posted: October 30, 2012
The Winchester Star
WINCHESTER — The area continued to brace itself Monday for the worst of Hurricane Sandy, with wind and rain from the Category I storm expected to intensify overnight.
People braved a cold, steady downpour Monday to get gasoline for their generators and groceries for their pantries. Shoppers, however, reported D cell batteries in short supply.
“The water shelf is pretty bare,” said Greg Fauver, owner of Gore Grocery on Gore Road in Frederick County.
Rocky Lockridge was at the store Monday afternoon filling up three five-gallon gas cans for his generator.
“I know the power is going to go out,” Lockridge said.
And it did flicker out for a moment or two, but then came back on.
On Monday, the City of Winchester activated its Emergency Operations Center in preparation for the hurricane.
The center remained open through the night.
The city also set up an Information Call Center for citizens to call for non-emergencies at 540-545-4738 or 540-545-4737. People who have questions should call these numbers so that the Emergency Call Center isn’t saturated with non-emergency calls.
If needed, Frederick County will open a primary emergency shelter at James Wood Middle School at 1313 Amherst St., but opening the shelter depends on several circumstances, including the severity of the storm and projected length of power outages, according to Chester Lauck of the Frederick County Fire and Rescue Association.
Later in the day Monday, Lauck said the county will make a decision this morning on whether or not to open an emergency shelter.
Winchester planned to open a shelter at 11:30 p.m. Monday in the Active Living Center at Jim Barnett Park for anyone without power.
For anyone in the area who needs medical care, Winchester Medical Center will not be significantly affected by any potential power outages, according to hospital spokesperson Carol Weare.
In an email sent Monday, Weare wrote that WMC is able to completely run on emergency power and that the hospital’s backup power and generators are checked on a regular basis to ensure they will work properly if needed.
In the event of a major loss of power, Body Renew Fitness in Delco Plaza and Body Renew Fitness at the Sportsplex in Kernstown will open their shower facilities to the community at no charge — as long as those businesses have electricity. Valley Health Wellness & Fitness Center at the medical center plans to open today at 10 a.m. The Kidz Zone there will not open until 3 p.m. today.
For more information, call the Delco Plaza facility at 540-450-0700 or the Sportsplex facility at 540-869-0100.
The U.S. Postal service is advising customers that normal service operations could be interrupted by the storm.
Storm updates will be available on the Frederick County Fire and Rescue Association’s Facebook page, its Twitter account @fredcoem10 and Channel 16.
The City of Winchester is posting weather-related updates on its website, winchesterva.gov and emergency.winchester.va.gov/, and on its Facebook and Twitter pages, among others. To sign up for DeltAlert, the city’s emergency alert system, go to the city’s website and click on the DeltAlert button.
Val Van Meter of the Winchester Star contributed to this story.
— Contact Matt Armstrong at email@example.com