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Hurricane Irene is expected to climb up the Eastern seaboard and reach the D.C. metropolitan area by Saturday night.  If Irene follows the forecasted trajectory the category three storm will not only be the first hurricane to touch land in three years but the second natural disaster in the area in less than a week following Tuesday’s rare 5.8 earthquake.

“This will not just be a coastal storm,” said Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate in a conference call to the news media. “We can see impacts well inland both from winds that can cause widespread power outages as trees fall down but also flooding.”

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Below are some hurricane tips issued by FEMA on how to stay safe in if the hurricane makes landfall in the DC area.

Before a Hurricane

To prepare for a hurricane, you should take the following measures:

  • Make plans to secure your property. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with 5/8” marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install. Tape does not prevent windows from breaking.
  • Install straps or additional clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure. This will reduce roof damage.
  • Be sure trees and shrubs around your home are well trimmed.
  • Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
  • Determine how and where to secure your boat.
  • Consider building a safe room.

During a Hurricane

If a hurricane is likely in your area, you should:

  • Listen to the radio or TV for information.
  • Secure your home, close storm shutters, and secure outdoor objects or bring them indoors.
  • Turn off utilities if instructed to do so. Otherwise, turn the refrigerator thermostat to its coldest setting and keep its doors closed.
  • Turn off propane tanks.· Avoid using the phone, except for serious emergencies.
  • Move your boat if time permits.
  • Ensure a supply of water for sanitary purposes such as cleaning and flushing toilets. Fill the bathtub and other large containers with water.

You should evacuate under the following conditions:

  • If you are directed by local authorities to do so. Be sure to follow their instructions.

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