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“The platelet supply is at grave risk for shortage,” said Mike Baisey, a spokesman for the Red Cross’ Greater Chesapeake and Potomac Blood Services Region, which includes the District, most of Maryland, Northern Virginia and a small part of Pennsylvania.

Mr. Baisey said the organization lost two days of collections at the weekend when the storm closed nearly all its collection operations and then lost a third day Wednesday when current storms did the same thing.

Since platelets last only five days, the supply could be depleted by the end of the week if the Red Cross does not get more donors. He said his group is trying to import platelets from other regions, but fears the weather could delay their arrival.

Mr. Baisey said the Red Cross is urging eligible platelet donors to call 800/272-2123 to set up an appointment.

Whole-blood donations also have been affected by the storm, and the Red Cross needs more donations, particularly from persons with Type O and B blood, he said.

“We absolutely need people to donate blood,” Mr. Baisey said.

Belinda Buescher, public information officer for the Fairfax County Department of Family Services, was on standby Wednesday waiting to see whether her services were needed should the county have decided it needed to open an emergency shelter for people whose homes may have been damaged or lost power.

The county opened two after the weekend storm and Ms. Buescher was called to work at one. But she said her Alexandria street was impassible and she wouldn’t have been able to get to the shelter without the help of a pair of volunteers who drove her there in an SUV.

She’d need the same type of assistance if she was called upon to work at a shelter again.

“Unless it’s within walking distance,” she said.