- The Washington Times - Monday, October 29, 2012

The D.C. area remained largely shuttered for a second day in anticipation of what weather officials call an unprecedented storm system barreling along the entire East Coast.

Schools remained dark, Metro service stayed suspended, and federal and local governments were closed Tuesday as the brunt of Hurricane Sandy punished the Mid-Atlantic region with “low-grade hurricane and non-tropical storm force winds,” which could stay through the weekend.

“We really will not see a calm day the rest of the week,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Greg Schoor.

“This is not like one line of thunderstorms,” he added. “This is long-lived, hour upon hour.”

Hurricane Sandy made landfall Monday night and is predicted to dump close to a foot of rain in the Mid-Atlantic region and heavy snow in the mountains of the West Virginia panhandle by Tuesday night.

Along the New Jersey coast and in New York City, high water flooded streets and homes ahead of the storm’s peak.

Sandy followed a path meteorologists predicted, reaching the southern New Jersey coast and heading north, leaving a trail of high winds and harsh rain in its wake.

Rather than losing strength as it hits the beaches, Mr. Schoor explained, the system was predicted to undergo “an unprecedented transition.”

“Because it’s so late in the year, the cold air coming in from behind, it’s going to turn into more of what a nor’easter would be,” Mr. Schoor said, referring to wintry and brutal East Coast storms caused by cold air blowing from the Atlantic Ocean. “Typically this happens this time of year, you start to get these systems, there’s just not rain associated with it.”

Residents should start to see a break in the weather on Wednesday, Mr. Schoor said.

“The sun will start to peek through … but it will still be mostly cloudy,” he said, adding that because the storm covers “such a huge area of real estate, it could still be breezy, even if it’s several hundred miles away.”

A break in the weather should help with the cleanup, but officials warned it could be days before power is restored to the thousands of residents left in the dark.

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley said that Pepco and BGE — the state’s two largest utilities — have brought in extra crews to help assess damage and restore power after the storm, but “those crews can’t go up in those bucket trucks in 60-mile-an-hour winds, so this is going to be a long haul.

“The days ahead are going to be very difficult,” he said.

Virginia’s state executive offices were closed Monday, and Gov. Bob McDonnell warned residents Monday afternoon that the worst was still to come from Hurricane Sandy — especially in Northern Virginia, where the storm’s effects are supposed to grow stronger by Tuesday morning.

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