- The Washington Times - Monday, October 29, 2012

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell told residents Monday afternoon that the worst was still to come from Hurricane Sandy — especially in Northern Virginia, where Sandy’s effects are supposed to grow stronger by Tuesday morning.

“We’re concerned about Northern Virginia, where the wind gusts could be … 70 miles per hour or more,” Mr. McDonnell said at a news conference. “It’s still a very dangerous weather situation around the entire state.”

While power outages have been limited — Dominion Virginia reported just under 10,000 outages as of Tuesday afternoon, down from a peak of about 57,000 — Mr. McDonnell said the situation was likely to change.

“We’d be shocked if those numbers don’t go up dramatically, especially in Northern Virginia,” he said.

He also said he plans to petition the federal government for public assistance and for an expedited emergency declaration. The state has already declared its own state of emergency.

Mr. McDonnell also encouraged Virginians to donate to the Virginia Disaster Relief Fund to help their fellow residents.

“After the storm passes and skies clear, the work will not be over. Far from it,” Mr. McDonnell said. “Virginians in every region are going to be recovering from significant damage. Virginians are going to need help.”

In Old Town Alexandria, most residents heeded the warning to stay inside, but some braved the whipping in rain in high boots and umbrellas to explore the riverside, run errands, and even go for a late-morning jog. By 10 a.m., Alexandria police officers were posting wooden barriers warning not to cross and area where standing water was beginning to pool a block up from the Potomac River.

Many sidewalks were covered in leaves blown down by the steady wind gusting down the cobblestone streets. Townhomes at the Harborside community had their garages taped shut, covered with plastic tarps and weighted down by sandbags to stop the flow of rising water.

At the Christmas Attic along Union Street in Old Town — one block up from the river — co-owner Cheri Hennessy was beginning to clear the store’s bottom floor for inevitable flooding.

The Fairfax resident said that while she doesn’t have to worry too much about flooding, the store is in a perfect spot where rising river water meets the overflow from street drains and gutters.

“We had four feet of water from [Hurricane] Isabel,” Ms. Hennessy said. “Hopefully I’m over-reacting, but we’ll clear everything out of the front of the store and depending on what happens, work on the back inventory of the store.”

• Meredith Somers contributed to this report.