Joaquin + nor’easter = the perfect storm

The city of Alexandria is trying to be as prepared as possible for this storm, especially in flood-prone areas like the Old Town waterfront. People who spend a lot of time in the area say with high tide and all the rain in the forecast, water levels could jump several feet.

“We expect the highest level about 1:00 tomorrow morning,” says Jeff Duvall, the deputy director of transportation and environmental services. “We are looking at a level of about 4.43 feet, which brings us into the 100 block of King Street.”

That amount of water could mean trouble for businesses and homes in the area, businesses like “Why Not?” a toy store on King Street. Barry Culpeppper works at the store and is already taking precautions by lining up sandbags outside.

“In the past we have gotten water in here, before because of the wind and the heavy rain and the wind is really what our problem is,” says Culpeppper.

Dozens of cars joined Culpeppper, lining up on Friday to pick up free sandbags provided by the city.  “We have a couple of areas that tend to leak so we want to make sure the house is safe,” says one woman with the Carlyle House Historic Park. “We just know we need to get sandbags as soon as we can and get the house protected.”

There are about 8,000 sandbags up for grabs. People came prepared, with wagons and trunks open, making sure they’re for whatever the storm brings.

Linda Harkness was among them, picking up sandbags for her home in Alexandria. She remembers the last time something like this happened. “There was water all the way up to here coming into the river. It was crazy,” she says.

Sandbags are available for pickup from 9:00am until 5:00pm on Friday at intersection of King and Lee Streets and at 133 S. Quaker lane. There is a limit to 5 sandbags per home or business.

Alexandria is no stranger to flooding, with high tide, sandbags are common site in the area. For most everyone who lives or works in Old Town, they’ve experienced flooding at least once.

Virginia Governor Terry McAullife declared a state of emergency on Thursday. All state troopers are on standby, 800 National Guard troops have been activated, 2,500 V-DOT employees are on call and police have water rescue teams ready to go if necessary. Pepco also has extra crews on hand to respond to power outages.

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