Storm Watch: Mayor Gray shuts down District schools, Metro will continue to run

Vincent Gray, mayor
Mayor Vincent Gray. Hatchet File Photo.

Mayor Vincent Gray announced Sunday that D.C. public schools would close Monday, in preparation for Hurricane Sandy’s strike on the District.

The alumnus and mayor said at a press conference that “the D.C. government is ready” for the storm – expected to batter the area with violent rains Monday. In the worst case scenario, the city could see an inch of rain every hour through Monday and Tuesday, resulting in five to 10 inches of water.

‘This storm is unique, large, dangerous and unlike anything we have seen in a long time,” Gray said.

Harsh weather will last “a very long time,” he said. Powerful winds will likely shake D.C. Sunday night and last until Tuesday, and peak winds of about 35-45 mph will start at 8 a.m. Monday and could last until 8 a.m. Tuesday.

Despite the surging storm, the Metro will remain open. New York City announced earlier Sunday that public schools and transportation would close.

City officials have also written a letter to President Barack Obama to declare a presidential disaster declaration, allowing the District to receive federal funds for storm preparation efforts. Gray tweeted at about 1:48 p.m. that there will be a 5 p.m. phone call to coordinate whether the D.C. and federal governments will shut down.

Winds are extending 500 miles outside the eye of the storm and already hitting parts of South Carolina and southeast Virginia, Gray said.

The District Department of Public Works is working to remove debris and foliage on the streets so water can reach storm drains to avoid flooding.

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