Local crews preparing for Hurricane Sandy

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Va. - Currently crews in our region are on standby waiting to see where the need is in the Northeast. But for folks here, it's all about preparing in case the weather takes a turn for the worse.

Interstate 81 heading North was busier than usual Sunday. Electric crews from the Southeast to the Midwest were mobilizing because of Hurricane Sandy. "AEP is in 11 states so we actually had some crews from Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas, that are headed to the Northeast," said AEP Spokesperson Todd Burns.

News 5 learned in our area crews are not being released until customers here are cared for, but with the prediction of snow and high speed winds emergency officials say families need to be prepared in case of power outages.

"Get your emergency kit together, sit with your family and talk about a plan on where you would go if you were without power for multiple days. How would you handle it? Make sure that you've got plenty of canned goods on hand, water, fresh batteries in your flashlight and radios," added Burns.

The American Red Cross of Northeast Tennessee is also on standby. But they've already sent one crew to Ashburn, Virginia. "Sheltering will be the first thing because obviously the people who have to evacuate or leave their home need a place to stay. While they figure out what's going to happen next. We also do a lot of feeding of people in affected communities as well as those who have evacuated," said Director Glenda Bobalik with American Red Cross of Northeast Tennessee.

While our region is not expected to be hit quite as hard as other places across the Northeast. There's one thing you can do if a loved one is in the storm's path. "If you have family or friends that are in the potentially affected areas to know how you're going to get in touch with them afterwards, or who it is they're going to notify that they're OK," added Bobalik.

News 5 also checked with Virginia Department of Transportation, we've learned there are crews in our region on standby if it does start snowing. They've been stocking up on salt and checking equipment. VDOT also urges drivers to check road conditions before any traveling the next few days and you can do that by calling 511.

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