"You can expect numerous power outages, some could be long-term from what we're being told," says Chester Lauck, the Deputy Emergency Management Coordinator for Frederick County. "Three, four, five days. Maybe up until a week or longer," he adds.
Frederick County public safety officials started conference calls with state officials on Friday. They have been meeting to track the storm each day since. Governor Bob McDonnell declared a state of emergency for Virginia just ahead of the storm.
"Roads will be closed from flooding," Lauck says. "Normally, there is low-lying roads in the county that normally flood and close. The list could be: Sulphur Spring Road, Old Charles Town Road, Indian Hollow Road. Most of those people that travel those roads know. But, the best advice we can give you, if there's standing water, turn around and don't drive through. Turn around and don't drown," he says.
Public safety officials are asking people to prepare for the worst. They say have batteries and food ready. But, do not call 911 unless it's a true emergency. They say people need to be ready to be self-sufficient for the next few days. Many local residents have stocked up on supplies like flashlights and propane gas at local hardware stores.
"It's been crazy today," says Corey Carter, a sales associate at Berryville True Value Hardware Store. "I've been filling propane all day. People come in with all their tanks and everything like that. We've sold out of generators. We sold out of 'D' batteries and lamp oil. People have been buying everything," he says.
Officials warn residents to be smart with their supplies, only using generators outdoors and only using candles in spacious areas, on hard surfaces.
Officials say the county is still planning for emergency shelters. If officials open one, it will be at James Wood Middle School on Amherst Street in Winchester.
For more information on emergency plans check the following websites:
Frederick County: http://www.co.frederick.va.us/