Metro News Release

For immediate release: August 25, 2011

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Metro prepares for the effects of Hurricane Irene
Maintenance crews placing sandbags at key locations today

Clarification: Metro is deploying chainsaws on supervisor motor vehicles (e.g. SUVs) to respond to downed trees.  Chainsaws are not being placed on rail vehicles.


Metro is planning for this weekend’s expected pass of Hurricane Irene and the winds and rain that may accompany it late Saturday and into Sunday morning.

Metro is taking steps in advance to prevent service disruptions. Specifically:

  • Crews have placed more than 2,000 sandbags around the escalators at Metrorail stations that have a history of flooding issues.
  • All drainage pumping stations are being checked in advance of the storm and will be monitored throughout the weekend.
  • Plant maintenance staff is clearing drainage areas near stations and yards.
  • Additional support personnel have been scheduled to be on duty throughout the weekend to respond to any situations that may arise.
  • Chainsaws are being deployed in Metro motor vehicles for use in the event of downed trees.

“We’re putting all of our resources in place to address any issues that arise out of the extreme weather conditions this weekend,” said Metro General Manager and CEO Richard Sarles. “We will be updating our customers through our website, Twitter, email alerts and the media.”

Metro maintenance personnel have delivered more than 2,000 sandbags at stations that historically have had water flow above the curb, down the escalators into stations. The list of stations includes Cleveland Park, King Street, Southern Avenue, Navy Yard, Federal Triangle, Stadium-Armory, Foggy Bottom and Largo Town Center. In addition, Smithsonian Station has occasionally seen high water run-off from The Mall enter the station via vent shafts.

Supervisors will monitor critical locations, such as bus garages, parking garages, and flood-prone areas throughout the weekend.

Customer Travel Advice

  • Metro will provide service information throughout the storm online at and via Twitter @wmata. Metrorail customers may also sign up for Metro alerts via email by visiting or tune to broadcast traffic reports for service information.
  • Metrobuses and MetroAccess vehicles will detour around downed trees and flooded streets, as necessary. Please allow additional travel time.
  • Use caution on wet surfaces, including platforms and escalators.
  • Do not carry open umbrellas within the Metrorail system.
  • Customers are reminded to stand back from platform edges or curbs – especially given the potential for high winds during the storm.
  • Bus customers are advised that NextBus results may be unreliable due to the system’s inability to reflect extreme road conditions.



News release issued at 3:43 pm, August 25, 2011.

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