Metro officials say they're preparing trains and buses for Sandy's arrival.
Update, Sunday 7:10 p.m.: Metro announced late Sunday night that it would suspend all rail and bus services on Monday, after consulting the latest forecasts from the National Weather Service.
The suspension takes effect at the normal close of business Sunday, and Metro says it will determine when it reopens after it does a thorough review of the expected damages across the rail and bus systems, contingent also on the availability of power for necessary cleanup.
Original Story: Local governments and utility companies are preparing for Hurricane Sandy's arrival in the D.C. region, including the Washington Area Metropolitan Transit Authority.
With 720,000 Washington area residents on its trains daily, and another 420,000 commuters on buses, Metro wants to make sure operations run smoothly should there be a weather emergency. Spokesman Dan Stessel says everything is in place to keep both bus and rail systems operating.
"We are loading up all of our Metro supervisors vehicles with chain saws, so that we're able to respond quickly in the event of any downed trees across any of our five rail lines," he says.
Stessel also says a full system electrical outage would be very unusual and is not expected based on the weather forecasts, but the trains do run on electric power.
As for the buses, Stessel says the vehicles are being prepped for the storm. "Additional supervisors are being scheduled, and we've canceled some leave for bus supervisors so that we can provide the support staff as we go through the storm in the early part of next week," he says.
Another issue is the system's pumping stations, which Stessel says are key. "Those pumping stations are actually used to pump water out of the tunnels so they don't flood, and we're pleased to report that all those are in good working order, and they'll be monitored as we go through the storm on a 24 hour basis."
Passengers can get the latest updates on their specific Metro routes sent by signing up online for Metro text and email alerts.