Laurel braces for Hurricane Sandy

The city of Laurel opened the Robert J. DiPietro Community Center as a storm shelter on Monday and opened the city's Emergency Operations Center as the effects of Hurricane Sandy begin to be felt around Maryland.

As of 1:30 p.m. on Monday, the National Weather Service reported winds of up to 37 mph, and has placed a high wind warning in affect for the Laurel area, scheduled to run through Tuesday at 8 p.m.

Mayor Craig Moe has joined other state officials and placed the city under a declaration of emergency, which will remain in effect indefinitely.

Laurel city spokesman Pete Piringer said response teams from the city's police and fire departments are standing by, and Prince George's County will also provide support with its swift-water rescue team. The city is also coordinating with city volunteers groups such as CERT, and with BGE and WSSC.

Piringer added that power outages are expected, and that workers from the city's department of public works have been proactively removing loose signage and trimming trees to minimize damage.

Closings on Monday and Tuesday

Laurel city offices are closed on Monday and will remain closed on Tuesday, Piringer said. Recycling collections for Tuesday have also been canceled, along with all Parks and Recreation programming and classes.

Prince George's County Public Schools were canceled for today, and are operating under a code yellow. Schools will also be closed Tuesday, and will be operating under a code red.

Breaking news and information will be posted on the city's media and community information line at 240-294-1307.

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