The Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Martinsburg, W.Va., was preparing to accept 133 patients from another VA hospital along the Virginia coast. And in Hagerstown, the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts announced it will close until Aug. 30 to move paintings in the midst of roof repairs.
Curt Byrum, store manager of Lowe's Home Improvement on Shank Farm Way in Hagerstown, said he started stocking up on generators, flashlights, batteries, sump pumps and tarps to meet the need of customers who already started shopping for hurricane supplies.
Byrum urged people to shop early because the supplies were selling fast. He said he was confident, however, that he could get more within 12 hours because the distribution center in Richmond, Va., is fairly close.
"If the storm gets worse, we will get more," Byrum said. "If not, we'll send it to other (stores) that need it."
Supermarket managers said they commonly stock up on essential items when major storms are on the way.
Kevin Dugger, assistant manager of the Martin's supermarket on Dual Highway in Hagerstown, said his store already received extra bread, water and milk to help customers prepare for Irene.
"They usually always do that when we have inclement weather," Dugger said.
At the Weis supermarket on Eastern Boulevard, Manager Eric Hahn said he wasn't sure whether the increase in customer traffic could be attributed to people buying supplies for the hurricane or supplies for the beginning of school.
He said Weis also was stocking up on bread, water, milk, batteries and flashlights.
"Its nothing out of the ordinary, but (the distribution center) is sending out a few extra things," Hahn said.
Kevin Lewis, director of Washington County Emergency Services, said Thursday that his department had been tracking the hurricane's progress for the past 48 hours.
He said the agency is urging residents to take precautions, such as establishing an emergency contact list and buying food and medicine. Lewis also warned residents to beware of swift moving water.
Due to impending weather, the Washington County Department of Recreation and Fitness has canceled Everybody's Day at Pen Mar Park, originally scheduled for noon Sunday.
The waltz and jitterbug dance competitions associated with Everybody's Day has been rescheduled for Oct. 2. More details will be available at www.washco-md.net.
But Augustoberfest in the city of Hagerstown will be held as scheduled this weekend, Karen Giffin, city community affairs director, said Thursday.
Crews assembled tents Thursday for the event which is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday in the Central Parking Lot.
Giffin said the city puts tents up each year for the German-themed event.
All the tents are anchored, and the city will monitor the situation carefully should high wind or lightning result from the forecasted storm, she said.
Those planning to attend Augustoberfest can find updates on the weather and any delays, contingencies or cancellations on the city's Facebook page or on the city website at www.hagerstownmd.org, she said.
Staff Writer Kate S. Alexander contributed to this story.
Track the storm:
For more coverage of Hurricane Irene, and to track the storm on interactive radar and maps, go to http://www.herald-mail.com/weather/hurricane/
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