VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) — Virginians are stocking up on emergency supplies as Hurricane Sandy heads for the Atlantic Coast.

Heavy rain, strong winds, flooding and power outages are expected in the eastern third of Virginia late Saturday and into Tuesday. Gov. Bob McDonnell has declared a state of emergency.

Soradia Maldonado, works at a Lowe’s home improvement store in Virginia Beach, tells the Virginian-Pilot that the store was already sold out of generators and was running low on batteries and flashlights Friday.

“We were expecting to see this Saturday, but not today,” she said. “People are scared.”

On the Northern Neck, Bill O’Bier was filling 5-gallon gas cans to power his generators. He tells the Richmond Times-Dispatch that in 37 years in the fish-packing business, he’s learned that when a hurricane’s coming “you plan for the worst and hope for the best.”

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The Virginia National Guard was prepared to call up to 300 troops to active duty for debris removal, road-clearing and other recovery activities. About 50 guardsmen and Virginia Defense Force personnel were expected to be in place by Saturday evening on the Eastern Shore.

The Navy ordered its Hampton Roads ships out to sea on Friday, but reversed course Saturday and directed ships still in port to remain. The Navy said that while Sandy remains a powerful storm, officials now believe ships can safely weather the wind and storm surge in port.

Dominion Virginia Power and other utilities have called in crews from out of state to respond to the expected power outages.


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