D.C. offers help to areas hardest hit by Sandy

Across the region, life is returning to normal, especially in D.C.. The district seemed to escape the most damage and power outages from Sandy.

Wednesday, D.C. government and public schools are scheduled to re-open. There are two potential exceptions for school closures. Pepco is still working to restore power to Brookland Education Campus and Jefferson Academy. A decision on whether they will be open will be made by 6 a.m. Wednesday - at the latest.

For now, emergency officials are still monitoring developments and may soon turn their attention north.

Mayor Vincent Gray, (D) District of Columbia, said, "We are prepared to be helpful if we can."

On a conference call with President Barack Obama and about a dozen East Coast governors and mayors, Gray says he's offered to send help to areas hit hardest by Sandy, like New York and New Jersey.

Gray also thanked the president for providing speedy disaster funds.

"He couldn't have been more cooperative or supportive of the circumstances that the jurisdictions found themselves in which obviously{ } varied in severity," Gray added.

In the district, there were no reported fatalities in the storm.

Police Chief Cathy Lanier says police were free to respond to emergencies thanks to assistance from the D.C. National Guard.

"I don't think at any point during the night I had more than eight officers that had to be assigned to traffic control, because we were being relieved. We'd put in a request, and they'd come out and relieve us," Lanier said.

Starting at 4 p.m. Monday, the district government activated its emergency operations center in Southeast D.C.

At the height of the storm, Pepco says 10,000 customers lost power in D.C. Nearly all of them were restored by mid-day Tuesday.

Gray added, "Pepco has done a great job, and I want to thank you for helping us get to where we are at this point in the city."

Rain continues to fall in the district. And with concern about upstream stormwater runoff, D.C. water officials are reminding residents to clear leaves and debris from storm drains.

So far, flood-prone neighborhoods have been spared.

George Hawkins, D.C.'s water director said, "We certainly were better prepared, but the primary reason we didn't flood in this case was the volume of flow never exceeded the capacity of the pipes."

Metro rail is also running again.

The D.C. Board of Elections will re-open early voting sites with extended hours, and D.C. Public Works will resume normal trash collection. However, some customers must wait until Monday for pickup.