Good morning, Washington. It's Friday, but this weekend promises to be at best rainy and at worst hurricane-ish. Stay safe this weekend.
Washington Area Prepares for Hurricane Irene: Yesterday evening governors of both Maryland and Virginia declared states of emergency in anticipation of the hurricane, with many coastal towns, including Ocean City, calling for voluntary evacuations. Meanwhile, Metro is busy laying down more than 2,000 sandbags. BWI is suggesting that travelers check their flight status before leaving for the airport. The Virginia National Guard is preparing to mobilize for hurricane duty. Pepco says to expect power outages that could last for several days. And DC Fire and EMS announced that the Martin Luther King Jr. dedication scheduled for Sunday has been canceled. Amtrak has canceled all rail service from today through Sunday. In other words, it could be a rough weekend. Hopefully you stock up on water, have an emergency plan in place, and have some board games or other non-electronic activities scheduled.
Few Homeowners' Earthquake Damage Covered: Hayley Peterson at the Washington Examiner reports that hundreds of homeowners may be out of luck on earthquake damage. Just 5 percent of homeowners insurance in the area covers damage caused by an earthquake. Even those with insurance may struggle, Peterson says, because earthquake insurance carries a high deductible. The most common damage cited was crumbling or collapsed chimneys.
Gray to Name New Chief of Staff: Mayor Vince Gray is about to name a new chief of staff, reports Alan Suderman at the Washington City Paper's Loose Lips. It's likely the incoming boss is Christopher Murphy, who is currently at HUD.
Arenas's Lawsuit in Jeopardy—Because of Twitter: Everyone's favorite gun-toting Wizard, Gilbert Arenas, may have put his own lawsuit in jeopardy after posting personal details on his Twitter account. The lawsuit is over whether his ex, Laura Govan, is allowed to appear on a VH1 reality series called "Basketball Wives of LA" and mention Arenas's name. The judge now says Arenas's privacy argument is undercut by the personal details he posts to his thousands of Twitter followers.
Two Wal-Marts Approved: DC's Office of Planning has signed off on the locations of two planned Wal-Mart locations. Developers must first get approval from the Department of Consumer and Regulatory affairs, then they are legally allowed to break ground in the city, Lydia DePillis at the City Paper reports.
Briefly Noted: The National Capital Planning Commission has a new interactive map of the monuments and memorials. . . . Mark Lee at the Washington Blade has an in-depth look at the DC bag tax. . . . DCist takes a look at the "King's Dominion law."