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Flood Warning Until 7 p.m. Tonight (April 15) for Eastern Fairfax County

UPDATE: 4:25 p.m.

This afternoon’s flood warning has been canceled by the National Weather Service.

Posted at 3:45 p.m.

The National Weather Service  has issued a Flood Warning for urban areas and small streams in Eastern Fairfax County until 7 p.m. this evening, Tuesday, April 15.

Around 3 p.m. this afternoon, observations indicated one to two inches of rain had fallen today between Burke and Springfield. Area streams were on the rise and some flooding of low-lying areas near streams, as well as low spots on roads near the stream crossings, is expected this afternoon.

A flood warning means that flooding is imminent or has been reported. Stream rises will be slow. However, you should take necessary precautions immediately. Excessive runoff from heavy rainfall will cause elevated levels on small creeks and streams and ponding of water in urban areas such as highways, streets and underpasses as well as other poor drainage areas and low lying spots.

If you encounter excessive water on area roads, remember to “Turn Around; Don’t Drown.” And please keep children indoors and away from streams or creeks that may rise rapidly.

Get more on the weather forecast at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/emergency/weather-forecast.htm.

National 9-1-1 Education Month

Posted at 2 p.m.

National 9-1-1 Education MonthThe National 9-1-1 Education Coalition recognizes April as National 9-1-1 Education Month. This year’s theme is “Be 9-1-1 Ready.”

Here’s a few key things to remember when calling 9-1-1:

  • Know Where You Are: Where are you right now? Can you tell 9-1-1 exactly where to find you?
  • Use a Landline: Whenever possible, use a landline to call 9-1-1. Cellphone calls aren’t always routed to the closest call center and the time it takes to transfer your call to the call center is important in an emergency.
  • Stay Calm and Ready to Listen: 9-1-1 will stay on the line to help you until help arrives. Be ready to listen and follow directions.
  • Never Hang Up – Even if you called 9-1-1 by accident, or if you think the problem has gone away, it is important that you stay on the phone until the call taker tells you it is alright to hang up. It is the call taker’s job to make sure that you are OK and that help has gotten to whoever needs it. In situations where you aren’t able to talk or have to leave, keep the phone off the hook so that the 9-1-1 operator can hear what is going on in the room. Most times, they will be able to use the computers at the 9-1-1 Center to find your address.

Fairfax County’s 9-1-1 Center is the primary 9-1-1 public safety answering point for Fairfax County, as well as the City of Fairfax and the towns of Herndon and Vienna. The center provides the dispatch for all units of the Fairfax County Police Department and Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, including the City of Fairfax Fire Department and the Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office.

Fairfax County’s 9-1-1 Center – located at the McConnell Public Safety and Transportation Operations Center (MPSTOC) and collocated on the operations floor with call takers and dispatchers from Virginia State Police and the Virginia Department of Transportation – is one of the 50 largest in the U.S. and the largest in Virginia. Call takers and dispatchers in Fairfax County answer approximately 2,200 calls for assistance daily; some 830,000 annually from the public, both 9-1-1 and non-emergency.

For more information about 9-1-1 Education Month or the county’s 9-1-1 Call Center, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/911.

Know What To Do If You Encounter Flooding This Spring

Posted at 2:30 p.m.

This is Flood Safety Awareness Week (March 16-22), but flooding can happen at any time and anywhere!

Flooding causes more damage in the U.S. than any other weather related event and is the second leading cause of weather related fatalities in the U.S. (behind heat). On average, floods cause $8 billion in damages and over 80 fatalities annually.

Just six inches of fast-moving water can knock over an adult. Only 18 inches of flowing water can carry away most vehicles, including large SUVs. It is impossible to tell the exact depth of water covering a roadway or the condition of the road below the water. This is especially true at night when your vision is more limited. It is never safe to drive or walk through flood waters. Any time you come to a flooded road, walkway or path, follow this simple rule: Turn Around, Don’t Drown.
Turn Around. Don't Drown.
One way to prepare is with flood insurance. Keep your head above water by learning the basics about this special coverage available for homes and businesses. Here’s what you should know:

  • Flood losses are not typically covered under renter and homeowner’s insurance policies.
  • Flood insurance is available in most communities through insurance agents.
  • There is a 30-day waiting period before flood insurance goes into effect.

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is a valuable resource to learn more about your flood risk, how to find an agent, and the flood recovery process. NFIP also offers interactive ways to understand floods. Calculate the cost of flooding, watch real flood testimonials and launch a levee simulator to take your flood knowledge to the next level.

More information about floods and what you should do before, during and after a flood is at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/emergency/hazards/flooding.htm.

Winter Storm Warning in Effect Tonight Through Monday Afternoon

Posted at 4:30 p.m.

A National Weather Service winter storm warning is in effect from 7 p.m. this evening until 2 p.m. Monday, March 17. A winter storm warning for heavy snow means severe winter weather conditions are expected or occurring.

Significant amounts of snow are forecast — accumulations of 4 to 8 inches.

A mix of rain and snow early this evening will change to all snow by mid evening. Snow will continue overnight through early afternoon Monday. The heaviest snow is expected late this evening through early Monday morning.

Roads will become snow covered and slippery.  If you don’t have to be on the roads, stay home — plan to get where you need to be before the weather gets bad. Visit the Virginia Department of Transportation for the latest on the roads.

To stay informed about the storm, continue to follow this blog and be sure to listen to Fairfax County Government Radio.

Red Flag Warning in Effect from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Posted at 7 a.m.

Red Flag WarningA Red Flag Warning is in effect from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. today, Thursday, March 13, for Fairfax County and Northern Virginia.

A Red Flag Warning means that critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now or will shortly. A combination of strong winds, low relative humidity and warm temperatures can contribute to extreme fire behavior.

A National Weather Service (NWS) wind advisory also remains in effect until 11 a.m. this morning.

Today’s forecast calls for sunny skies with a high near 35. It will be breezy with a northwest wind 22 to 25 mph, with gusts as high as 47 mph. Northwest winds continue tonight, 9 to 14 mph, becoming light and variable after midnight with temperatures around 20.

Get more on the weather by listening to Fairfax County Government Radio, which broadcasts NWS forecasts several times per hour.

Wind Advisory Overnight; Power Outages Possible

Posted at 2:30 p.m.

Wind Advisory in effect overnight

The National Weather Service has issued a wind advisory, in effect from 6 p.m. this evening to 11 a.m. Thursday morning, March 13.

Winds are expected to be from the Northwest at 20-30 mph with gusts up to 50 mph.

Should you lose electricity, here are the numbers to report outages:

  • Dominion Virginia Power: 1-866-DOM-HELP (1-866-366-4357), TTY 711.
  • Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative (NOVEC): 1-888-335-0500 or 703-335-0500, TTY 711.

Other tips to consider:

  • Take care driving high profile vehicles.
  • Secure outdoor furniture.
  • If you have a police, fire or medical emergency, call 9-1-1. For non-emergency needs, call 703-691-2131.
  • If you have downed trees, here’s a resource list of who to call.

Emergency Phone Numbers | Weather forecast

Video: Are You Ready for Tuesday’s Tornado Drill

Posted at 3:55 p.m.

Tuesday, March 11, is the statewide tornado drill, beginning at 9:45 a.m.

The tornado drill is an important statewide safety exercise in an effort to prepare for nature’s most violent storms. Virginia has been hit hard in the past by multiple tornadoes that have cost lives and left extensive damage. In fact Virginia has had 70 tornadoes since 2011, with more than $3 million in damage. 


 

When the drill starts at 9:45, immediately protect yourself by going to a designated shelter-in-place or to the center of an interior room on the lowest level away from corners, windows, doors, and outside walls.

Find more information on the Statewide Tornado Drill or additional drill resources at the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) at http://www.vaemergency.gov/readyvirginia/stayinformed/tornadoes. Find more information on tornadoes from FEMA at http://www.ready.gov/tornadoes.

When it comes to tornadoes, there is no such thing as a “tornado season.” Tornadoes can strike anywhere, anytime, and you need to know the drill — you need to be prepared to act quickly.

Change Your Clocks; Check Your Supplies

Posted at 11:30 a.m.

ClockWe’ve got a time change coming up this weekend. Clocks go forward one hour on Sunday, March 9, which is the beginning of Daylight Saving Time (DST).

So tonight before you go to bed, be sure to change your clocks — move them forward one hour — but also use DST event to take just a little bit of time to be better prepared for emergencies in your home and our community.

  • Change the batteries in your smoke alarms. It only takes a couple of minutes to change your batteries, so this is an easy “to do” item — just be sure you go to the store today and grab some fresh batteries if you don’t already have some on hand.
  • Update the supplies in your emergency supply kits — at home, the office and in your car. With the recent snow you may have used some bottled water or the granola bars, so take a couple of minutes and inventory your supplies. Then while you’re at the store picking up those batteries (see above), get those items you need to keep your emergency kits fully stock.

Learn more about Daylight Saving Time from the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

For more on emergency preparedness and making an emergency kit, contact our emergency management office at 571-350-1000, TTY 711.

County Trash Collection Schedule Changes Today

Due to the winter weather and existing road conditions, Fairfax County trash and recycling collection customers in sanitary districts will receive trash and recycling collection on the following schedule:

  • Monday routes will be collected today, Tuesday, March 4.
  • All special collections scheduled for Monday or Tuesday (March 3 and 4) will be postponed until next week.
  • Tuesday routes will be collected on Wednesday, March 5.
  • Wednesday and Thursday routes will be collected on Thursday, March 6
  • Friday routes will remain as scheduled.

Please check the customer website for updated service information. Service-related questions can be directed to the Customer Service Center at 703-802-3322, TTY 711.

The impact of the winter weather may also be affecting the operations of private trash and recycling collectors. Customers of private service providers (more than 85 percent of county households) should contact their trash and recycling collector directly for any changes in service. Contact information for private trash and recycling collectors operating in Fairfax County is available online.

If your trash collection service has been postponed until another day please remove your trash containers from the curb in order to enhance the effectiveness of snow clearing operations and to avoid having your containers damaged or buried in snowbanks.

Neighborhood and Community Services Centers Open at 1 p.m. Today

Due to the weather, all Neighborhood and Community Services community centers, senior centers and teen centers will open at 1 p.m. today.

Fairfax County Public Schools Closed Tuesday, March 4

All Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) will be closed on Tuesday, March 4. School offices will be open with an unscheduled leave policy in effect. School Age Child Care (SACC) centers also will be  closed.

The following activities in schools and on school grounds are cancelled:

  • Extracurricular activities.
  • Interscholastic contests.
  • Team practices.
  • Field trips.
  • Middle school after-school programs.
  • Professional learning and training courses.
  • All adult and community education classes.
  • Recreation programs and community use by outside groups not affiliated with FCPS.

For more information from FCPS, go to www.fcps.edu

Tonight Expected to be Coldest March Night in Decades; What You Need to Know

Posted 5:35 p.m.

Neighbors: Please check in on elderly or other housebound people you may know to make sure they have enough heat and food.

Hypothermia Prevention: If you see an unsheltered person who may be at risk of hypothermia, call the police non-emergency phone line at 703-691-2131, TTY 711. Fairfax County’s emergency homeless shelters have additional capacity during winter months to take in people overnight who are at risk of hypothermia. Emergency personnel will determine which shelter option is best in the situation. Learn more about our emergency shelters and hypothermia program.

Pets: Don’t forget your pets — bring pets/companion animals inside; move other animals to sheltered areas with non-frozen drinking water.

Beware of Ice: With the cold temperatures, snow that has melted will refreeze and create hazardous icy conditions, including black ice. Drive cautiously and be careful walking outside.

Reporting Power Outages and Downed Trees

Posted at 4:20 p.m.

ice covered treeSporadic power outages have been reported in the county. Heavy snow could cause downed trees and power outages. Here are some tips to keep in mind.

If a Tree Hits Your Home

  1. Get everyone safely out of your house. Use your cellphone or go to a neighbor and call 9-1-1.
  2. Go to a nearby shelter (another home or open public facility) to stay dry and out of the elements.
  3. Stay away from the home until public safety employees can access the home for structural stability and ensure utilities are controlled.
  4. Only after all of these safety measures have taken place should you call your insurance company.

For downed trees:

  • Adjacent to Public Roads: Contact Virginia Department of Transportation at 1-800-FOR-ROAD, TTY 711.
  • On County Parkland: Contact Fairfax County Park Authority at 703-324-8594, TTY 703-324-3988.
  • Posing Hazard to Public Areas: Contact Fairfax County Urban Forestry at 703-324-1770, TTY 703-324-1877.
  • On Private Property: Removal is the property owner’s responsibility.

Power Outages

If your power goes out report your outage; never assume a neighbor has reported it.

  • Dominion Virginia Power: 1-866-DOM-HELP (1-866-366-4357), TTY 711; view outage map.
  • Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative (NOVEC): 1-888-335-0500 or 703-335-0500, TTY 711; view outage reports.

In addition, follow these safety tips:

  • Use a flashlight for emergency lighting. Never use candles.
  • Unplug electrical equipment until a steady power supply returns.
  • Practice proper generator and surface heater safety.
  • Leave one light turned on so you know when power is restored.
  • Eliminate unnecessary travel, especially by car. Traffic signals will stop working during an outage, creating traffic congestion. If you come upon a non-working traffic signal, treat each traffic light as a four-way stop, with the driver on the right having the right-of-way. Proceed with caution only when traffic permits and enter intersections only when it is safe to do so, using your turn signals to let other motorists know your intentions.
  • If traffic lights are on flash, treat a flashing red as a stop (treat it like a stop sign). For flashing yellow, proceed with caution.

Video: Chairman Sharon Bulova Encourages Residents to “Stay Safe”

Posted 3:25 p.m.

Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova is in the Emergency Operations Center and talks about her experience with the snow today. She recommends that residents stay safe and off the roads.  Bulova also asked that if you see someone who is unsheltered and you think could be at risk for hypothermia, call the county’s non-emergency phone line at 703-691-2131, TTY 711.

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