Updated 11:35 p.m.
Flood warning in effect until 5:15 a.m.
Posted 5:48 p.m.
From the weather service:
Three to six inches of rain has fallen. An additional one to three inches of rain is expected through this evening. The heavy rainfall will cause creeks and streams to rise out of their banks.
Most flood deaths occur in automobiles. Never drive your vehicle into areas where the water covers the roadway. Flood waters are usually deeper than they appear. Just one foot of flowing water is powerful enough to sweep vehicles off the road. When encountering flooded roads make the smart choice…turn around…don’t drown.
If you find yourself or see others trapped in a vehicle due to rising/standing water, call 9-1-1. We experienced water vehicle rescues earlier this year in July after heavy rain, so please pay attention, especially as it becomes dark outside:
In addition to the driving safety tips, please keep children away from creeks and their potentially rapidly rising waters.
Posted 11 a.m.
Local, state and federal law enforcement, along with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and Virginia Department of Transportation, will conduct a multi-jurisdictional “HOV Reversal Exercise.” The exercise will begin promptly at 11 a.m. and should not affect routine traffic flow within the Northern Virginia region.
Beginning at 11 a.m., those traveling along Interstates 95, 395, 495, and 66 can expect to see an increased presence of local, state and federal law enforcement personnel and VDOT Safety Services Patrol personnel at various exit ramps and locations. The exercise requires law enforcement to report to their designated locations to test deployment practices along the interstate system between Northern Virginia and Caroline County, Va. In addition, this operation facilitates the interoperability of communications systems among the participating agencies.
To minimize any impact on traffic, the exercise is timed to correspond with the regular, mid-morning HOV ramp closures. As soon as the first responders have confirmed their location and presence, they will be dismissed from that location.
“This is a ‘no-notice’ event, meaning that the first responders have not been apprised of the exercise in advance,” said Virginia Secretary of Public Safety Marla Graff Decker. “The purpose of this traffic management exercise is to test and evaluate the preparedness of first responder agencies throughout the National Capital Region. Geography, population and infrastructure make being able to execute a plan of this nature a critical necessity for the safety and protection of everyone living, working and visiting the region in the case of a manmade or natural disaster.”
Participating agencies include Virginia State Police, Virginia Department of Transportation, Virginia Department of Emergency Management, City of Alexandria Police, Arlington County Police, District of Columbia Department of Transportation, Fairfax County Police, Metropolitan Police, Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, Pentagon Force Protection Agency and Prince William County Police.
Posted 11:50 a.m.
You may have received a new kind of automatic alert on your mobile phone last night advising you of flooding threats. These are the new Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) built into newer smartphones. The National Weather Service sent last night’s alerts based on your location.
Wireless Emergency Alerts are free informational text messages sent to WEA-enabled phones within range of an imminent and dangerous local situation, severe weather event or AMBER alert. Fairfax County now has the capability to send these messages, too (but we did not send last night’s).
We encourage you to keep these messages turned on so you can be warned of a danger based on your location.
However, you can adjust alert settings on your device. You can opt-out of imminent hazard & AMBER alerts (but not Presidential alerts), but again, it is for your safety to be alerted to something like an imminent tornado based on your location if you’re at a park or inside your home. These alerts are not intended to be used frequently. Opt-in alert systems like our Community Emergency Alert Network and other tools from the National Weather Service provide more frequent alerts.
To find out if your mobile device is capable of receiving WEA alerts, contact your mobile device carrier or visit CTIA The Wireless Association.
View this one-minute video for more information, too:
Posted 9:46 a.m.
Sometimes when we share the message, “Turn Around, Don’t Drown” we hear feedback that it’s an obvious statement or unnecessary.
We use this message often because nationwide, over half of all flood-related drownings occur when a vehicle is driven into hazardous flood water, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Overnight, our Fire and Rescue Department conducted eight swift water rescues, successfully helping a total of 11 people out of their vehicles, including this one:
We share this safety message not because we want to share the most obvious observation, but because it really can happen, as proven last night.
Three key tips to keep in mind:
- Never drive through a flooded roadway; the depth, current and condition of the road are all unknowns and can be deadly.
- If your vehicle stalls on a flooded road and water is rising, get out of car, call 911, and move to higher ground.
- Be especially cautious during periods of limited visibility or nighttime when it is extremely difficult to see and judge conditions.
Posted at 1:30 p.m.
According to the National Fire Protection Administration (NFPA), far more fires are reported on July 4 than on any other day, and fireworks account for more than half of those fires, more than any other cause of fires. The NFPA also reports that the risk of a fire death, relative to time used, shows fireworks as the highest risk consumer product.
The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend one of the many public displays; however, if you are having a home fireworks display, the Consumer Products Safety Commission and our Fire and Rescue Department have some safety guidelines to follow:
- Follow the manufacturer directions.
- Have water available to extinguish discarded fireworks or for an emergency.
- Place legally purchased fireworks on a flat surface, clear of combustible materials and clear of all buildings.
- Light only one firework at a time.
- Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
- Keep bystanders at least 25 feet away from fireworks.
- Do not permit young children to handle or light fireworks. (Sparklers can reach a temperature of 1200 degrees Fahrenheit.)
- Store fireworks in a cool, dry place.
Learn more about Independence Day fireworks and events.
Infographic: Fireworks Injuries
Fireworks Injuries Infographic courtesy of the United States Consumer Products Safety Commission.
Posted 5:15 p.m.
Strong storms passed through our area this afternoon impacting some of you in different ways. More storms are predicted tonight:
As of this time, 11,000 customers are without power. If your power is out, call your provider and report it.
- Dominion Virginia Power: 1-866-366-4357, TTY 711;
- NOVEC: 1-888-335-0500, TTY 711
If you’re driving and come across a traffic light that is out, be patient and treat it as a four-way stop.
We’re seeing some reports of downed trees in our community. Visit this page to learn who to call about a downed tree.
At this time (5:15 p.m.), rain and discharge gauges indicate that we will experience significant street flooding at Huntington as a result of today’s thunderstorms. Residents should move their vehicles from the low areas along Fenwick Drive and Arlington Terrace to higher ground.
The National Weather Service forecast calls for a chance of showers and thunderstorms before midnight, then a slight chance of showers between midnight and 2 a.m. Some of the storms could be severe. The chance of precipitation is 30 percent with new rainfall amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.
Posted 4:55 p.m.
All watches and warnings have been cancelled for our area as the strong line of storms has passed. Wind gusts may still reach 30-40 mph tonight. The McLean area appears to have experienced the worst of the storm, so you may see more debris and outages in that area.
There are a few thousand people without power. If you’ve lost power or see downed wires, call your power company. Do not touch any downed wires.
- Dominion Virginia Power 1-866-366-4357, TTY 711
- NOVEC 1-888-335-0500, TTY 711
Posted 2:06 p.m.
From our afternoon conference call with the National Weather Service:
- The worst of the storm will hit our area between 3-4 p.m. Not all areas of our large county may be affected.
- The most severe aspects of the storm (very strong winds) are predicted to last about 30-40 minutes.
- The winds are the biggest concern, with gusts up to 70 mph.
- We could receive 1-2 inches of rain, which could lead to some localized flooding.
What you can do:
- Secure outdoor items if you’re at home.
- Keep a close eye on watches, warnings and forecasts.
- View map of roads that historically flood and be aware of flood threats while driving. Keep children away from creeks as water may rise rapidly (we’ve had loss of life before).
- Keep your phones charged in case you lose power. If you lose power, contact your provider (Dominion or NOVEC).
- If trees come down, stay away from any downed wires. Here’s who to contact if a tree falls.
- Only call 911 in an emergency. Call 703-691-2131, TTY 711, for public safety non-emergencies.
Listen to Dave McKernan, our Office of Emergency Management coordinator, discuss the storms in less than one minute:
Posted 3:53 p.m.
Potentially dangerous thunderstorms are possible in our area Thursday. The National Weather Service is calling for possible heavy rains, flooding, tornadoes and strong winds that could pose numerous challenges.
Take this threat seriously. While nothing like the wrath of last year’s derecho storm is predicted at this time, this line of storms may cause more havoc than a usual summer thunderstorm. There are a few things you can do today and this evening to prepare:
1.) Secure Loose Items
Bring in or secure any loose items outside your house or on your condo balcony. High winds could cause those objects to fly around and injure people or damage property.
2.) Storm Drains
Check rain gutters and storm drains. We’ve had a lot of rain in recent days and with more on the way, flooding is possible, so make sure drains are clear.
3.) Digital Preparedness
Prepare digitally! Power outages are possible, so have your devices fully charged. Here are 10 more tips to help with digital preparedness.
4.) Power Outage Supplies
Have enough batteries, flashlights, radios and other things you may need for a power outage.
5.) Report Power Outages
6.) Stay Alert and Informed
Weather forecasts can vary, so stay informed and keep an eye on changing weather conditions. Pay particular attention to tornado watches (conditions favorable) and warnings (tornado sighted, seek shelter).
- Sign up for our emergency text alerts/emails. If you live in the Huntington, Belle View and New Alexandria areas of the county, you should choose the “Riverwatch” group for information about possible flooding.
- Follow @fairfaxcounty on Twitter; use #ffxstorm to share what you’re seeing locally.
- This blog will have updates as events warrant, so if you’re not already subscribed by email or RSS, please do so by visiting the top right column of this page.
- Follow local media reports, credible social media accounts and other information sources for the latest alerts, warnings and protective actions.
7.) Share Information
Share this information with coworkers, neighbors, your faith community and more. Use the sharing tools below or print this information. Help someone, too, such as an elderly neighbor in securing loose items or checking storm drains.
Posted 4:39 p.m.
The National Weather Service has issued a tornado watch for our area until 10 p.m. and a flash flood warning until 9 p.m. You need to be alert for both threats this evening.
The worst of the potential weather may hit during rush hour between 6 and 8 p.m.
Important Driving Tip:
- If driving and it’s raining, turn on your headlights so other drivers, pedestrians and bikers can see you. Slow down while driving, too.
Tornado Safety Tips:
- A watch means conditions are possible for tornadoes to develop.
- A warning means a tornado has been sighted; seek shelter immediately.
- Pay attention to our text/email alert system, media outlets and credible social media channels for any warnings.
- Determine in advance where you will take cover in case of a tornado warning.
- Storm cellars or basements provide the best protection.
- If underground shelter is not available, go into a windowless interior room, closet or hallway on the lowest floor possible.
- If you are in a high-rise building, you may not have enough time to go to the lowest floor. Pick a place in a hallway in the center of the building.
- A vehicle does not provide good protection. A culvert or ditch can provide shelter if a substantial building is not nearby. Lie down flat and cover your head with your hands. Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location.
- More tornado safety tips.
Flood Safety Tips:
- “Turn around, don’t drown.” Never drive through a flooded roadway as the depth and water current are unknowns and could be dangerous.
- Keep children inside and away from streams and creeks. The county has experienced loss of life in previous years because of rapidly rising water.
- More flood safety tips.
For Residents in Belle View/New Alexandria and Huntington Areas:
- Based on the latest forecast, if we receive two inches of rainfall within a one hour period the Huntington area could experience significant street flooding. Residents should move cars to higher elevations. Localized street flooding could be expected in the Belle View/New Alexandria areas. We do not anticipate any structural flooding at either the Huntington or Belle View/New Alexandria areas. We will continue to monitor the weather conditions. Residents should be subscribed to the Riverwatch list on CEAN.
Posted 4:11 p.m.
Water, water everywhere. Tropical Storm Andrea continues to dump rain on our area. Here’s what you need to know for this afternoon into the evening.
1.) The National Weather Service predicts 1 more inch of rain through late tonight. The heaviest rain will fall from now until 8 p.m. The tropical system is expected to leave our area by 2 a.m.
2.) If you’re driving, turn on your headlights and slow down. Some roads have standing water, which means you could hydroplane and lose control of your vehicle if driving too fast.
3.) Watch out for flash floods, both as a driver and if you’re walking. If you’re driving, “turn around, don’t drown.” You have no idea how deep the water may be.
4.) If you’re outside, watch out for creeks and other bodies of water that may rise rapidly and unexpectedly. Children should not play near creeks with this amount of rain. The county has experienced loss of life in previous years because of rapidly rising water.
Posted at 2 p.m.
Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) are free informational text messages that are sent to WEA-enabled cellphones within range of an imminent and dangerous local situation, severe weather event or AMBER emergency. Fairfax County now has the capability to send these messages and other jurisdictions may soon have the ability, too.
WEAs are emergency messages sent by local authorized government authorities through wireless carriers’ networks. The alerts include a unique sound and vibration, are no more than 90 characters, and instruct specific actions individuals should take.
- The WEA notification is designed to get your attention and notify you with a unique sound and vibration.
- Public safety officials use WEA to send you essential information whenever you are near the location of a life-threatening event.
- You will automatically receive alerts if you have WEA-capable phone and your wireless carrier participates in the program.
- To find out if your mobile device is capable of receiving WEA alerts, contact your mobile device carrier or visit CTIA The Wireless Association.
Posted 4:37 p.m.
In the aftermath of today’s explosions at the Boston Marathon, we urge you to be vigilant.
One key way to remain vigilant is to always be aware of your surroundings – from your neighborhood to a mall to public transportation to a public venue such as a stadium. Remember, “If you see something, say something.”
Write down or save to your phone Virginia’s hotline phone number to report suspicious activities – 1-877-482-8477. You can also submit information through an online form.
Additional tips to consider:
- Move or leave if you feel uncomfortable or if something does not seem right.
- Take precautions when traveling. Be aware of conspicuous or unusual behavior.
- Do not accept packages from strangers and do no not leave luggage unattended.
- Learn where emergency exits are located in buildings you frequent. Plan how to get out in the event of an emergency.
- Be prepared to do without services you normally depend on such as electricity, telephone, natural gas, gasoline pumps, cash registers, ATMs and Internet transactions.
- Most importantly, stay calm, be patient and think before you act. With these simple preparations, you can be ready for the unexpected.
Posted 2:32 p.m.
Trash and recycling collection for sanitary district customers receiving Wednesday, Thursday and Friday collection from Fairfax County will slide by one day.
- Wednesday customers will be served on Thursday, March 7
- Thursday customers will be served on Friday, March 8
- Friday customers will be served on Saturday, March 9 – so long as conditions allow.
In order to collect all trash and recycling in a timely fashion in existing conditions, yard waste collection will be suspended until Monday, March 11.
Trash and recycling collection in sanitary districts will return to the normal schedule on Monday, March 11.
Questions related to solid waste collection in sanitary districts may be referred to 703-802-3322, TTY 711.
Residents receiving trash and recycling collection from private service providers should contact their collection company directly for schedule information.
Posted 2:15 p.m.
But what about sidewalks and other areas around your home or business?
The state and the county do not clear snow and ice from public walkways (sidewalks and trails). While not legally obligated, residents and businesses are asked to help keep sidewalks safe (homeowner associations may require members of their communities to clear walkways near their property). You should, as soon as possible, clear snow off the sidewalks in front of your property so that all pedestrians, especially school children, people with disabilities and the elderly, may walk securely as conditions improve.
Eight ways you can help:
1. Start a neighborhood team to help shovel snow for elderly and those unable to shovel. And please be aware of the risks for people with heart conditions.
2. Residents and businesses should ensure all accessible parking spaces for people with disabilities are cleared of snow and ice.
3. Don’t put trash cans and recycling bins out until after the plows have come.
4. If possible, remove parked cars from the road. Navigating around objects severely hampers a plow or heavy equipment driver’s ability to clear the roads and costs valuable time.
5. Clear snow away from fire hydrants in your neighborhood. Ask neighbors to adopt a fire hydrant and clear snow and ice away from all hydrants so that they are easily visible in the event of a fire.
6. Shovel snow into the yard instead of into the street to minimize the problem of the snowplow covering your driveway with snow after you’ve just shoveled it.
7. Keep the openings of storm drains clear of snow and debris to help alleviate potential flooding and to protect the environment. (At no time, however, should a resident attempt to enter a storm drain to remove debris.)
8. Volunteer to use or lend equipment such as small snow blowers for a community removal effort.