Posted at 12:45 p.m.
The National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm watch in effect until 8 p.m. this evening, Thursday, May 15.
In addition, a flash flood watch is in effect from 6 p.m. tonight through Friday afternoon for Fairfax County and the National Capital Region. A flash flood watch means that conditions may develop that lead to flash flooding.
Showers and scattered thunderstorms are expected with periods of heavy rain developing late this afternoon and continuing through midday Friday. The heaviest rain will be late tonight into Friday morning. Rainfall amounts of 2 to 4 inches are expected with locally higher amounts possible. This amount of rainfall has the potential to produce flash flooding, especially in urban areas and along small rivers and streams.
Huntington and Belle View/New Alexandria Residents
Based on the latest NWS forecast, county officials estimate that if we receive localized rainfall of 1-1/2 inches of rain within a one hour period, residents will likely experience minor street flooding in the Huntington area. As a precaution, residents in the Huntington area are encouraged to move vehicles to higher elevations.
County officials also believe that residents experience localized street flooding near the intersection of Olde Towne Road an Wood Haven Road and the vicinity of 6700 West Wakefield Drive in the Belle View/New Alexandria areas. However, no structural flooding in the Huntington or Belle View/New Alexandria areas is anticipated based on the latest forecast. Staff from the county’s Public Works and Environmental Services, public safety and emergency management offices will continue to monitor the storm and provide updates if the forecast or anticipated conditions worsen.
- This Afternoon: A chance of showers and thunderstorms after 2pm. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 81. Southeast wind 14 to 16 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%.
- Tonight: Showers and possibly a thunderstorm. Some of the storms could produce gusty winds and heavy rain. Low around 62. Southeast wind 13 to 16 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New rainfall amounts between 2 and 3 inches possible.
- Friday: Showers and possibly a thunderstorm. Some of the storms could produce heavy rain. High near 71. South wind 9 to 13 mph becoming north in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New rainfall amounts between three quarters and one inch possible.
- Friday Night: A chance of showers between 8pm and 2am. Cloudy, then gradually becoming partly cloudy, with a low around 48. Calm wind becoming northwest around 6 mph after midnight. Chance of precipitation is 30%.
- Saturday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 72. West wind 7 to 13 mph.
Continue to monitor weather forecasts and be prepared to take action should flash flood warnings be issued. You should also sign up to receive weather alerts on your mobile device, as well as by email, from the Community Emergency Alert Network (CEAN). Sign up at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/cean.
Posted at 4:20 p.m.
Fairfax County and the surrounding areas have received a lot of rain in the past 24 hours, and while the intensity has decreased, rain is still falling in certain areas and roadways are wet, which affects your ability to quickly stop your vehicle during your afternoon commute.
Here are some safety tips to keep in mind this afternoon and evening as you travel.
First, turn on your headlights and your windshield wipers. Your wipers are obvious, but unfortunately, many of us forget to turn on our headlights, which helps us be seen by others on these overcast, grey rainy days.
Once in your vehicle and on your way, remember to give yourself plenty of space around other vehicles. AAA Mid-Atlantic suggests on three-lane roads to drive in the middle lane. They say that most roads are higher in the middle, which means there’s a greater chance of water runoff and standing water in the side lanes.
Be sure to slow down when you see water standing on the surface of the pavement, especially on freeways. Also, drive in the tracks left by any vehicle ahead.
If hydroplaning does occur, do not brake. Instead, ease your foot off the accelerator to gradually decrease speed until your tires regain traction, and continue to look and steer where you want to go. In fact braking in wet conditions is tricky business. Sudden, hard or prolonged braking can cause a skid.
If your vehicle is equipped with anti-lock brakes (ABS), all you need to do is press the brake pedal and hold it down. Do not pump the brakes, because ABS does that very rapidly for you. The system automatically senses if a wheel begins to lock and quickly releases and reapplies the brakes as many times as necessary to keep the wheel from locking up.
If your vehicle is not equipped with anti-lock brakes, the best way to brake under these conditions is to use squeeze braking. For squeeze braking, keep your heel on the floor and use your toes to apply pressure on the brake pedal. If the wheels lock, ease off the brake pedal to a point where they just release. Adjust pedal pressure as necessary. This gives you the best combination of braking effort and directional control.
Flood Warning and Flash Flood Watch
The National Weather Service has extended the Flood Warning for Fairfax County until 9 p.m. tonight and a Flash Flood Watch remains in effect through late tonight.
Rapidly moving water is powerful and can be a threat to vehicles as well as people and property. Please stay away from rapidly rising creeks and streams and don’t drive through roads covered in water. You can’t tell how deep the water may be, so remember to turn around, don’t drown.
Weather information is online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/emergency/weather-forecast.htm.
Posted at 2 p.m.
The National Weather Service has issued a Flash Flood Warning until 4:15 p.m. this afternoon for Fairfax County and other portions of Northern Virginia.
At 1:17 p.m., NWS Doppler radar indicated very heavy rain capable of producing flash flooding. Up to three inches of rain has fallen in the last 24 hours. Additional rainfall amounts of up to 1 inch can be expected.
Please remember to turn on your headlights anytime you turn on your wipers, but also if it’s overcast or rainy — like today. The short video below from the California Department of Motor Vehicles does a good job of showing why you need to turn on your headlights. Plus, it’s also the law!
Posted at 11:55 a.m.
The National Weather Service has issued a Flood Warning for Fairfax County until 3 p.m. 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.
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. Bruce McFarlane with our Emergency Management Office offers this advice.
And please keep your children inside and away from streams and creeks.
Our emergency management office, in consultation with NWS, reports that anywhere from 1.25 to 2 inches of rain had fallen across Fairfax County this morning with another 1.5 inches of rain expected between noon and 6 p.m. Rainfall totals should approach 5-6 inches over the course of the storm.
Huntington and Belle View/New Alexandria
For residents in the Huntington area, there could be some street flooding sometime today. County officials also report that residents in the Belle View/New Alexandria area could experience localized street flooding today. You should continue to move your vehicles to higher elevations if you have not already done so.
Fairfax County’s public works and emergency management officials do not anticipate any structural flooding at this time in either of these communities, but staff are continuing to monitor the storm — including our Emergency Operations Center — and will provide updates to residents if conditions change. Be sure to sign up for weather alerts to ensure that you receive these messages.
Get more on the weather forecast at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/emergency/weather-forecast.htm.
Posted at 11 a.m.
Fairfax County is now under a Coastal Flood Advisory and a Flash Flood Watch beginning this evening at 10 p.m. A flash flood watch means that there is the potential for flash flooding. Flash flooding is a very dangerous situation. Rapidly moving water is powerful and can be a threat to vehicles as well as people and property.
The National Weather Service (NWS) Hazardous Weather Outlook forecasts thunderstorms Wednesday afternoon and evening that will be capable of producing torrential rainfall and damaging wind gusts.
NWS reports that rain will continue through Wednesday night with the heaviest rain expected tonight through tomorrow night. Storm total rainfall amounts will average between 3 and 5 inches with locally higher amounts likely. Heavy amounts of rain in short periods of time may cause flash flooding of creeks streams and urban areas.
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.
Bruce McFarlane is with our Emergency Management Office and offers this advice if you’re in your car.
And please remember to keep your children inside and away from streams and creeks.
Get more information about flood safety and what you should do before, during and after a flood at www.floodsafety.noaa.gov. Here’s a list of areas in the county that have previously flooded. For more information on flood safety tips and information, visit ready.gov/floods or the Spanish-language website listo.gov.
In addition, continue to monitor weather forecasts and be prepared to take action should warnings be issued. A warning would mean that we have moved from the possibility of flooding to a flooding situation in a specific area.
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.
Updated 12:50 p.m.
The National Weather Service has cancelled today’s tornado watch. Rain will continue throughout the day.
Posted at 10:15 a.m.
The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a Tornado Watch for Fairfax County and surrounding areas until 5 p.m. today, Monday, Oct. 7. In addition, NWS has issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook, which states that a strong cold front will move into the Mid-Atlantic states today.
NWS reports that showers and isolated thunderstorms could produce a period of heavy rainfall this afternoon with localized flooding mainly in urban locations. An isolated tornado and locally damaging wind gusts are possible with any thunderstorms that develop.
Showers likely, then showers and possibly a thunderstorm after 11 a.m. High near 74. South wind 9 to 17 mph becoming west in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 28 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100 percent. New rainfall amounts between three quarters and one inch possible.
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 6:52 a.m.
There are two main lines of thunderstorms associated with today’s weather that may affect Fairfax County.
The first line will be between 8 and 10 a.m. and could impact the morning commute. However, this will be the less severe of the two lines of storms. The second storm will be in the area between 2 and 8 p.m. and could produce gusts in excess of 60-80 MPH. The storms are fast moving and should not last in any one area very long.
Sustained winds over the course of the day will be between 15-25 MPH, with gusts up to 35 MPH. Total rainfall is expected to be between 1-2 inches. Isolated tornado threats are still possible for Fairfax County, however the higest risk will be along the I-95 corridor between Washington D.C. and Baltimore.
In case you missed it yesterday, here are 7 tips to prepare for this storm.
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 6:30 a.m.
The latest National Weather forecast calls for heavy rain bands to move into our area today with the heaviest rain expected mid-day continuing into the evening. We already received roughly 1-2 inches of rainfall overnight and officials are anticipating another 2 to 4 inches of rain today.
Based on the latest NWS forecast we may experience significant street flooding in the Huntington area and localized street flooding in the Belle View/New Alexandria areas. Residents in those areas of the county are encouraged to move their vehicles to higher ground. Use common sense and don’t park in restricted areas.
At this point, structural flooding is not anticipated in either the Huntington or Belle View/New Alexandria areas.
A flash flood watch has been issued for the majority of the National Capital Region, including Fairfax County, with heavy rainfall expected during the day and into the evening. A flash flood watch means that conditions may develop that lead to flash flooding. Flash flooding is a very dangerous situation.
Excessive runoff from heavy rains may lead to flash flooding of low lying areas and small streams. Parents are reminded to keep children away from streams and rivers as they may overflow very quickly and with saturated river banks, playing near moving water is a dangerous situation. Please keep children away from creeks/streams that may rise rapidly.
If you are in your car, remember “Turn Around; Don’t Drown.” Water may be much deeper than you think, causing your car to stall or even get stuck in hidden debris; road beds may be washed out under flood waters. Just six inches of swiftly moving water can knock someone off their feet and approximately two feet of swift water can move or float most vehicles, including SUV’s and pickup trucks. Don’t get trapped in flood waters – find an alternative route.
You probably already are familiar with them, but here’s a list of roads that traditionally flood in Fairfax County.
You should continue to monitor the weather forecast for updated information and be prepared to take action as necessary.
National Weather Service Radar
Posted at 12:55 p.m.
According to the National Hurricane Center, tropical storm conditions are beginning to move onshore along the west coast of Florida as Tropical Storm Andrea approaches landfall.
The Capital Weather Gang reports “the NHC forecast and models are in excellent agreement on the future track of Andrea… with a landfall expected later this afternoon near Perry, Fla. (between Tallahassee and Gainesville), then racing northeast over the Carolinas during the first half of Friday, eastern Virginia and the Delmarva peninsula later on Friday, then finally offshore and toward Nova Scotia on Saturday.”
For us here in Virginia — and Fairfax County — the effects from Andrea will generally be seen late Friday morning into the evening. The forecast calls for rain as our main threat; winds will be minimal based on current models.
According to emergency management officials, based on the current track, rainfall is forecast to be heaviest east of the Interstate 95 corridor to the coast. Here in Northern Virginina, the weather forecast predicts 1-2 inches of rain with locally higher amounts possible; flash flooding also is possible in poor drainage and low lying areas on Friday. Meanwhile, tides in the Alexandria area are predicted to be approximately ½ foot above normal.
Based on the latest forecast track, NWS rainfall predictions and tide forecast, at this time county officials do not anticipate any structural flooding in the Huntington or BelleView/New Alexandria areas.
Be sure to monitor local weather forecasts, NOAA weather radio and CEAN weather alerts for more information on Tropical Storm Andrea should conditions change.
Posted at 3:48 p.m.
The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a Flash Flood Watch for Fairfax County through late tonight. The forecast indicates warm temperatures surging ahead of a cold front will fuel several weather threats today and tonight:
- Strong winds. Winds will steadily increase today with possible gusts near 40 mph by this evening. These damaging wind gusts could cause downed trees and electric lines.
- Heavy rain. While total rainfall is only expected to be 1 to 2 inches, it will likely fall in a short period of time and this could cause flash flooding. Those in low lying areas of the county need to monitor the situation and be prepared to move vehicles or families to higher ground should the need arise.
5 Tips to be Ready
- Get where you need to be before the weather gets bad. If you have a high profile vehicle like a SUV, they are more sensitive to strong wind gusts.
- Don’t drive through high water – remember to “Turn around, don’t drown.”
- Exercise extreme caution at intersections. If traffic signals lose power, remember to treat that as a 4-way stop, with the driver on the right having the right-of-way.
- Proceed with caution only when traffic permits.
- Enter intersections only when it is safe to do so, using turn signals to let other motorists know your intentions.
- Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.
- Watch out for and obey police officers directing traffic within intersections.
- Have flash lights readily available — with extra batteries — and make sure your cellphones are fully charged.
- Check on your neighbors, especially if your neighborhood loses electricity.