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.
Posted 12:56 p.m.
Hurricane Sandy continues to be a major threat to our area and could lead to substantial impacts in the next few days. Virginia has already declared a state of emergency in advance of the storm.
To put it simply: we need you to prepare.
The storm’s track is not yet certain, but the National Weather Service models this morning suggest a likely scenario of 4-6 inches of rain, tropical storm winds, downed trees/power lines and flooding for possibly multiple days. More details will become available later today and Saturday from the National Weather Service about timing and impact.
But right now, we have time to get ready.
What you need to know and do:
1.) Supplies: Get your supplies – water, medicines, canned food, cash, pet food and more. View more suggestions for emergency supply kits. We strongly recommend that you be prepared with at least three days of supplies.
2.) Gas: Fill your car’s gas tank. Gas stations will be in short supply in a power outage.
3.) Generators: If you have a generator or plan to buy one, please be familiar with safety tips.
4.) Food Safety: Power outages and flooding may happen as a result of a tropical storm or hurricane, so have a plan for keeping food safe. Have a cooler on hand to keep food cold, and group food together in the freezer so it stays cold longer.
5.) Outdoor Items: Plan to secure all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and anything else that is not tied down.
6.) Trees: Remove dead limbs on trees that could fall on your property (home, car, land).
7.) Leaves: Clear leaves from storm drains, gutters and other areas that, if clogged, could cause flooding.
8.) Weather Forecasts: Pay close attention to weather forecasts for the latest storm track. We will provide guidance as needed. Purchase or charge up your weather radio. If you have a weather radio that uses SAME codes, Fairfax County’s SAME code is 051059.
9.) Tech Ready: View our Digital Preparedness Kit, which is an important way to stay informed and connected before, during and after an emergency.
10.) Phone Numbers: Save important phone numbers to your phone or write them down, especially your power company. Always report a power outage.
Please share this information with your family, friends and co-workers so our whole community can be better prepared.
Posted 1:32 p.m.
A strong cold front will move through our area later today (probably between 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.). This front could cause damaging wind gusts in excess of 55 mph, locally heavy rainfall and an isolated tornado. Please stay informed as the storm may be heavier in some areas, including localized flooding.
A tornado watch has been issued for the National Capital Region until 7 p.m. Know the differences between tornado watches and warnings.
Six Actions to Take:
1.) Sign up for weather text/email alerts at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/cean and/or pay close attention to weather forecasts.
2.) If roads flood, “turn around, don’t drown.” Do not drive through flooded roads. This storm may strike us during rush hour, so please slow down and allow extra time for travel.
3.) Please keep children away from streams and creeks that may rise rapidly.
4.) Bring in any outdoor furniture or other items that may not be secure.
5.) In case you lose power, call your provider. Do not assume they know your power is out. For Dominion Virginia Power customers, call 1-866-366-4357, TTY 711. For NOVEC customers, call 1-888-335-0500, TTY 711.
6.) If you are experiencing an emergency, call 9-1-1. If you are experiencing other public safety non-emergencies, please call 703-691-2131, TTY 703-204-2264.
Posted 10:08 p.m.
The National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm warning for Western Fairfax County until 10:45 p.m. This storm is capable of producing damaging winds in excess of 60 mph. Locations impacted include Dulles International Airport, Centreville and Chantilly. This is a dangerous storm. If you are in its path, prepare immediately for damaging wind gusts and frequent cloud to ground lightning. Move indoors to a sturdy building and stay away from windows. More weather online at http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/oem/weather.htm.
Posted 1:16 a.m.
A major line of storms roared through our area this evening causing many issues, including two confirmed fatalities and more than 100 homes damaged by fallen trees.
Here’s what you need to know:
- Please only call 9-1-1 if you have an emergency; do not call 9-1-1 to report power outages.
- Approximately 20,000 Fairfax County residents are without power. If you have lost power or know people who have, please report the outage:
- Stay away from downed wires as they may be live with electricity.
- It’s going to be very hot again Saturday as heat index values will be close to 104. Power may not be restored to all residents immediately. Please start making plans to seek shelter during the heat with friends, family or neighbors, as well as at public buildings such as libraries, movie theathers, shopping malls and other community facilities. Please check in on vulnerable neighbors who may need assistance without power. Drink plenty of fluids.
- Don’t use candles during outages; stick with battery power. If you must use a candle, never leave it unattended or while asleep.
- Several roadways are closed in Fairfax County with many more covered in debris (mainly tree limbs).
- Here’s who to call to have trees removed if on public property.
- If power remains out and affects traffic lights, please obey these traffic rules.
Posted 8:05 p.m.
The National Weather Service tornado watch continues until 2 a.m. A second wave of storms is on its way to our area bringing with it heavy rain, wind, hail and possible tornadoes. This second wave will hit between 9 and 11 p.m.
Please stay alert for changing conditions, especially nighttime tornadoes and road flooding. Two cars were caught in swift water this evening, so please, turn around, don’t drown.
Stay tuned to local media, our emergency alert network, social media or other tools that will alert you.
Posted 7:25 p.m.
Here’s a list of roads that historically flood in Fairfax County. Review these roads and be cautious of other ones that may flood, too. Turn around, don’t drown.
Police are on scene at many of these locations to monitor the water level and close the roads as necessary.
If you see a road covered in water, let us know the location.