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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.

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.

For Tuesday, March 4: County Government Open with Unscheduled Leave

Posted at 10:23 p.m.

Fairfax County Government offices will open on time on Tuesday, March 4, however employees have been granted unscheduled leave. Emergency service personnel should report as scheduled. Read more about how/why snow decisions are made.

Fairfax County Public Schools will be closed on Tuesday, March 4; School Age Child Care (SACC) centers will also be closed.

The Fairfax County Circuit Court, General District Court and Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court will open on time.

Parks, Community and Recreation and Community Centers

  • If you have questions about Park Authority facilities, contact the site directly, call the Parks inclement weather line at 703-324-8661, TTY 711, or visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks.
  • For Department of Neighborhood and Community Services programs and events visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/ncs or call 703-324-4600, TTY 711.
  • The Reston Community Center and the McLean Community Center may be affected by the inclement weather. Call RCC at 703-476-4500, TTY 711, www.restoncommunitycenter.com or MCC at 703-790-0123, TTY 711, www.mcleancenter.org for their current operating status.

Transportation: Connector, Fastran

Libraries

  • Library hours may be affected; call your local branch before visiting. For branch phone numbers, call 703-324-3100 or go to www.fairfaxcounty.gov/library.

View the public meetings calendar at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/calendar/ShowCalendar.aspx for any potential cancellations of public meetings of Fairfax County government Boards, Authorities or Commissions.

Winter weather preparedness information can be found online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/emergency/prepare/winter.

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.

Police Response to Routine Accidents During Snow Event

Posted 10 a.m.

During this snow event, Fairfax County police will only be responding to accident reports that meet the following criteria:

  • Injuries.
  • Hit and run.
  • One or more vehicles are not drivable.
  • Active argument or conflict between the drivers.

If you call in a routine accident that does not meet the above criteria, you will be directed to exchange information with the other driver and to notify your insurance company.

County Trash Collection Service Cancelled; Private Trash Collection May Be Affected

Posted 8 a.m.

Due to unsafe road conditions, trash and recycling collection for Fairfax County customers on Monday collection routes will be cancelled. Please continue to check this blog or the County Customer website, for updated service information.

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.

Driving is Discouraged, But if You Must Go Out…

Posted 7:30 a.m.

Virginia Department of Transportation officials are asking everyone to stay off the roads today. There’s a layer of ice below the falling snow that’s making things very slick, and the heaviest snow will come this morning.

If you absolutely have to drive, here are some tips for driving on black ice and snow:

Black Ice:

Here’s what to look out for:

  • Pavement that looks dark, wet or like new asphalt.
  • Low-lying areas that may have standing water or runoff      from nearby melting snow banks or puddles.
  • Bridges and underpasses.
  • Vehicles that have slid off the road under any of the      above conditions.

Tips for Driving on Ice and Snow:

  • Slow down! Stopping on snow or ice without skidding requires extra time and distance. Drive slowly – below posted speed limits, so you can adjust to the conditions. This is especially true at intersections, off ramps, bridges and shady areas where black ice can form without being noticed.
  • Give yourself more distance from cars ahead—maintain a minimum of 8 to 10 seconds in following distance.
  • Brake early, brake slowly, brake correctly and never slam on the brakes.
  • Avoid any sudden or excessive actions while steering, braking or accelerating so you don’t lose control. Accelerate and decelerate slowly.
  • Focus your attention as far ahead as possible—at least 20 to 30 seconds. Watch to see if other vehicles are having problems on the road ahead, which may give you the split second you need to avoid a crash.

Things to Know for the Weekend

Posted at 4:14 p.m.

As we continue to dig out of the recent winter storm, more snow is possible. The forecast from the National Weather Service calls for snow tonight and Saturday morning, with cold temperatures dropping Saturday night to around 19 degrees.

Here are some things to keep in mind this holiday weekend:

1.) VDOT Snow Removal: The Virginia Department of Transportation is responsible for snow removal on most county roads.

2.) Help Neighbors: Please check in with your neighbors to make sure they have supplies and to help them shovel out driveways, cars and sidewalks.

3.) Exercise Caution: Shoveling snow can be physically demanding and can lead to injuries such as sprains and strains and heart attacks.

4.) 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.

5.) 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.

6.) Pets: Don’t forget your pets. As the temperatures drop, bring pets/companion animals inside; move other animals to sheltered areas with non-frozen drinking water.

7.) Fire Hydrants: As streets continue to be plowed and snow is displaced onto sidewalks and roadsides, there may be a need to dig out fire hydrants.

8.) Fill Your Car: Keep the gas tank filled. Here’s more information on winterizing your vehicle.

9.) For additional updates throughout the winter season, follow us on Twitter at @fairfaxcounty. For more resources, visit our winter weather page.

County Encourages Preparedness Before Big Snow Storm

Posted at 3:30 p.m.

David McKernan, emergency management coordinator, encourages residents to get where they need to be before the worst of the approaching snow storm. He adds that Fairfax County agencies have been preparing and he offers several tips for residents to brace for the storm.


 

You also are reminded also that the Virginia Department of Transportation is responsible for plowing of roads in the county. VDOT has created a snow plow map where you can follow plowing progress as well as a road conditions map. If you see any issues or problems on area roadways, you are encouraged to call 1-800-FOR-ROAD to report any road issues to VDOT.

Governor Declares State of Emergency for Commonwealth

Posted at 4:10 p.m.

Governor Terry McAuliffe today declared a state of emergency, an action that authorizes state agencies to be ready to assist local governments in responding to the major snow storm that is forecast to hit the Commonwealth starting tomorrow.  In declaring a state of emergency, the governor authorizes state agencies to identify and position resources for quick response anywhere they are needed in Virginia.

“Just as state government is preparing for this storm, I urge every Virginian to take proper preparations,” said McAuliffe. “Prepare to limit unnecessary travel during the storm, have emergency supplies on hand and be ready in the event that power in your area goes out.”

Here in Fairfax County, public safety and emergency management officials are already reviewing plans and procedures and putting together staffing plans for people and resources. The county’s emergency operations center will continue to monitor the weather — in addition to county infrastructure, utility services, road conditions, etc.  — and will be holding regular conference calls with National Weather Service meteorologists to determine local impacts of the weather on Fairfax County.

Our emergency management office encourages residents to take some time today and tomorrow to make sure you and your family are fully prepared in case we are hit with the high end of snow estimates.

  • Be prepared to take care of yourself and your family for at least 3 days (72 hours) in case roads are blocked and/or there are power outages.
  • Make sure you have a three-day supply of food that does not require electricity to prepare it and water (a gallon of water per person per day).
  • Have a battery powered and/or hand-crank radio and extra batteries for emergency information. Listen to local weather forecasts and instructions from county officials.
  • Always run generators outside in well-ventilated areas. Never use a portable generator in any enclosed or partially enclosed space.
  • Only travel if absolutely necessary. Roads can become very hazardous very quickly. Always wear a seatbelt, and know road conditions before you leave. Road condition information is available from the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) 24/7 by calling 511 or going to www.511Virginia.gov
  • Have emergency supplies in your vehicle. If you are stranded you will need water, food, blankets, flashlight and extra batteries at a minimum.
  • Avoid overexertion while shoveling snow and cleaning up from the storm, no matter your age or physical condition. Shoveling snow or pushing a car can bring on a heart attack or make other medical conditions worse.

Additional information, including a video on making sure you and your vehicle are ready for the snow, can be found on a blog post from this past Friday.

Snow Prediction Map from the National Weather Service

Snow forecast for the next 48 hours, from the National Weather Service. Map updated at 3:44 p.m., Feb. 11, 2014.

Winterize Your Vehicle

Posted at 2:30 p.m.

Fairfax County has already experienced several rounds of winter weather, including snow and ice/freezing rain, and no doubt more inclement weather is ahead.

Our Office of Emergency Management (OEM) encourages you to make sure that your car or truck is ready for more winter weather, but that you also make plans to put together — or update – an emergency supply kit for your car.

Whitney Kazragis, community outreach liaison with OEM, notes that it’s not too late to prepare your vehicle. She provides more details, including what items to have in your vehicle’s emergency kit (remember the mess in Atlanta two weeks ago?), in the video below.

 
For more winter preparedness information, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/emergency/hazards/winter-storm-snow-cold.htm.

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