Posted at 8:35 a.m.
The Statewide Tornado Drill is this morning at 9:45 a.m. Our emergency management office will send a Community Emergency Alert Network (CEAN) message announcing the drill so you won’t forget to participate. If you are not registered for CEAN alerts, take this opportunity to do so.
What You Should Do During the Drill?
- You should act as though a tornado warning has been issued for the immediate area or a tornado has been sighted near your home or office building. Move as quickly as possible to the nearest shelter or other safe place. Use stairs to reach the lowest level of a building; avoid using elevators.
- Make sure that any visitors to your office know that this is a drill, not a real event. Assist any visitors to shelter.
- In a real tornado emergency, once you reach a safe area, crouch as low as possible to the floor, facing down and cover your heads with their hands. Ensure that everyone in your organization knows this. You can practice crouching down.
Tornadoes can happen anytime, anywhere with little or no warning. Knowing what to do when seconds count can save lives. How will you respond to a tornado warning?
Know the Terms:
- Tornado Watch – Conditions are favorable for a tornado and that tornadoes are possible.
- Tornado Warning – A tornado has been sighted or has been indicated by National Weather Service Doppler radar and might be headed your when. When a warning is issued, take cover immediately.
Do You Know What to Do if a Tornado Approaches?
If a tornado is headed your way:
- Shelter immediately in the nearest substantial building. Go to the building’s basement.
- If there is no basement in your home or office, move to a small, windowless, interior room such as a closet, bathroom or interior hall on the lowest level of the building.
- If you are in a high rise building go into an interior room or hallway on the lowest floor possible.
- When shelter is not available, lie flat in a ditch or other low-lying area (do not get under an overpass or bridge).
For more information or assistance with emergency planning, contact our emergency management office at 571-350-1000, TTY 711.
Posted at 10:12 a.m.
Twice a year, we either turn our clocks back or move them forward to begin or end Daylight Saving Time (DST). And this weekend is no different.
Overnight tonight — actually 2 a.m. tomorrow, Sunday, March 10 — it’s time to move our clocks forward one hour from 2 a.m. standard time to 3 a.m. DST.
Here are two things we’re encouraging before you go to bed tonight to make sure you’re prepared for any possible emergency:
- Change the batteries in your smoke alarms.
- Check your emergency supply kits (both in the home and vehicles) to make sure they’re fully stocked. If not, make a quick list of what you’ll need to do to get them ready.
For years, fire officials have encouraged changing the batteries in your smoke alarms every six months, and what better reminder than Daylight Saving Time. Since it only takes a couple of minutes to change your batteries, go ahead and take a few more minutes and check your emergency supplies.
Do you have flashlights with extra batteries in case your power goes out? Is your kit stocked with enough water? (It’s recommended to have one gallon per person per day.) How about non-perishable food items? Do you have a few items assembled? And what about any other special items you may need for infants or pets.
Being prepared for emergencies shouldn’t be overwhelming or complicated. This week’s snowstorm and the upcoming tornado season should be good motivation to have what you need to be ready.
Helpful hints can be found online as well as in the video below.
Our emergency management office can provide assistance as well. Call them next week at 571-350-1000, TTY 711 if you have any questions about emergency preparedness, what kind of supplies you should put in your kit or if you need a presentation to your Homeowners Association about emergency supply kits.
Posted 4:45 a.m.
County and School Status
• Fairfax County Government offices are open today, Thursday, March 7, with no unscheduled leave.
• All Fairfax County public schools will open two hours late today. All offices will open on time. School Age Child Care (SACC) centers will open on time.
• The Fairfax County Circuit Court, General District Court and Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court are open today.
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 http://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
• Fairfax Connector bus service may be affected by the inclement weather. Check the Connector Web page at www.fairfaxconnector.com for the current operating status.
• For information about FASTRAN, call 703-222-9764, press 8; TTY 711, or online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/ncs/fastran.htm.
• 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.
Though the winter storm warning has been cancelled for Northern Virginia, a wind advisory is in effect until 11 p.m. tonight. Gusts of up to 50 mph are possible, with the strongest winds along and east of I-95. The winds may bring down more tree limbs and power lines and could make driving challenging, particularly in high-profile vehicles. Temperatures are expected to be above freezing tonight, but there is still a possibility of icing in some locations. If you must be out on the roads, please keep the wind and other conditions in mind and travel with caution.
Some parts of the county received very heavy, wet snow today. Anyone planning to shovel should should remember that in addition to the weight of the snow, cold weather puts an extra strain on the heart. If you have heart disease or high blood pressure, follow your doctor’s advice about shoveling snow or otherwise exerting yourself in the cold. This video offers tips and techniques for safe shoveling.
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.
Posted 12:44 p.m.
We need your help. Fire hydrants may need be to be cleared in your neighborhood. The expected snow accumulations combined with the after-effects of plowing roads may result in many fire hydrants partially or completely buried in snow. By keeping fire hydrants clear of snow, you can help firefighters to easily locate hydrants and access water quickly, preserving valuable time to potentially save lives and structures while the snow is still on the ground.
Take note of hydrant locations in your neighborhood and help keep them clear! Thanks.
Posted 11:40 a.m.
A winter storm warning is still in effect and snowfall rates are picking up as the brunt of the storm is hitting us now. In general, we can expect a total of 6-10 inches of snow in Fairfax County depending on your location. See the map with the latest predictions.
We’ve been publishing key information this morning and here’s a list of topics we’ve shared:
- Power Outages
- Downed Trees
- VDOT Snow Plowing Map
- Trash Collection
- Calling 9-1-1
- Heart Conditions/Snow Removal
- County Offices Closing at Noon and Public Meeting Cancellations
As the snow intensifies, think about neighbors who may need help either removing snow or just a check in to see how they’re doing.
Posted 10:41 a.m.
Fairfax County Government offices and services will close at noon today. Emergency personnel are still required to report for duty. Libraries will be closing at 11 a.m.
Most public meetings have been cancelled for this evening. School activities are cancelled the rest of the day. Courts are also closed.
Posted 9:55 a.m.
We can’t stress the following information enough because the snow that’s expected to fall will be very heavy and wet. In addition to the weight of the snow, cold weather puts an extra strain on the heart. If you have heart disease or high blood pressure, follow your doctor’s advice about shoveling snow or performing other hard work in the cold. Otherwise, if you have to do heavy outdoor chores dress warmly and work slowly. Remember, your body is already working hard just to stay warm, so don’t overdo it.
While some heart attacks are sudden and intense, many heart attacks start slowly with mild pain or discomfort. If you or someone you are with begins to have chest discomfort, especially with one or more of the other signs of a heart attack, call 9-1-1 right away.
If you have family members or neighbors with heart conditions, remind them of this information; try to find someone to help remove the snow.
Posted 9:09 a.m.
The Virginia Department of Transportation handles snow removal on most roads in Fairfax County. If you’re wondering about the status of plowing on major and secondary roads, check out VDOT’s new snow plowing map.
Learn how it works in this video:
Major routes are treated with chemicals and plowed once two inches have fallen. In subdivisions and other low volume roads hills and other trouble spots are treated with sand and plowed when two inches have accumulated.
In Northern Virginia, VDOT has one snow removal program for high volume roads such has Interstates 66, 95, 395, 495, Routes 1, 7, 15, 28, 50, Fairfax County Parkway, etc.), and another snow removal program for subdivisions (main thoroughfares in neighborhoods, residential streets and cul de sacs). Therefore, crews will be working on high volume roads and in subdivisions concurrently. Within each of these programs, roads with the highest traffic volumes are cleared first.
VDOT reminds motorists to use caution when driving during wintry weather. Drivers should:
• Check current weather, road conditions and traffic before traveling at www.511Virginia.org or by calling 511
• Slow down and allow for extra time to reach your destination
• Be aware of potentially icy areas such as shady spots and bridges
• Keep a safe distance of at least five seconds behind other vehicles and trucks that are plowing the road
Posted 8:35 a.m.
The “Snowquester” storm includes heavy, wet snow and strong winds, with gusts as high as 35-40 mph. Downed trees and downed power lines are expected — and we’re starting to get a few reports.
In all cases, stay away from downed wires near downed trees. Electricity can travel through tree limbs. Never remove tree limbs or other items that are touching or near a downed wire.
If a tree hits your home:
- Get everyone safely out of your house. Go to a nearby shelter (another home or open public facility) to stay dry and out of the elements.
- Use your cell phone or go to a neighbor and call 9-1-1.
- Stay away from the home until public safety employees can access the home for structural stability and ensure utilities are controlled.
- Only after all of these safety measures have taken place should you call your insurance company.
For downed trees near roads or not into a home:
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.
- Removal is the property owner’s responsibility.
Posted 7:50 a.m.
Please only call 9-1-1 if you have an emergency today. Do not call 9-1-1 to report power outages; call your utility company.
If you have a police/fire non-emergency needs, call 703-691-2131, TTY 711.
The Police Department has implemented its accident policy, which means accidents are too numerous so they will not respond to minor fender benders, only personal injury accidents.
If for some reason you are unable to reach 9-1-1, use these alternate numbers: 703-691-2131 or 703-691-2233. These numbers may be used for either emergency or non-emergency calls. Do not call these numbers for power outage information.
Posted 7:27 a.m.
The forecast calls for heavy snow and wind, which may impact power lines and cause outages. Here is what you can do to be prepared:
- Save important phone numbers to your phone or write them down, especially your power company.
- Make sure you have a battery powered radio. We will work with radio media.
- View tips from Dominion Virginia Power and NOVEC
- Dominion Virginia Power outages and downed wires: 1-866-DOM-HELP (1-866-366-4357), TTY 711; also on your mobile device.
- NOVEC (Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative) outages and downed wires: 1-888-335-0500 or 703-335-0500, TTY 711.
- Stay away from downed wires as they may be live with electricity. Call 9-1-1 or police non-emergency number 703-691-2131, TTY 711, if you see downed lines.
- Do not use candles as they may pose a fire threat.
- Be sure to operate generators safely.
If you lose power, turn off major appliances such as heat pumps, water heaters and stoves. Unplug other appliances such as TVs, stereos, microwaves and computers. This will prevent damage to appliances and possible overloads when power is restored.
An electrical power outage will affect the safe storage of refrigerated and frozen foods. Perishable food such as meat, poultry, seafood, milk and eggs that are not stored properly refrigerated or frozen may cause illness if consumed. In order to protect these foods from spoilage and save them for your use during the emergency, follow these guidelines.
Posted 7:12 a.m.
County trash and recycling collection service in sanitary districts has been cancelled for Wednesday, March 6. The current plan is to collect trash and recycling from Wednesday and Thursday customers on Thursday, March 7, as conditions permit.
If you have private trash collection, contact your provider.