Today is the First Day of Winter

Posted at 11:15 a.m.

Today, Friday, Dec. 21, is a big day! According to the Mayan Prophecy, today marks the end of the world, but today is also the official start of winter.

Assuming you don’t believe that the world ends today — more from NASA on that — you may be interested in the beginning of the winter solstice. And today’s weather in Fairfax County actually looks and feels like winter, with temperatures only in the low 40s today and for the next several days. In addition, winds will be fairly substantial today and this weekend, with gusts up to 55 mph tomorrow. A High Wind Watch is in effect tomorrow morning through Saturday afternoon.

High winds have the potential to bring down trees, power lines, signs and awnings, and can turn unsecured objects — like outdoor holiday decorations — into dangerous projectiles. To prevent damage and injury, bring loose items indoors and fully secure outdoor objects such as lawn furniture or garbage cans.

What else can you do as we experience high winds?

  • Remove any dead trees or overhanging branches and objects in your yard, patio or balcony that could blow away.
  • Strong winds can make driving difficult, especially for those driving high profile vehicles and anyone driving across bridges and overpasses. If you’re driving, maintain a firm grip on the wheel and keep a safe distance between vehicles.
  • If you see a downed power line, call 9-1-1 and also report the downed line(s) to your local utility provider. Do not try to free lines or remove debris yourself.
  • Make sure you have some extra batteries on hand and are prepared in case of power outages. Be sure to report outages to your provider.

Take a few minutes today to prepare for high winds, and as we “officially” start winter, download the National Weather Service publication (PDF) “Winter Storms: The Deceptive Killers” for lots on information on how you can keep your family safe during the coming winter months.

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