Prepare Now for Impacts from Hurricane Florence
Posted at 1:15 p.m.
According to the National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Florence may impact our area later in the week. The storm is currently a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Further strengthening is anticipated, and Florence is expected to be an extremely dangerous major hurricane through Thursday.
On the forecast track, the center of Florence will move over the southwestern Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda and the Bahamas Tuesday and Wednesday, and approach the coast of South Carolina or North Carolina on Thursday.
Preparedness Action To Take Today
We don’t know yet what impact Florence will have on our region, but we are likely to continue to see a lot more rain. Here’s a few things you can do now to prepare.
- Make sure your gutters and downspouts are clear of debris and that water flows away from your home.
- If you live in an area prone to flooding or have had flooding in the past, take precautions to move valuables from the basement; at least move items off the floor onto higher shelves if possible.
- Check your emergency supply kit and replenish any items missing or in short supply, especially medications or other medical supplies. Be sure to you have extra batteries and flashlights in case you lose electricity.
- Purchase a battery-powered or hand-crank NOAA weather radio. Find an online NOAA radio station or download the NOAA radio app for your smartphone (Apple Store | Google Play).
- Review your family’s emergency plan. Does your family know what to do or where to go in case of an emergency or localized flooding? And be sure you know what to do with pets.
- Fill plastic bottles with clean water for drinking.
- Fill your car’s gas tank in case you need to evacuate your home or seek shelter elsewhere.
- Sign up for severe weather alerts from Fairfax Alerts. You can receive these alerts by email and text.
And finally, local creeks and streams are already rising and many reaching capacity. Do not let children play in or near streams or creeks do to the potentially rapidly rising waters.
Hazardous Weather This Week
The National Weather Service has issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook for the potential of severe thunderstorms this afternoon and evening that could lead to locally heavy rainfall with the potential of flash flooding. This hazardous weather outlook continues Tuesday through Sunday with minor to perhaps moderate flooding expected along the Potomac River Basin on Tuesday.
A Flood Warning also has been issued for the Potomac River at Little Falls, from overnight tonight until Wednesday afternoon. The forecast predicts a rise above flood stage by overnight tonight and crest near 11.0 feet by early tomorrow evening. The river is expected to fall below flood stage by late Wednesday morning.
Never Drive Through Flooded Roadways
Flooding is one of the leading causes of weather related fatalities in the U.S. On average, flooding claims nearly 90 lives each year. More than half of these deaths occur in motor vehicles when people attempt to drive through flooded roadways. This happens because people underestimate the force and power of water, especially when it is moving.
Just six inches of fast-moving water can knock over and carry off an adult. Twelve inches of water can float a small car. If that water is moving, it can carry that car away. Eighteen to 24 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.