Archive by Author | Fairfax County Emergency Information

Flood Watch Issued for Heavy Rain and Melting Snow

Posted at 12:15 p.m.


he National Weather Service has issued a flood watch from noon today, Wednesday, Feb. 3, through late tonight, which means that there is a potential for flooding based on current forecasts.

The combination of melting snow and periods of heavy rain could result in flooding of urban areas and streams this afternoon and tonight. Rainfall amounts will average between one half and one inch, with isolated spots between one and two inches possible. In addition, ice may be on some of the small streams which could enhance the flooding potential.

Please continue to monitor the weather forecast and be alert for possible flood warnings. Those living in areas prone to flooding should also be prepared to take action should flooding develop.

Turn Around. Don’t Drown

turn around don't drownSix inches of fast-moving flood water can knock over an adult. As little as 12 inches of flowing water can carry away most vehicles, including SUVs.

Safety first – if you are unsure about the amount of water on a flooded road, Turn Around. Don’t Drown. With heavy rain in the forecast for today, here are a few reminders from our Police Department to keep you safe during a flood:

  • Always plan ahead and know the risks before flooding happens.
  • If flooding is expected, or is occurring, get to higher ground fast! Leave typical flood areas such as ditches, ravines, dips or low spots and canyons.
  • Never drive through flooded roadways. Road beds may be washed out under flood waters. Turn Around Don’t Drown.

Get more tips on the Police blog.

Clear Storm Drains

Blocked stormdrains prevent the flow of rain and melting snow from reaching streams and stormwater detention ponds. The water then backs up into streets and yards and may flood basements. Blocked stormdrains also may damage residential and commercial property and cause traffic delays.

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.

Property owners are responsible for driveway culverts and bridges that are part of the driveway structure and are not public storm drainage system structures. Storm drains outside rights-of-way and easements are privately maintained by the property owner.

To report a blocked storm drain, call Fairfax County Stormwater Management, 703-877-2800, TTY 711, or the Virginia Department of Transportation at 703-383-8368, TTY 711.

Fairfax County Government Open With Unscheduled Leave for Employees for Thursday and Friday, Jan. 28 and 29; Schools Closed

Government, Schools and Courts

  • Fairfax County Government offices will be open on Thursday and Friday,  Jan. 28 and 29, however employees have been granted unscheduled leave. Emergency service personnel should report as scheduled.
  • Fairfax County Public Schools will be closed on Thursday and Friday, Jan. 28 and 29. School Age Child Care (SACC) centers will be closed.
  • The Fairfax County Circuit Court, General District Court and Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court will be open.

Due to the historic snow fall government facilities will have limited parking and some restricted travel lanes. Also, due to refreezing some walkways may be hazardous. Please be cautious and patient as we work to get back to normal.

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
  • For Department of Neighborhood and Community Services programs and events visit 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, or MCC at 703-790-0123, TTY 711, for their current operating status.

Transportation: Connector, Fastran

Public Assistance Lobbies/SkillSource

The Department of Family Services employment/SkillSource centers and public assistance lobbies may be affected by inclement weather.  Call 703-324-7500, TTY 711, for the current operating status.


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

View the public meetings calendar at for any potential cancellations of public meetings of Fairfax County government Boards, Authorities or Commissions.

operating status update

Who Maintains/Plows Your Road? Check This Map

Posted 10:15 a.m.

As the blizzard cleanup continues, we understand there’s frustration in some neighborhoods about snow removal. This storm dumped a whole winter’s worth of snow on us in two days. We continue to ask for your patience for everyone who’s trying to help dig out.

So who plows the roads? In most cases it’s the state Virginia Department of Transportation or a homeowner’s association. VDOT recognizes the frustration:


Fairfax County does not plow neighborhood roads (with a small, tiny exception of a few roads). We’re focusing our snow removal efforts on public buildings like police stations, fire stations, government centers and libraries.


Who Maintains Your Road

If you’re not sure who maintains your roads, we have a map that shows every owner of every road.

Simply enter your address:

maintenance map example


Who to Contact

Once you find out who maintains your road, it’ll likely be the Virginia Department of Transportation or a private entity like a homeowner’s association.

To contact VDOT, call 1-800-FOR-ROAD (1-800-367-7623). Please know we’re hearing of long wait times to get through because the storm affected most of the state.


Track VDOT Snow Plow Progress

You can track snow plow progress on VDOT’s snow plow tracker website. It will show you the status of roads and where plows are located.

snow plow map


VDOT Crews Clearing All Roads, Including Subdivisions

Posted 4:10 p.m.

(From the Virginia Department of Transportation, which is responsible for most roads in Fairfax County)

As of 3 p.m., interstates in Northern Virginia are improving quickly, with most pavement showing. Major routes are in minor to moderate condition, and secondary roads remain moderate to severe. Crews are also working around the clock to clear the 16,000 neighborhood streets in Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William counties.

Crews are working hard to make major routes passable today and tomorrow. With the extremity of this storm and the need for special equipment to move snow in subdivisions, crews are working to make all neighborhood roads passable over the next several days. Check for plow progress near your house.

Drivers are reminded to not travel today, as traffic will hinder plows.

What Residents Should Know

  • Plows will provide a path through neighborhoods that is drivable with caution for an average passenger vehicle. The path will not be curb-to-curb or bare pavement, and may remain uneven and rutted, especially with refreeze.
  • Chemicals are not typically used in subdivisions, but crews will sand hills, curves and intersections as needed to provide traction.
  • In many neighborhoods, front-end loaders and motor graders will be required to move snow where there is not enough room to push.
  • Crews are asked to be mindful of pushing large piles onto driveways, but in an extreme storm is an unintended consequence of making roads passable.
  • To give crews a chance to finish their plow assignments, VDOT asks that residents wait 48 hours after the storm is over before reporting “missed” roads.

Special Equipment Sought for Neighborhoods

VDOT invites contractors with loaders, motor graders and operators to contact VDOT Northern Virginia’s procurement office at 703-259-3240.


Other VDOT Resources



Sunday Blizzard Update: 5 Things to Know

Posted 9:25 a.m. / Updated 1:50 p.m.

(UPDATE: Government, Courts and Schools Closed Monday)

The blizzard is over!

The sun is out!

But the cleanup has just begun. The keyword of the day will be patience.

The historic storm has resulted in a challenging few days for Fairfax County residents and those working hard to keep the community safe. We ask that the community be patient. It will take several days for things to get back to normal and this will be a multi-day clean up. 

Here’s an update from our Emergency Operations Center this morning:


Here are a few things to know:

1.) Stay off the Roads

Please continue to stay off the roads. Major roads are still covered in snow, but now that the snow has stopped, the Virginia Department of Transportation can really make progress — and it would help greatly if you are off the roads. You can track VDOT snow plow progress online.

vdot cameras

Also, please don’t walk down the middle of streets as plows are out and about.


2.) Check on Neighbors

Call, text or check in on elderly or homebound neighbors. See if they need anything now that the blizzard has passed.


3.) Sidewalks

Yes, the great dig out in our neighborhoods begins!

It takes a whole community to shovel snow from sidewalks because your state and local governments simply don’t have the resources to clear sidewalks across the whole county.

While not legally obligated, we need your help to keep sidewalks safe by clearing snow in front of residential or business properties so that all pedestrians (especially school children), those with disabilities and the elderly, may walk safely. Our first responders need easy access, too.

Do what you can, take your time and don’t overexert yourself. There’s a lot of heavy snow to clear. Where should you clear?

7 Places to Shovel:

  1. The sidewalk in front of your home.
  2. The sidewalk in front of vacant homes or homes where residents are unable to shovel.
  3. Fire hydrants.
  4. Bus stops.
  5. Sidewalks/paths that lead to schools or community buildings.
  6. Bike trails.
  7. Stormdrains.


4.) Fire Hydrants

We have hundreds of fire hydrants in the county that need some TLC so we’re all safe. Every second counts if there’s a fire. We need you to adopt fire hydrants and dig them out.

We have a fire hydrant locator map as a reference guide to find ones near you.

Be like this guy:


5.) Clear Snow From Cars

When the roads are ready, you’ll want to break out of cabin fever. If you have a car, PLEASE make sure you clear all of the snow from atop your car.

Don’t be like this guy:


Stay Informed

We have many ways you can choose to stay informed as we dig out from this blizzard:


County and Private Trash/Recycling Update

Posted 7:02 p.m.

To ensure the safety of trash truck drivers, Fairfax County has suspended the requirement for trash and recycling collection for the week of Jan. 25-30 for all collection companies operating in the county. This will provide the opportunity for workers to clear streets to allow travel to resume safely. Snow-covered roads make trash and recycling collection very difficult.

However, collection may resume before Jan. 30; it will depend on road conditions and your provider’s decision.

Residents should pull their containers away from the curb to allow snowplows to clean streets.


P.M. Blizzard Update

Posted 3:45 p.m.

The blizzard is still here until around midnight.

Here are some things to know this afternoon/evening:


Every Second Counts: Clear Fire Hydrants During Blizzard

Posted 2:05 p.m. / Updated Feb. 3

With feet of snow falling, digging out fire hydrants will be critical to your neighborhood’s safety.

Every second counts if there’s a fire. We need you to adopt fire hydrants and clear them.


Stay Informed

We have many ways you can choose to stay informed during this blizzard:

Neighborhoods! Mobilize Together for Sidewalk Snow Removal

Posted 1:06 p.m.

With more than two feet of snow in some places, this blizzard has challenged our shoveling resolve! Snow removal will take days of work. Snow clearing is underway at 196 schools and centers. You can help by clearing neighborhood sidewalks.

Work as a community to plan. Reach out to your neighbors and talk about who is able to pitch in.


Do Not Park on Snow Emergency Routes

While the state (VDOT) and homeowner associations primarily plow roads, 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.

Here are some things to consider when working out your snow removal plans:

  1. What areas are priority for clearing to keep your neighborhood and residents safe? If you live in an apartment complex, how can you help?
  2. Who will shovel out fire hydrants so our Fire and Rescue Department has easy access?
  3. Can you volunteer to use/share equipment such as small snow blowers for a community removal effort.
  4. Shovel snow into the yard instead of into the street to minimize the problem of a plow covering your driveway with snow after you’ve just shoveled it (though with these predicted snow amounts, expect the end of your driveway to be covered a couple of times over).
  5. Do some neighbors need assistance in clearing their walkways (due to age, health conditions, disability, etc.)?
  6. Consider your health condition. If there is any reason that shoveling snow might be dangerous for you, such as a heart condition, consult your doctor before shoveling?
  7. If neighbors are on vacation (lucky them!), can someone chip in and clear their snow?
  8. Keep the openings of storm drains clear of snow and debris to help alleviate potential flooding.
  9. Make sure that all parking spots identified as accessible parking spaces for people with disabilities are cleared of snow.
  10. Who will make the snow angels? :-)

snow removal


Stay Informed

We have many ways you can choose to stay informed during this blizzard:

Do Not Park on Snow Emergency Routes

Posted 11:12 a.m.

Fairfax County’s emergency routes must be open for first responders and VDOT snow removal efforts. Do not park your vehicles on these dedicated roads before, during or after the blizzard:

snow emergency routes

The Fairfax County Police Department has authority to remove any vehicle that is stalled, stuck, parked or abandoned on an emergency route. The owner or operator of a vehicle that is moved will be responsible for the towing fee, as well as a fine.


Stay Informed

We have many ways you can choose to stay informed during this blizzard:


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