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Flood Insurance — Why It’s Important

Posted at 2 p.m.

National Flood Insurance ProgramDid you know the Atlantic hurricane and typhoon season lasts through November?

As standard homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover flooding, it’s important to have insurance for flood damage.

If you live in an area prone to flooding, be sure to take advantage of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

Visit www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart for more details, including your flood risk based on address, estimate premiums and more. Also, you can find information and resources covering the different types of property insurance at www.usa.gov/property-insurance.

Virginia Hurricane Season Flood Insurance Twitter Chat

Posted at 2:30 p.m.

Flood Insurance Twitter Chat, 2 p.m. on Thursday, June 30, 2016

Flooding is the most prevalent natural disaster in Virginia.

Just a few inches of water inside an average house can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage, and yet a flood insurance policy can cost just over $100 a year for those living in a low- to moderate-risk area.

The Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) will host its first Twitter chat to discuss flood insurance in Virginia. Emergency management officials will be joined by the Virginia State Corporation Commission and National Flood Insurance Program representatives to answer questions on this topic.

Make plans to join the conversation using the hashtag #GetReadyVA on Thursday, June 30, from 2-3 p.m. (EDT).

To find your official flood map, access a range of other flood hazard products and take advantage of tools for better understanding flood risk, visit the FEMA Flood Map Service Center, the official public source for flood hazard information produced in support of the National Flood Insurance Program.

Severe Thunderstorms Expected This Weekend; Heavy Rain and Flooding are Possible

Posted at 10 a.m.

The National Weather Service (NWS) has advised county officials that we can likely expect severe thunderstorms and weather this weekend — most likely in the afternoon and evening hours.

According to the NWS forecast, the county is likely to receive ½ inch to ¾ inch of rain within a one hour period and 2 to 3 inches in a six hour period.

NWS also notes that it is possible, especially on Sunday, that we could receive a maximum rainfall of 2½ inches in a one hour period and 4 inches in a six hour period in localized areas. These higher rainfall totals are expected to be localized and associated with small thunderstorm cells.

We can also expect tidal anomalies of about 1 foot to 1½ foot higher than normal.

Precautions

Residents in areas prone to street flooding may want to take precautions and move vehicles to higher elevations. Don’t park in restricted areas and try to avoid parking under trees when possible.

Move any valuables from the basement, especially if your basement has flooded before.

With all high-intensity rainfall, street flooding is possible. If there is any possibility of a flash flood:

  • Move immediately to higher ground.
  • Do not wait for instructions to move.
  • Be aware of streams, drainage channels and other areas known to flood suddenly.
  • Flash floods can occur in these areas with or without such typical warnings as rain clouds or heavy rain.

And please remember to keep children away from creeks and their potentially rapidly rising waters.

You also may want to check storm drains and gutters to ensure that they are not clogged. Blocked stormdrains prevent the flow of rain 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 debris to help alleviate potential flooding and to protect the environment. At no time, however, should you 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.

Additional Information

Public safety, public works and emergency management staff will continue to monitor the storm throughout the weekend, along with conditions on the ground, and will send emergency alerts if the situation changes. You can sign up for these alerts, along with severe weather alerts, from Fairfax Alerts at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/alerts.

The complete forecast can be found online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/emergency/weather-forecast.htm.

Flooding FAQ’s – www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dpwes/navbar/faqs/flooding.htm

Hurricane and Flooding Preparedness Week, May 22-28

Posted at 2:30 p.m.

Of all the weather events that impact Virginia the most, hurricanes top the list. Historical storms like Camille, Fran, Floyd, Isabel, Gaston and Irene are a reminder to inland and coastal residents that significant flooding, damages and loss of life can occur in Virginia.

To emphasize the importance of preparing for hurricane season, Gov. Terry McAuliffe has designated this week, May 22-28, as Hurricane and Flooding Preparedness Week in Virginia.

Hurricane season starts June 1 and continues through Nov. 30.

Colorado State University hurricane researchers are predicting (PDF report) a near-average hurricane season for the Atlantic basin with 12 named storms, five to become hurricanes and two to reach major hurricane strength (Saffir/Simpson category 3-4-5) with sustained winds of 111 miles per hour or greater.

The National Weather Service (NWS) considers hurricanes among nature’s most powerful and destructive phenomena. Even when hurricanes make landfall in other states, they can still cause significant damage and loss of life in Virginia. In fact, some of the worst storms in Virginia’s history were from hurricanes that made landfall in other states. Tropical storms or depressions can be just as damaging or deadly as a hurricane.

Learn more about hurricanes and how you can prepare.

Flood Watch in Effect for Fairfax County Through This Evening

Flood Watch for Fairfax County, Va.

Posted at 9:35 a.m.

Fairfax County and surrounding areas are under a flood watch issued by the National Weather Service through this evening. A flood watch means there is a potential for flooding based on current forecasts.

The time for the greatest threat of  flooding will be from this afternoon through tonight.

Feb. 16, 2016 weather forecast graphic

Rain, mainly before 2 p.m. with a high temperature near 48. Southeast wind 13 to 17 mph becoming west in the afternoon; winds could gust as high as 24 mph. The chance of precipitation is 100 percent with precipitation amounts between three quarters and one inch possible.

Because normal drainage areas may be blocked by snow and ice, coupled with today’s rain and melting snow as temperatures rise above freezing, small streams and tributaries may overflow their banks.

Here’s two important safety reminders:

  • Never drive through flooded roadways. Road beds may be washed out under flood waters. Turn Around, Don’t Drown.
  • Keep children away from creeks and their potentially rapidly rising waters.

Continue to monitor weather forecasts throughout the day and be alert for possible flood warnings. If you live in an area that is prone to flooding, be prepared to take action should flooding develop.

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 you 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.