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Have Fun this Weekend at Celebrate Fairfax … And Learn About Hurricane Preparedness

Posted at 11 a.m.Celebrate Fairfax

This weekend, June 8-10, at Celebrate Fairfax, the county’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM) will be on the scene with a hurricane-themed escape room that will help you prepare for hurricanes — a timely event since the Atlantic Hurricane Season started June 1. And forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center say the Atlantic could see another above-normal hurricane season this year.

The goal of the display is to educate individuals and families about hurricanes and the risks associated with them, along with general emergency preparedness information.

Grelia Steele, community outreach manager with OEM, says in the audio clip below that participants will form teams to try and solve a series of puzzles before a mock hurricane strikes. The hurricane will be simulated by noise. And prizes will be given out to the top teams.

Steele adds that if you like solving puzzles and using your critical thinking skills, you should make a stop in the OEM booth — located in the HUB section of Celebrate Fairfax (see map) — part of your weekend fun. You will be challenged!

To learn more about Celebrate Fairfax, including hours and cost of admission, visit

For additional information on emergency preparedness, visit And to sign up for severe weather alerts by text and/or email, sign up for Fairfax Alerts at

NOAA Releases 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook

2018 hurricane season outlook

Posted at 11 a.m.

Forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center say the Atlantic could see another above-normal hurricane season this year, which extends from June 1 to Nov. 30.

2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is forecasting a 75-percent chance that the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season will be near- or above-normal. Forecasters predict a 35 percent chance of an above-normal season, a 40 percent chance of a near-normal season, and a 25 percent chance of a below-normal season for the upcoming hurricane season.

Hurricane Preparedness

While hurricanes typically don’t strike Fairfax County directly, we often feel the effects of these storms with high winds and heavy rainfall, which can lead to localized flooding. Here are a few preparedness steps you can take today.

For more information on hurricanes, visit as well as NASA’s hurricanes webpage.

Health Employees Respond to Hurricane Recovery Efforts

Posted at 1:30 p.m.

nvironmental health specialists from Fairfax County are among those being deployed to the U.S. Virgin Islands to assist with the long-term recovery efforts from hurricanes Irma and Maria. The group includes five environmental health specialists, including one who is also a registered nurse. They will assist with identifying, monitoring, assessing and mitigating environmental health hazards.

Virginia will send two Environmental Health strike teams this weekend. They are expected to depart for the islands of St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix on Feb. 11 and return on Feb. 27.

Fairfax County Team Members

St. Thomas/St. John District Team

  • John Yetman, environmental health supervisor
  • Lois Maisel, environmental health specialist
  • Ebonie Miller, environmental health specialist

St. Croix District Team

  • Isaac Robertson, environmental health specialist
  • Ron Campbell, environmental health specialist

“We are excited and honored to be able to provide assistance to areas affected by those devastating storms,” said Dr. Gloria Addo-Ayensu, Fairfax Health Director. “I want to thank the members of our team for their compassionate service. I know they will provide to the residents and visitors of the U.S. Virgin Islands the same professionalism and high quality service to which the citizens of the Fairfax have come to expect.”

The teams, deployed through the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), also include specialists from Virginia Department of Health and Henrico, Roanoke, Three Rivers and Alexandria health districts.

The deployment is in response to an EMAC request — an all-hazards mutual aid agreement between all U.S. states and territories to provide response and recovery resources and support to each other during emergencies or disasters — from the Virgin Islands. Once the mission has been completed and the resources return, the expenses for this deployment will be reimbursed to the county by the Commonwealth of Virginia (through the Virginia Department of Emergency Management), which will seek its reimbursement from the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Updated Atlantic Hurricane Season Forecast: Season Could be Most Active Since 2010

Early-season storms one indicator of active Atlantic hurricane season ahead

Posted at 10:30 a.m.

2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook

On Aug. 9, NOAA — the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration — issued an update to its 2017 hurricane season outlook. Forecasters are now predicting a higher likelihood of an above-normal season, and they increased the predicted number of named storms and major hurricanes. The season has the potential to be extremely active, and could be the most active since 2010.

Forecasters now say there is a 60 percent chance of an above-normal season (compared to the May prediction of 45 percent chance), with 14-19 named storms (increased from the May predicted range of 11-17) and 2-5 major hurricanes (increased from the May predicted range of 2-4). A prediction for 5-9 hurricanes remains unchanged from the initial May outlook.

“We’re now entering the peak of the season when the bulk of the storms usually form,” said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “The wind and air patterns in the area of the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean where many storms develop are very conducive to an above-normal season.”

Bell noted other factors that point to an above-normal season include warmer waters across the tropical Atlantic than models previously predicted and higher predicted activity from available models.

While hurricanes typically don’t strike Fairfax County directly, we often feel the effects of these storms with high winds and heavy rainfall, which can lead to localized flooding.

Make sure you stay ready by keeping your emergency supply kit up-to-date ~ watch a video from our emergency management office on what types of items should go in your emergency kit. Also, be sure you are signed up for severe weather alerts from Fairfax Alerts, delivered by text to your smartphone as well as by email.

2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season

In just the first nine weeks of this season there have been six named storms, which is half the number of storms during an average six-month season and double the number of storms that would typically form by early August. An average Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1-Nov. 30, produces 12 named storms, of which six become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes.

Atlantic Tropical Cyclone Names

Two of these storms, Cindy and Emily, struck the United States. Cindy made landfall on June 22 at the Louisiana-Texas border and caused heavy rain, inland flooding and multiple tornado outbreaks. Emily made landfall on July 31 in Anna Maria Island, Fla.

The update also decreases the chance of a near-normal season from 35 percent to 30 percent, and a below-normal season from 20 percent to only 10 percent from the initial outlook issued in May.

Reprinted from NOAA

2017 Hurricane Preparedness Week Underway

Posted at 11 a.m.

This week (May 7-13) is National Hurricane Preparedness Week.

Hurricanes are one of nature’s most powerful and destructive events and the cause behind eight of the 10 costliest disasters in U.S. history. Hurricanes are not just a coastal concern. High winds, heavy rainfall, tornadoes and flooding can be felt hundreds of miles inland, potentially causing loss of life and catastrophic damage to property.

Hurricane season begins June 1 and ends Nov. 30. Now is the time to prepare.

  • Make a family emergency communication plan.
  • Be sure to include your pets in your emergency preparedness planning.
  • Identify an out of town emergency contact to coordinate information with family and friends.
  • Keep an emergency kit where you spend time — home, car and work.
  • Practice your preparedness plans with a drill or exercise.


Visit for more information about hurricane preparedness. For the current National Hurricane Center map of active Atlantic cyclones and tropical disturbances, visit