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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

Update on the Track of Hurricane Matthew

Posted at 3:40 p.m.

There has been a significant change in the forecasted track of Hurricane Matthew — and that’s good news for us!

Hurricane Matthew Update

A ridge over the eastern part of the country and a storm coming across the Midwest should push Hurricane Matthew to the southeast of the Mid-Atlantic region. The current forecast has some rain and wind over the area Friday night into Saturday but this is not related to Hurricane Matthew. The storm is still a few days away so the forecast could change again, but the weather models are now starting to converge on this being a low likelihood of any major impact for the region.

Fairfax County Weather Forecast

Overview and Impacts:

  • Hurricane Matthew was positioned just north of Cuba this morning. The official track from the National Hurricane Center has Hurricane Matthew moving northwest to the Florida coast by Friday morning. Matthew is then expected to move north-northeastward and near the Carolina coastlines by Saturday night.
  • The latest forecast guidance has Hurricane Matthew moving northeast and then east from the Carolina coastline Saturday night into Sunday night. This keeps the track of Matthew south of the Mid-Atlantic and direct impacts from Hurricane Matthew are no longer expected.
  • Showers are expected as early as Friday ahead of a cold front. Locally heavy rainfall is possible along and near the Blue Ridge mountains however flooding is not expected at this time. Showers will continue through Saturday when the cold front crosses the region.

Watch the track with the National Hurricane Center’s interactive tracking map.

Our emergency management office will continue to monitor the storm. For updates, follow this blog and be sure to sign up for severe weather alerts from Fairfax Alerts.

Hurricane Matthew Preparedness

Posted at 11:45 a.m.

While Hurricane Matthew is still approximately 7 days away from potentially impacting the Mid-Atlantic region, time will move quickly, especially if the storm continues north on its current track (shown below).

This update is designed to raise awareness for both businesses with large scale/complex responsibilities (major construction projects, major outdoor events, etc.) and residents of the storm’s potential arrival timing.

Overview and Impacts:

  • Hurricane Matthew is currently positioned over western Haiti. The official track from the National Hurricane Center tracks this system across the Bahamas and towards Florida by Thursday night. Matthew is then expected to move north-northeastward and near the Carolina coastlines by Saturday night.
  • The latest forecast guidance has shifted the track of Hurricane Matthew further west and the potential exists for the Mid-Atlantic region to see impacts as early as Saturday.
  • A track into the Mid-Atlantic would bring the threats of tropical storm force winds, freshwater flooding and coastal flooding to the region.
  • Confidence remains low on the exact track as well as the timing of when the system may potentially impact the area.
Matthew is currently a category 4 storm although some slight weakening due to its interaction with land over the next 24 hours it will remain a very strong hurricane for the next couple of days.

Matthew is currently a category 4 storm although some slight weakening due to its interaction with land over the next 24 hours it will remain a very strong hurricane for the next couple of days.

Take time now to review your organization’s commitments/activities for late this week through the weekend to identify if there are any special risks that need to be addressed should the storm track towards us. Now is the opportunity to give yourself time to think about what needs to be done and to start working through your pre-storm checklists.

Our Office of Emergency Management will be monitoring the storm closely and will pass on any relevant updates. Share this blog post with friends and others in your workplace (and ask that they subscribe) and sign up for free severe weather alerts from Fairfax Alerts.

Atlantic Hurricane Season Expected to be Strongest Since 2012

Forecasters Now Expect 70 Percent Chance of 12-17 Named Storms

Posted at 9:30 a.m.

In its updated 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook — released last week — the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) calls for a higher likelihood of a near-normal or above-normal season, and decreases the chance of a below-normal season to only 15 percent, from the initial outlook issued in May. The season is expected to be the most active since 2012.

2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook updated

Image courtesy of NOAA

Forecasters now expect a 70 percent chance of 12-17 named storms of which 5-8 are expected to become hurricanes, including 2-4 major hurricanes. The initial outlook called for 10-16 named storms, 4-8 hurricanes and 1-4 major hurricanes.

The seasonal averages are 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes.

Get more information on hurricanes and hurricane preparedness.

The Atlantic Hurricane Season Officially Begins Today

Posted at 10 a.m.

Today, Wednesday, June 1, is the official start of the Atlantic Hurricane Season.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center has released its outlook for the 2016 hurricane season. Predicting a near-normal season, the Climate Prediction Center highlights that “near-normal” suggests more hurricane activity than the U.S. has seen in the past few years.

Two tropical cyclones have already formed this year already — Hurricane Alex formed in the Northeastern Atlantic in mid-January and Tropical Storm Bonnie formed off the coast of South Carolina just this past Memorial Day weekend.

So while today “officially” begins the Atlantic Hurricane Season, Alex and Bonnie are small reminders that no matter the season, we have many potential disasters and emergencies that could happen at any time.

Take action and be prepared for hurricanes or any emergency situation.

Hurricane preparedness -- getting your supplies