Posted at 2:40 p.m.
The National Weather Service forecast indicates that the county could expect a maximum of 2 inches of rain within the next hour, and Fairfax County is under a flash flood watch. Showers with embedded areas of heavy rainfall will continue through tonight.
Although it won’t be raining all the time, periods of heavy rain will leave the ground water logged resulting in potential flooding.
A flash flood watch means that conditions may develop that lead to flash flooding. Flash flooding is a very dangerous situation. You should monitor later forecasts and be prepared to take action should flash flood warnings be issued.
Huntington and Belle View/New Alexandria Communities
If this amount of rain falls in the Cameron Run watershed county officials expect significant street flooding in the Huntington area. As a precaution, residents in the Huntington area are advised to move vehicles to higher elevations. We also may experience localized street flooding near the intersection of Olde Towne Road and Wood Haven Road and the vicinity of 6700 West Wakefield Drive in the Belle View/New Alexandria areas.
At this time, county officials do not anticipate any structural flooding in the Huntington or Belle View/New Alexandria areas based on the latest forecast, nor do anticipate any structural flooding if we should receive the full amount of rainfall.
Public safety, public works and emergency management continue to monitor the storm and conditions on the ground throughout the county and will send additional alerts if the situation changes.
Our Police blog is reporting on impacted roads and road closures due to the heavy rain. Check the blog for the most current list of affected roads and note that all roads may not be listed at this time. Don’t risk driving through water covered roadways. Remember the saying: “Turn Around. Don’t Drown!”
Posted at 12:45 p.m.
The National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm watch in effect until 8 p.m. this evening, Thursday, May 15.
In addition, a flash flood watch is in effect from 6 p.m. tonight through Friday afternoon for Fairfax County and the National Capital Region. A flash flood watch means that conditions may develop that lead to flash flooding.
Showers and scattered thunderstorms are expected with periods of heavy rain developing late this afternoon and continuing through midday Friday. The heaviest rain will be late tonight into Friday morning. Rainfall amounts of 2 to 4 inches are expected with locally higher amounts possible. This amount of rainfall has the potential to produce flash flooding, especially in urban areas and along small rivers and streams.
Huntington and Belle View/New Alexandria Residents
Based on the latest NWS forecast, county officials estimate that if we receive localized rainfall of 1-1/2 inches of rain within a one hour period, residents will likely experience minor street flooding in the Huntington area. As a precaution, residents in the Huntington area are encouraged to move vehicles to higher elevations.
County officials also believe that residents experience localized street flooding near the intersection of Olde Towne Road an Wood Haven Road and the vicinity of 6700 West Wakefield Drive in the Belle View/New Alexandria areas. However, no structural flooding in the Huntington or Belle View/New Alexandria areas is anticipated based on the latest forecast. Staff from the county’s Public Works and Environmental Services, public safety and emergency management offices will continue to monitor the storm and provide updates if the forecast or anticipated conditions worsen.
- This Afternoon: A chance of showers and thunderstorms after 2pm. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 81. Southeast wind 14 to 16 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%.
- Tonight: Showers and possibly a thunderstorm. Some of the storms could produce gusty winds and heavy rain. Low around 62. Southeast wind 13 to 16 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New rainfall amounts between 2 and 3 inches possible.
- Friday: Showers and possibly a thunderstorm. Some of the storms could produce heavy rain. High near 71. South wind 9 to 13 mph becoming north in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New rainfall amounts between three quarters and one inch possible.
- Friday Night: A chance of showers between 8pm and 2am. Cloudy, then gradually becoming partly cloudy, with a low around 48. Calm wind becoming northwest around 6 mph after midnight. Chance of precipitation is 30%.
- Saturday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 72. West wind 7 to 13 mph.
Continue to monitor weather forecasts and be prepared to take action should flash flood warnings be issued. You should also sign up to receive weather alerts on your mobile device, as well as by email, from the Community Emergency Alert Network (CEAN). Sign up at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/cean.
Posted at 4:20 p.m.
Fairfax County and the surrounding areas have received a lot of rain in the past 24 hours, and while the intensity has decreased, rain is still falling in certain areas and roadways are wet, which affects your ability to quickly stop your vehicle during your afternoon commute.
Here are some safety tips to keep in mind this afternoon and evening as you travel.
First, turn on your headlights and your windshield wipers. Your wipers are obvious, but unfortunately, many of us forget to turn on our headlights, which helps us be seen by others on these overcast, grey rainy days.
Once in your vehicle and on your way, remember to give yourself plenty of space around other vehicles. AAA Mid-Atlantic suggests on three-lane roads to drive in the middle lane. They say that most roads are higher in the middle, which means there’s a greater chance of water runoff and standing water in the side lanes.
Be sure to slow down when you see water standing on the surface of the pavement, especially on freeways. Also, drive in the tracks left by any vehicle ahead.
If hydroplaning does occur, do not brake. Instead, ease your foot off the accelerator to gradually decrease speed until your tires regain traction, and continue to look and steer where you want to go. In fact braking in wet conditions is tricky business. Sudden, hard or prolonged braking can cause a skid.
If your vehicle is equipped with anti-lock brakes (ABS), all you need to do is press the brake pedal and hold it down. Do not pump the brakes, because ABS does that very rapidly for you. The system automatically senses if a wheel begins to lock and quickly releases and reapplies the brakes as many times as necessary to keep the wheel from locking up.
If your vehicle is not equipped with anti-lock brakes, the best way to brake under these conditions is to use squeeze braking. For squeeze braking, keep your heel on the floor and use your toes to apply pressure on the brake pedal. If the wheels lock, ease off the brake pedal to a point where they just release. Adjust pedal pressure as necessary. This gives you the best combination of braking effort and directional control.
Flood Warning and Flash Flood Watch
The National Weather Service has extended the Flood Warning for Fairfax County until 9 p.m. tonight and a Flash Flood Watch remains in effect through late tonight.
Rapidly moving water is powerful and can be a threat to vehicles as well as people and property. Please stay away from rapidly rising creeks and streams and don’t drive through roads covered in water. You can’t tell how deep the water may be, so remember to turn around, don’t drown.
Weather information is online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/emergency/weather-forecast.htm.
Posted at 2 p.m.
The National Weather Service has issued a Flash Flood Warning until 4:15 p.m. this afternoon for Fairfax County and other portions of Northern Virginia.
At 1:17 p.m., NWS Doppler radar indicated very heavy rain capable of producing flash flooding. Up to three inches of rain has fallen in the last 24 hours. Additional rainfall amounts of up to 1 inch can be expected.
Please remember to turn on your headlights anytime you turn on your wipers, but also if it’s overcast or rainy — like today. The short video below from the California Department of Motor Vehicles does a good job of showing why you need to turn on your headlights. Plus, it’s also the law!
Posted at 11:55 a.m.
The National Weather Service has issued a Flood Warning for Fairfax County until 3 p.m. this afternoon.
A flood warning means that flooding is imminent or has been reported. Stream rises will be slow. However, you should take necessary precautions immediately.
Most flood deaths occur in automobiles. Never drive your vehicle into areas where the water covers the roadway. Flood waters are usually deeper than they appear. Just one foot of flowing water is powerful enough to sweep vehicles off the road. When encountering flooded roads make the smart choice – turn around, don’t drown. Bruce McFarlane with our Emergency Management Office offers this advice.
And please keep your children inside and away from streams and creeks.
Our emergency management office, in consultation with NWS, reports that anywhere from 1.25 to 2 inches of rain had fallen across Fairfax County this morning with another 1.5 inches of rain expected between noon and 6 p.m. Rainfall totals should approach 5-6 inches over the course of the storm.
Huntington and Belle View/New Alexandria
For residents in the Huntington area, there could be some street flooding sometime today. County officials also report that residents in the Belle View/New Alexandria area could experience localized street flooding today. You should continue to move your vehicles to higher elevations if you have not already done so.
Fairfax County’s public works and emergency management officials do not anticipate any structural flooding at this time in either of these communities, but staff are continuing to monitor the storm — including our Emergency Operations Center — and will provide updates to residents if conditions change. Be sure to sign up for weather alerts to ensure that you receive these messages.
Get more on the weather forecast at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/emergency/weather-forecast.htm.
Posted at 11 a.m.
Fairfax County is now under a Coastal Flood Advisory and a Flash Flood Watch beginning this evening at 10 p.m. A flash flood watch means that there is the potential for flash flooding. Flash flooding is a very dangerous situation. Rapidly moving water is powerful and can be a threat to vehicles as well as people and property.
The National Weather Service (NWS) Hazardous Weather Outlook forecasts thunderstorms Wednesday afternoon and evening that will be capable of producing torrential rainfall and damaging wind gusts.
NWS reports that rain will continue through Wednesday night with the heaviest rain expected tonight through tomorrow night. Storm total rainfall amounts will average between 3 and 5 inches with locally higher amounts likely. Heavy amounts of rain in short periods of time may cause flash flooding of creeks streams and urban areas.
Flooding causes more damage in the U.S. than any other weather related event and is the second leading cause of weather related fatalities in the U.S. (behind heat). On average, floods cause $8 billion in damages and over 80 fatalities annually.
Just six inches of fast-moving water can knock over an adult. Only 18 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.
Bruce McFarlane is with our Emergency Management Office and offers this advice if you’re in your car.
And please remember to keep your children inside and away from streams and creeks.
Get more information about flood safety and what you should do before, during and after a flood at www.floodsafety.noaa.gov. Here’s a list of areas in the county that have previously flooded. For more information on flood safety tips and information, visit ready.gov/floods or the Spanish-language website listo.gov.
In addition, continue to monitor weather forecasts and be prepared to take action should warnings be issued. A warning would mean that we have moved from the possibility of flooding to a flooding situation in a specific area.
UPDATE: 4:25 p.m.
This afternoon’s flood warning has been canceled by the National Weather Service.
Posted at 3:45 p.m.
The National Weather Service has issued a Flood Warning for urban areas and small streams in Eastern Fairfax County until 7 p.m. this evening, Tuesday, April 15.
Around 3 p.m. this afternoon, observations indicated one to two inches of rain had fallen today between Burke and Springfield. Area streams were on the rise and some flooding of low-lying areas near streams, as well as low spots on roads near the stream crossings, is expected this afternoon.
A flood warning means that flooding is imminent or has been reported. Stream rises will be slow. However, you should take necessary precautions immediately. Excessive runoff from heavy rainfall will cause elevated levels on small creeks and streams and ponding of water in urban areas such as highways, streets and underpasses as well as other poor drainage areas and low lying spots.
If you encounter excessive water on area roads, remember to “Turn Around; Don’t Drown.” And please keep children indoors and away from streams or creeks that may rise rapidly.
Get more on the weather forecast at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/emergency/weather-forecast.htm.
Updated 12:50 p.m.
The National Weather Service has cancelled today’s tornado watch. Rain will continue throughout the day.
Posted at 10:15 a.m.
The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a Tornado Watch for Fairfax County and surrounding areas until 5 p.m. today, Monday, Oct. 7. In addition, NWS has issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook, which states that a strong cold front will move into the Mid-Atlantic states today.
NWS reports that showers and isolated thunderstorms could produce a period of heavy rainfall this afternoon with localized flooding mainly in urban locations. An isolated tornado and locally damaging wind gusts are possible with any thunderstorms that develop.
Showers likely, then showers and possibly a thunderstorm after 11 a.m. High near 74. South wind 9 to 17 mph becoming west in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 28 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100 percent. New rainfall amounts between three quarters and one inch possible.
Posted 2:06 p.m.
From our afternoon conference call with the National Weather Service:
- The worst of the storm will hit our area between 3-4 p.m. Not all areas of our large county may be affected.
- The most severe aspects of the storm (very strong winds) are predicted to last about 30-40 minutes.
- The winds are the biggest concern, with gusts up to 70 mph.
- We could receive 1-2 inches of rain, which could lead to some localized flooding.
What you can do:
- Secure outdoor items if you’re at home.
- Keep a close eye on watches, warnings and forecasts.
- View map of roads that historically flood and be aware of flood threats while driving. Keep children away from creeks as water may rise rapidly (we’ve had loss of life before).
- Keep your phones charged in case you lose power. If you lose power, contact your provider (Dominion or NOVEC).
- If trees come down, stay away from any downed wires. Here’s who to contact if a tree falls.
- Only call 911 in an emergency. Call 703-691-2131, TTY 711, for public safety non-emergencies.
Listen to Dave McKernan, our Office of Emergency Management coordinator, discuss the storms in less than one minute:
Posted 6:52 a.m.
There are two main lines of thunderstorms associated with today’s weather that may affect Fairfax County.
The first line will be between 8 and 10 a.m. and could impact the morning commute. However, this will be the less severe of the two lines of storms. The second storm will be in the area between 2 and 8 p.m. and could produce gusts in excess of 60-80 MPH. The storms are fast moving and should not last in any one area very long.
Sustained winds over the course of the day will be between 15-25 MPH, with gusts up to 35 MPH. Total rainfall is expected to be between 1-2 inches. Isolated tornado threats are still possible for Fairfax County, however the higest risk will be along the I-95 corridor between Washington D.C. and Baltimore.
In case you missed it yesterday, here are 7 tips to prepare for this storm.