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Video: Safety Tips for Driving in the Rain

Posted at 7:40 a.m.

The morning commute is always interesting here in Northern Virginia — but add rain and things can get complicated.

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has some good guidance for safe driving in the rain, like keeping extra distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you. Also, turn on your lights anytime it’s raining. Check out the video for more tips.

And most importantly, remember to turn around, don’t drown if you encounter high water or standing water on area roadways.

It is impossible to tell the exact depth of water covering a roadway or the condition of the road below the water.

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.

It’s a Rainy Commute

Posted at 6:50 a.m.

keep calm and slow downOvernight rain continues this morning, making for a messy commute. The National Weather Service has also issued a flood warning until 10:45 a.m.

If you’re on the road this morning, please take a few extra minutes and drive with caution. Roads are wet — so slow down.

Before 5 a.m. this morning, law enforcement reported several roads affected by water. Here’s what we know about right now:

  • Chantilly: Multiple vehicle accident is blocking Route 28 northbound prior to Willard Road.
  • Fairfax Station: Burke Lake Road is closed at Jeremiah Court due to flooding.

If you encounter closed roads or roads affected by high water, do not attempt to drive through. Turn around and find an alternate route. And if possible, report any road issues to our non-emergency telephone number, 703-691-2131.

Today’s forecast calls for rain showers, with thunderstorms also possible after 8 a.m. Get more details on the weather forecast online, and be sure to sign up for Fairfax Alerts for severe weather alerts.

 

Flash Flood Watch Issued; Heavy Rain Possible

Posted at 4:20 p.m.

The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a flash flood watch in effect from 6 p.m. this evening, Wednesday, Sept. 28, through Friday morning, Sept. 30.

A powerful low pressure system over the midwest will bring periods of heavy rain to our area tonight through Thursday night. NWS reports that widespread rainfall is expected with localized spots potentially getting up to a foot of rain. NWS notes that we should expect rain beginning this afternoon and continuing through Friday afternoon; heaviest amounts are expected to occur between midnight tonight and Thursday.

Precautions and Actions

These next few days will require more than the usual awareness, planning and preparations.

  • If you are near streams or drainage ditches, keep an eye on them and be ready to quickly seek higher ground. Water may rise rapidly.
  • Clear out storm drains and gutters to ensure that they are not clogged.
  • Those prone to basement flooding should prepare. Move items off basement floors and consider moving valuables to an upper level of your home.
  • Communities prone to flooding should prepare. Move vehicles to higher elevations. Don’t park in restricted areas and try to avoid parking under trees when possible.
  • Be prepared to take action if a warning is issued for where you are or if flooding is observed.

Continue to check in on the forecast for updates. Warnings will be issued for areas where flooding is imminent. Ensure that you get warnings from the National Weather Service through your mobile phone and or NOAA weather radio. Sign up for severe weather alerts from Fairfax Alerts.

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.

Turn Around Don't Drown

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

In addition, remember if you experience water on roads, Turn Around. Don’t Drown. A mere 6 inches of fast-moving flood water can knock over an adult. And it takes just 12 inches of rushing water to carry away a small car, while 2 feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles. It is never safe to drive or walk into flood waters.

Stormdrains

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 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.

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.

 

Flood Watch Issued for Heavy Rain and Melting Snow

Posted at 12:15 p.m.

T

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.