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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.

Prepare for Possible Power Outages

(Posted 4:09 p.m.)

You can lose power at any time for a variety of reasons.

Add in heavy rains + saturated ground + high wind gusts + potentially wobbly trees, and that’s a recipe for possible power outages.

Plan Ahead

  • Keep your digital devices charged!
  • Back up critical files on your computer.
  • Unplug electrical equipment. Spikes and surges could occur as power is restored, damaging equipment.
  • Make sure that your emergency supply kit can be found easily if the lights go out.
  • If you use well water, pre-plan by filling a bathtub with water for use with sanitation, etc.

If Your Power Goes Out

  • Report your outage! Never assume a neighbor has reported it.
    • Dominion Virginia Power: 1-866-DOM-HELP (1-866-366-4357), TTY 711; view outage map
    • Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative (NOVEC): 1-888-335-0500 or 703-335-0500, TTY 711; view outage reports
  • Use a flashlight or battery-powered lantern for emergency lighting. Never use candles.
  • Unplug electrical equipment until a steady power supply returns.
  • If you have a police, fire or medical emergency, call or text 9-1-1. For non-emergency needs, call 703-691-2131.

Food Safety

Food safety is a big concern if you lose power for a long time. Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. First use perishable food from the refrigerator. An unopened refrigerator will keep foods cold for about 4 hours.  More tips:

power-outage-food-infographic

 

Who to Contact If You Experience Flooding

(Posted 12:13 p.m.)

All of this heavy rain until Saturday may lead to some flooding in your home, business or other location.

We’ve provided 8 ways to prepare for potential floods, but in case you have to respond to a flood, here’s who to contact:

  • Rising water that threatens your safety, call 9-1-1.
  • Storm flooding during regular business hours (Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.), call 703-877-2800, TTY 711.
  • For after-hours storm flooding emergencies that are not life threatening, call 703-323-1211, TTY 703-239-8498, and state that you are reporting a storm sewer emergency; this number is staffed 24 hours a day.
  • For sanitary sewer flooding, call 703-323-1211, TTY 703-239-8498.
  • If you have damp walls or floors, contact a water removal or restoration company.

If a Tree Falls: What to Do and Who to Call

(Posted 10:10 a.m.)

Downed trees may become an issue in the next few days with the combination of soaking rainfall and gusty winds in the forecast. We want you to be safe and know what to do if a tree falls:

If a Tree Falls Into Your Home

  1. Get everyone safely out of your house. Use your cellphone or go to a neighbor’s house and call 9-1-1.
  2. Stay away from the home until public safety employees can access your home for structural safety (as well as ensuring your utilities are OK or should be turned off.)
  3. Only after all of these safety measures should you then call your insurance company.

If a Tree Falls on a Road or Other Land

It does matter where a tree falls:

  • Adjacent to Public Roads: Contact Virginia Department of Transportation at 1-800-FOR-ROAD (TTY 711).
  • On County Parkland: Contact Fairfax County Park Authority at 703-324-8594 (TTY 703-324-3988).
  • Posing Hazard to Public Areas: Contact Fairfax County Urban Forestry at 703-324-1770 (TTY 703-324-1877).
  • On Private Property: Removal is the property owner’s responsibility.

If a Fallen Tree Puts Downed Power Lines on Your Car

Always avoid downed power lines. However, if you are driving and a fallen tree causes downed power lines to come in contact with your car, you should take these safety steps:

  • Call 9-1-1 and stay in the car until help arrives.
  • However, if staying in the car puts you in physical danger, for instance the car is on fire, follow these steps:
    • Open the door and avoid touching the framework.
    • Jump out of the car as far as you can.
    • Use short shuffling footsteps until you are clear of the area.

And after the storm passes, avoid tree trimming scams that are rampant in our community.

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