Posted at 9:20 a.m.
As you and your family are waking up and looking to head out, please consider staying inside — and not out on the road — for a few extra hours to allow temperatures to rise and icy roadways to become more manageable.
The overnight rain/freezing rain and below freezing temperatures have caused numerous issues on county roads — and roads across the region. Multiple accidents have been reported.
The National Weather Service winter weather and freezing rain advisories have also been extended until noon today.
Don’t forget about icy sidewalks as well, so be careful as you take the dog(s) outside or to get the morning paper.
Some Fairfax Connector (@ffxconnector) bus routes/stops have been affected this morning. Even our Fire department (@ffxfirerescue) had a fire engine involved in a crash at Route 50 and I-66 East in the Fair Oaks area of the county this morning due to icy road conditions. The Police department (@fairfaxpolice) also has enacted its accident policy.
Get more on the forecast. And if you haven’t already signed up for Fairfax Alerts, do so here. Among the alerts you can receive on your cellphone and by email are customized weather alerts as well as severe traffic alerts.
Bottom line … stay off the roads until temperatures rise and ice melts. If you must be out, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) reminds you to slow down and allow plenty of extra time to reach your destination (PDF).
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.
Posted at 6:50 a.m.
Overnight 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.
Posted at 5:05 p.m.
Road conditions remain treacherous around the region this afternoon and there are multiple road closures throughout the county. Fairfax County 9-1-1 has received calls from drivers asking about abandoning their vehicles. These vehicles will be towed at the owner’s expense. If you can safely move your vehicle out of travel lanes you can call a tow truck to get the vehicle home; any vehicle left for more than 12 hours or deemed a road hazard by the police will be towed.
Abandoned vehicles may also contribute to accidents and the owner will be ticketed in this event. Exiting your vehicle puts you and other drivers in danger. If your vehicle is stuck and you are in danger, call 9-1-1, but otherwise you should have it towed.
Please remain off the roads if possible. Visibility is limited, temperatures are dropping and conditions are further deteriorating.
More than 3,800 trucks continue to plow roads in Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William and Arlington counties according to VDOT. Staying off the roads allows crews to work safely. Crews are spreading salt and abrasives, as appropriate, concentrating their response efforts on the most heavily traveled routes. VDOT’s goal is to have all state-maintained roads passable within 48 hours after a storm ends. This storm; however, may deliver a second punch as temperatures drop to record levels and icy conditions remain likely into Friday.
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.