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Winter Weather Advisory in Effect Overnight; Snow in Forecast

Winter Weather Advisory

Posted at 10:30 a.m.

A winter weather advisory for snow is in effect from 10 p.m. this evening to 10 a.m. tomorrow, Friday, March 4. The National Weather Service is predicting accumulations between one to four inches across the National Capital Region.

Precipitation will move in initially as a rain and snow mix early this evening before transitioning to all snow late tonight. Snow is expected overnight impacting the morning commute. Snow is expected to taper off by midday Friday.

This snow will cause slippery roads resulting in hazardous travel conditions.

A winter weather advisory for snow means that periods of snow will cause travel difficulties including slippery roads resulting in hazardous travel conditions. Be prepared for snow covered roads and limited visibilities, and use caution while driving.

Snow is in the forecast for March 3-4, 2016Get the complete weather forecast.

 

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.

 

Winter Storm Warning

Posted at 9:40 a.m.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for Fairfax County and surrounding areas for snow and freezing rain, in effect until 4 a.m. tomorrow morning, Tuesday, Feb. 16.

A winter storm warning means significant amounts of snow, sleet and ice are expected or occurring, making travel very hazardous or impossible. Strong winds are also possible.

Snow, sleet and freezing rain are predicted with snow accumulation of 4 to 6 inches along  with around a tenth of an inch of ice. The snow will change to sleet and freezing rain this  afternoon and all freezing rain this evening. Precipitation will gradually change to rain late tonight.

The snow and ice will cause slippery roads and travel will be difficult.

Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) crews have been working throughout the night to plow and treat roads. Snow and ice removal operations will continue as long as conditions exist.

VDOT asks that motorists delay travel as slick conditions could develop quickly, even on treated roads.

  • If you are driving, allow extra time to reach your destination, lower speed and keep a safe distance from other vehicles.
  • Watch out for black ice, especially near bridges, overpasses, ramps and shaded areas.
  • Slow down and allow slow-moving equipment crews, such as snow plow operators, the right of way.

Get more on the forecast.

2-15-16_forecast_graphic

Fairfax County Government offices are closed today, Monday, Feb. 15 for the George Washington’s Day (Presidents Day) holiday. However, some facilities are open and schedules vary. For specific schedule information visit our holiday schedule Web page.

Love is in the Air … As Well as Cold Temperatures and More Snow

Weekend Winter Weather

Posted at 2:45 p.m.

A

h…love is in the air. Valentine’s Day is almost here — Sunday guys in case you’ve forgotten the flowers and chocolates!

Not only is this weekend the time for love though, but brutally cold temperatures along with another chance of snow are in the forecast making this weekend one full of a variety of winter weather conditions.

Today

First, let’s start with today. Snow chances actually start tonight. The National Weather Service (NWS) says there’s a chance of a small amount of snow accumulation tonight, anywhere from 1-2 inches possible between 6-11 p.m.

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is encouraging motorists to finish trips by early afternoon and to use extreme caution during the evening rush hour. With below-freezing temperatures in place and snow showers expected, VDOT reports that they will have 1,150 trucks deployed across the region to continually treat roads.

A hazardous weather outlook has been issued as well as a winter weather advisory from 6 p.m. to midnight. In addition, a wind advisory is in effect tomorrow from 3 a.m. to 6 p.m. A wind advisory means that wind gusts of 45 to 55 mph are expected. You’ll want to secure any outdoor furniture and take care driving high profile vehicles such as vans and SUVs.

cold weekend weather in Fairfax County

Saturday and Sunday

NWS reports that wind chill values below minus five degrees are likely Saturday night into Sunday morning. There also is an enhanced threat of a winter storm late Sunday night through Monday night.

Snow is likely overnight Sunday night (60 percent chance) with a low around 18 and into Monday (70 percent chance) with a high only near Winter Storms Fairfax Alerts32. Snow is expected until about 8 p.m. before turning to rain and snow.

Monday is the President’s Day Holiday for many — including Fairfax County Government — so hopefully that will decrease the number of cars that have to be on the roadways. Just remember … if you don’t have to be out in the inclement weather, don’t. Allow road crews the opportunity to do their jobs.

Keep an Eye on Others

This weekend, be sure to check on your elderly neighbors and help those who may need special assistance, including people with disabilities and children. And if you see someone at night who is unsheltered and you think could be at risk of hypothermia, call the county’s non-emergency phone line at 703-691-2131, TTY 711.

Pets, even those who typically live outdoors, should be brought inside; only take your pet outside for short bathroom breaks and do not leave your pet outdoors unattended. Also, make sure to provide access to non-frozen drinking water at all times.

Video: Keep From Slip, Sliding Away

Posted 8:45 p.m.

The sun was out…but expected below freezing temperatures overnight will bring lots of icy conditions tomorrow. Fairfax County Safety Officer Judy Schambach cautions residents to beware of black ice and offer tips to avoid slips and falls.

Video: Blizzard 2016 Saturday Evening Update

Mike Guditus, Fairfax County Office of Emergency Management, and Don Willis, Virginia Department of Emergency Management, discuss the latest weather conditions and remind residents to stay off the roads, even after the snow ends.

Power Outage? Here’s What to Do

power-outage-twitter-fb

(Posted 5:00 a.m.)

As the storm continues to do its work, you may well find yourself without power. Snow is predicted to continue throughout the day, along with heavy winds. Be prepared and know what to do before your power goes out.

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.

6 Ways to Get Ready for the Blizzard

Posted at 4:50 p.m.

There’s quite the winter storm heading our way — the National Weather Service has issued a Blizzard Watch for this weekend.

 

In its statement, the National Weather Service says:

“Potential life-threatening conditions expected Friday night into Saturday night. Travel is expected to be severely limited if not impossible during the height of the storm Friday night and Saturday.”

 

It’s time to prepare if you haven’t already begun.

This storm has the potential to be extremely disruptive to the whole region and the forecasts show it’s not our typical snow storm event.

Everyone needs to prepare and take this storm seriously. When talking about feet of snow rather than inches, major impacts are guaranteed.

Here’s what we recommend you consider as the storm approaches:

1.) Vulnerable Neighbors

Please check in now with elderly neighbors or other housebound people to ensure they have supplies (food, medicine, etc.). Please keep in touch with them during and after the storm, too. This is vitally important as the most vulnerable in our community could be impacted the most by this blizzard.

2.) Fire Hydrants

With feet of snow in the forecast, digging out fire hydrants will be critical to your neighborhood’s safety. Every second counts if there’s a fire. Make a note now of the nearest fire hydrant whether you’re in an urban setting such as Reston or Tysons, or in a suburban home in Springfield or Chantilly. We need you to adopt fire hydrants and clear them. Here’s how:

firehydrant-snow3

3.) Get Supplies

Of course, the proverbial bread, milk and toilet paper are flying off the shelves around the county. Other recommendations:

4.) Road Snow Removal

The Virginia Department of Transportation is responsible for snow removal on most county roads. When the snow starts, you can track the status of plowing in your neighborhood.

View VDOT Snow Plow Map

snow-removal

5.) Neighborhood Snow Removal

One of the best ways to make sure that walkways and well-traveled paths in your area are cleared of snow is to work as a community to plan in advance. Reach out to your neighbors and talk about who is able to pitch in to help out. The state and the county do not clear snow and ice from public walkways (sidewalks and trails). While not legally obligated, residents and businesses are asked to help keep sidewalks safe.

And this snow removal will take days of work, especially to help clear sidewalks for school next week.

Some things to consider when working out your snow removal plans:

  • What areas are priority for clearing to keep your neighborhood and residents safe?
  • Volunteer to use/share equipment you may have such as small snow blowers for a community removal effort
  • Shovel snow into the yard instead of into the street to minimize the problem of the snowplow covering your driveway with snow after you’ve just shoveled it (though with these predicted snow amounts, expect the end of your driveway to be covered a couple of times over).
  • Do some neighbors need assistance in clearing their walkways (due to age, health conditions, disability, etc.)?
  • Consider your health condition. If there is any reason that shoveling snow might be dangerous for you, such as a heart condition, consult your doctor before shoveling.
  • If neighbors are on vacation (lucky them!), can someone chip in and help out so the whole community is safe?
  • Keep the openings of storm drains clear of snow and debris to help alleviate potential flooding.
  • Make sure that all parking spots identified as accessible parking spaces for people with disabilities are cleared of snow.

6.) Stay Informed

We have many ways you can choose to stay informed:

Winter Weather Safety Tips from the Red Cross

extreme cold and winter weather preparedness

Posted at 12:05 p.m.

As winter temperatures have finally arrived in Fairfax County, many of us now turn our attention to the perils that Old Man Winter can bring, such as extremely cold temperatures, snow, ice and freezing rain and even the loss of electricity.

Before we start sharing in-depth and specific information about the possible major winter storm this weekend, the American Red Cross recently published a list of winter safety tips to help you safely weather the cold.

In Your House

  • If there’s a power outage, go to a designated public shelter to stay warm. Fairfax County has official warming centers available during regular business hours.
  • Keep your thermostat at the same setting day and night.
  • Bring pets indoors. If that’s not possible, make sure they have enough shelter to keep them warm and that they can get to unfrozen water.
  • Run water, even at a trickle, to help stop pipes from freezing. Keep garage doors closed if there are water lines in the garage
  • Before taking on tasks such as shoveling snow, consider your physical condition.
  • If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.

Outside

  • Know the signs of hypothermia – confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and severe shivering. If someone has these symptoms, they should get immediate medical attention.
  • Watch for symptoms of frostbite including numbness, flushed gray, white, blue or yellow skin discoloration, numbness or waxy feeling skin.
  • Dressing in several layers of lightweight clothing keeps someone warmer than a single heavy coat.
  • Mittens provide more warmth to the hands than gloves. Wear a hat, preferably one that covers the ears.
  • Wear waterproof, insulated boots to keep feet warm and dry and to maintain one’s footing in ice and snow.

Remember, when temperatures drop and winter storms roll in, check on your elderly neighbors and help those who may need special assistance, including people with disabilities and children. And if you see someone at night who is unsheltered and you think could be at risk of hypothermia, call the county’s non-emergency phone line at 703-691-2131, TTY 711.

Thanks to the American Red Cross for allowing us to repost this information.

Learn more about winter storm preparedness at www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/winter-storm and www.fairfaxcounty.gov/emergency/hazards/winter-storm-snow-cold.htm.

Wind Advisory and Extreme Cold Temperatures Tonight

Posted at 1 p.m.

Wind Advisory

The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a wind advisory from 4 p.m. to midnight EST tonight. A wind advisory means that wind gusts around 50 mph are expected.

The strongest wind gusts will be between 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., with westerly winds at 20-30 mph with gusts around 50 mph.

Scattered trees and power line damage is possible due to the high winds. Drivers will also have difficulty with the winds, especially those driving high profile vehicles such as SUVs and trucks.

Please secure outdoor furniture and other objects that could become projectiles. Also take care driving high profile vehicles.

In addition to the winds, temperatures are forecast to be around 19°F, which means it will be extremely dangerous for anyone outside for extended periods of time. If you see an unsheltered person who might need hypothermia help, please call 703-691-2131.

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