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Update on the Track of Hurricane Matthew

Posted at 3:40 p.m.

There has been a significant change in the forecasted track of Hurricane Matthew — and that’s good news for us!

Hurricane Matthew Update

A ridge over the eastern part of the country and a storm coming across the Midwest should push Hurricane Matthew to the southeast of the Mid-Atlantic region. The current forecast has some rain and wind over the area Friday night into Saturday but this is not related to Hurricane Matthew. The storm is still a few days away so the forecast could change again, but the weather models are now starting to converge on this being a low likelihood of any major impact for the region.

Fairfax County Weather Forecast

Overview and Impacts:

  • Hurricane Matthew was positioned just north of Cuba this morning. The official track from the National Hurricane Center has Hurricane Matthew moving northwest to the Florida coast by Friday morning. Matthew is then expected to move north-northeastward and near the Carolina coastlines by Saturday night.
  • The latest forecast guidance has Hurricane Matthew moving northeast and then east from the Carolina coastline Saturday night into Sunday night. This keeps the track of Matthew south of the Mid-Atlantic and direct impacts from Hurricane Matthew are no longer expected.
  • Showers are expected as early as Friday ahead of a cold front. Locally heavy rainfall is possible along and near the Blue Ridge mountains however flooding is not expected at this time. Showers will continue through Saturday when the cold front crosses the region.

Watch the track with the National Hurricane Center’s interactive tracking map.

Our emergency management office will continue to monitor the storm. For updates, follow this blog and be sure to sign up for severe weather alerts from Fairfax Alerts.

Hurricane Matthew Preparedness

Posted at 11:45 a.m.

While Hurricane Matthew is still approximately 7 days away from potentially impacting the Mid-Atlantic region, time will move quickly, especially if the storm continues north on its current track (shown below).

This update is designed to raise awareness for both businesses with large scale/complex responsibilities (major construction projects, major outdoor events, etc.) and residents of the storm’s potential arrival timing.

Overview and Impacts:

  • Hurricane Matthew is currently positioned over western Haiti. The official track from the National Hurricane Center tracks this system across the Bahamas and towards Florida by Thursday night. Matthew is then expected to move north-northeastward and near the Carolina coastlines by Saturday night.
  • The latest forecast guidance has shifted the track of Hurricane Matthew further west and the potential exists for the Mid-Atlantic region to see impacts as early as Saturday.
  • A track into the Mid-Atlantic would bring the threats of tropical storm force winds, freshwater flooding and coastal flooding to the region.
  • Confidence remains low on the exact track as well as the timing of when the system may potentially impact the area.
Matthew is currently a category 4 storm although some slight weakening due to its interaction with land over the next 24 hours it will remain a very strong hurricane for the next couple of days.

Matthew is currently a category 4 storm although some slight weakening due to its interaction with land over the next 24 hours it will remain a very strong hurricane for the next couple of days.

Take time now to review your organization’s commitments/activities for late this week through the weekend to identify if there are any special risks that need to be addressed should the storm track towards us. Now is the opportunity to give yourself time to think about what needs to be done and to start working through your pre-storm checklists.

Our Office of Emergency Management will be monitoring the storm closely and will pass on any relevant updates. Share this blog post with friends and others in your workplace (and ask that they subscribe) and sign up for free severe weather alerts from Fairfax Alerts.

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.

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.


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.

Multi-Day Heat Wave to Bring Excessive Heat

Posted at 11:55 a.m.heat

The National Weather Service is forecasting a multiple day heat wave Friday, July 22 through Monday, July 25. You should expect excessive heat with temperatures in the upper 90s with heat indices at or above 105°F (Fahrenheit). The hottest days appear to be Saturday, July 23 and Sunday, July 24 when heat indices could approach 110°F.

A heat dome will build over the region from the Midwest and cause temperatures to soar into the upper 90s and may reach 100°F. This, when combined with high humidity, will create dangerous heat indices exceeding 105°F.

Please use caution this weekend and remember these heat safety tips:

  • Never leave children or pets alone in a closed vehicle.
  • Drink plenty of fluids: Drink two to four glasses of cool fluids each hour.
    • Your body needs water to keep cool. Drink water even if you don’t feel thirsty.
    • Do not drink caffeinated or alcoholic beverages because they dehydrate the body.
  • Keep cool indoors: If you can, stay in an air-conditioned area.
    • Ensure your home’s cooling system is working properly before it is truly needed.
    • Resting for just two hours in air conditioning can significantly reduce heat-related illnesses.
    • Consider spending the warmest part of the day in public buildings such as libraries, schools, movie theaters, shopping malls and other community facilities, including the county’s cooling centers.
    • Electric fans may provide comfort, but with temperatures in the 90s, fans will not prevent heat-related illness.
  • Avoid strenuous physical activities or reschedule outdoor activities for the coolest part of the day, usually the early morning. Limit physical activity until your body adjusts to the heat.
  • Wear sunscreen to prevent sunburn. Sunburn makes it more difficult for your body to cool off.
    • Wear light-colored clothing, which helps reflect sunlight.
  • Eat light meals, avoiding high-protein foods because they increase metabolic heat.
  • Don’t take salt tablets unless directed by a physician.

Heat Safety

Learn more about extreme heat and how to stay safe, as well as precautions to take for the vulnerable and pets.