Posted 7:50 p.m.
- Fairfax County Government offices will be open on time Friday, Feb. 20, 2015, however employees have been granted unscheduled leave. Emergency service personnel should report as scheduled.
- The Fairfax County Circuit Court, General District Court and Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court also are open on time on Feb. 20.
- Fairfax County Public Schools will be closed Feb. 20. School Age Child Care (SACC) centers will be closed.
Status for Parks, Community and Recreation and Community Centers
- If you have questions about Park Authority facilities, contact the site directly, call the Parks inclement weather line at 703-324-8661, TTY 711, or visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks.
- For Department of Neighborhood and Community Services programs and events visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/ncs or call 703-324-4600, TTY 711.
- The Reston Community Center and the McLean Community Center may be affected by the inclement weather. Call RCC at 703-476-4500, TTY 711, www.restoncommunitycenter.com or MCC at 703-790-0123, TTY 711, www.mcleancenter.org for their current operating status.
Status for Transportation: Connector, Fastran
- Fairfax Connector bus service may be affected by the inclement weather. Check the Connector Web page at www.fairfaxconnector.com for the current operating status.
- For information about Fastran, call 703-222-9764, press 8; TTY 711, or online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/ncs/fastran.htm.
Recycling and Trash
- Check the status of collection if you live in a county service area. Most county residents have services with a private collector; contact your provider with questions.
- View the public meetings calendar for any potential cancellations of public meetings of Fairfax County Government Boards, Authorities or Commissions.
Posted at 8:10 p.m.
Our emergency operations center is staffed this evening and we’ve been noticing a slow, but steady rise in the number of electrical meters being reported out at both Dominion Virginia Power (report outages to 1-866-DOM-HELP [366-4357]) and Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative (report outages at 1-888-335-0500).
The snow is expected to taper off soon — but winds are expected to pick up and sustain intensity overnight — and more outages and downed trees and power lines should be expected.
What happens if you do lose power tonight? Perhaps the better question is what not to do:
- Use a flashlight only for emergency lighting. Never use candles.
- When using a portable generator, connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator. Do not connect a portable generator to a home’s electrical system.
- Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area. Locate the unit(s) away from doors, windows and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors.
- Unplug electrical equipment. Spikes and surges could occur as power is restored, damaging equipment.
- While you have electricity, be sure to charge any batteries you need to run portable electronic devices (such as cellphones) that you use regularly.
- Make sure that your disaster supply kit is complete and that it 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.
You may also want to do some pre-planning for options should you and your family lose power late tonight — or even overnight. Are there friends you could stay with? Why not go ahead and reach out and check … just in case.
Posted at 5:50 p.m.
Love is in the air, but as we posted on our Facebook page earlier today, so is the potential for dangerous wind chills (-15 degrees), frostbite, high winds (40-60 mph), power outages and some snow beginning around 6 p.m. today through Sunday afternoon. (forecast)
If you must go outside this evening, please bundle up. Also, remember to bring in pets and secure outdoor items. Plan to check in on homebound neighbors/friends too.
If you see someone outside and unsheltered, call 703-691-2131.
Possible Power Outages
With the high wind warning in effect tonight from 6 p.m. until 2 p.m. tomorrow afternoon, residents are advised that downed trees and power lines may result in power outages. Minor structural damage is possible and driving high profile vehicles in these conditions will be dangerous.
In case you lose electricity, be ready to report power outages.
- You can contact Dominion Virginia Power at 1-866-DOM-HELP (1-866-366-4357).
- Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative (NOVEC) customers should call 1-888-335-0500.
- Additional emergency phone numbers
With the potential for power outages, also be sure to charge your electronic devices — think your cellphone.
Posted at 12:30 p.m.
The National Weather Service winter weather advisory remains in effect until 10 a.m. tomorrow, Tuesday, Jan. 27.
A winter weather advisory for snow means that periods of snow will cause primarily travel difficulties. Be prepared for snow covered roads and limited visibilities, and use caution while driving.
Get the complete forecast
This Afternoon’s Commute
The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is encouraging commuters in Fairfax County and across Northern Virginia to prepare for the afternoon commute, which is expected to be much more difficult than this morning as rain and wintry mix increases to snow throughout the day.
VDOT is asking drivers to commute/travel in the early afternoon if possible, prior to 4 p.m., to get ahead of increasing precipitation and dropping pavement temperatures expected this evening.
Between this morning’s rush hour and the afternoon rush today, VDOT crews will be applying a light application of salt, or mix of salt and liquid magnesium chloride, to problem spots such as bridges, ramps, hills and overpasses on main roads and in neighborhoods. Crews will continue to treat roads through the evening rush and overnight tonight.
Bridge and pavement temperatures are forecasted to be at or below freezing from 6 p.m. today through mid-day Tuesday.
If out on area roads, please use caution, particularly in neighborhoods where slick conditions may develop this evening.
Finally, with perhaps the first major storm of the winter approaching, don’t forget to sign up for weather alerts from Fairfax Alerts.
Our Office of Emergency Management provides the service for free; you just have to sign up. You can receive alerts on up to 10 devices, such as home phone, mobile phone (including text) and email, as well as receive alerts geo-targeted to up go five locations, such as home, work or school locations for children.
Posted at 4:25 p.m.
A wind chill advisory is in effect from 10 p.m. this evening until 8 a.m. tomorrow, Thursday morning, Jan. 8. A wind chill advisory means that very cold air and strong winds will combine to generate low wind chills. This can result in frostbite and lead to hypothermia if precautions are not taken. If you must venture outdoors, make sure you wear a hat and gloves.
The National Weather Service forecast calls for mostly cloudy conditions overnight, then gradually becoming clear, with a low around 8 degrees. Wind chill values will be as low as -5, with blustery, Northwest winds 15 to 21 mph, with gusts as high as 33 mph.
What You Can Do
- If you see an unsheltered person who may be at risk of hypothermia, call the police non-emergency phone line at 703-691-2131, TTY 711.
- Fairfax County’s emergency homeless shelters have additional capacity during winter months to take in people overnight who are at risk of hypothermia. Emergency personnel will determine which shelter option is best in the situation. Learn more about our emergency shelters and hypothermia program.
- You are encouraged to check in on elderly or other housebound people you may know to make sure they have enough heat and food.
- With the cold temperatures, snow that fell Tuesday can refreeze and create hazardous icy conditions, including black ice, so drive cautiously and be careful walking outside.
- Remember to clear your sidewalks of snow and ice so your neighbors and children can safety walk through the neighborhood. More details about shoveling snow can be found at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/shovel.
- Because the temperatures predicted over the next few days may be deadly to pets, the animal shelter is offering temporary, emergency housing for cats, dogs and small companion animals. If you or someone you know needs to utilize this service, contact the shelter at 703-830-1100, extension 2, or call the police non-emergency number 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.
- If you care for feral, outdoor cats make sure they have access to shelter and follow these tips from the ASPCA to ensure outdoor cats are kept safe in cold weather:
- Do not leave your pets in cars during cold weather. The inside of a car can act as a refrigerator and your pet can quickly freeze to death.
Posted at 3:30 p.m.
The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory for snow, in effect from 4 a.m. until 1 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 6. A winter weather advisory for snow means that periods of snow will cause primarily travel difficulties. Be prepared for snow covered roads and limited visibilities, and use caution while driving.
Snow, possibly moderate at times, is expected with accumulations up to 2 inches possible under the heaviest precipitation bands. The snow is expected late tonight through Tuesday morning including the morning traffic rush, with the heaviest snow from 6 to 11 a.m. This snow, accumulating on surfaces below freezing, will make for hazardous travel conditions.
The Virginia Department of Transportation is preparing for the snow and will have crews treating area roads with salt and sand Tuesday morning, and will begin plowing after about two inches of snow has accumulated.
Tuesday’s high is expected to be above freezing (35 degrees), but the forecast calls for below freezing temperatures on Wednesday and Thursday, so be sure to dress in several layers of lightweight clothing, coat, mittens/gloves, hat and shoes/boots, and take precautions against the cold.
Watch for signs of frostbite:
- These include loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in extremities such as fingers, toes, ear lobes, and the tip of the nose.
- If symptoms are detected, get medical help immediately.
Watch for signs of hypothermia:
- These include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness, and apparent exhaustion.
- If symptoms of hypothermia are detected, get the victim to a warm location, remove wet clothing, warm the center of the body first and give warm, non-alcoholic beverages if the victim is conscious. Get medical help as soon as possible.
Posted at 1:20 p.m.
A National Weather Service winter weather advisory has been issued for Fairfax County for tomorrow, Wednesday, Nov. 26, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The advisory is for snow accumulations of anywhere between 2 to 5 inches in the far Northern and Western suburbs of Washington, D.C. and Baltimore. Md., and a coating to an inch near Interstate 95.
A winter weather advisory means that periods of snow will cause travel difficulties. Be prepared for slippery roads and limited visibilities and use caution while driving.
The National Weather Service indicates that rain will change to snow between 8-11 a.m. tomorrow morning with the heaviest snow occurring through 2 p.m. Wednesday. Snow will taper off late Wednesday afternoon with temperatures in the lower to middle 30s. Winds will be north becoming northwest 10 to 15 mph with gusts around 20 mph.
With this advisory, the National Weather Service warns that roads may become snow covered and slippery, mainly across the far Northern and Western suburbs of D.C. and Baltimore. Snow will also reduce the visibility.
If you are traveling on Wednesday:
- Get where you need to be before the weather gets bad.
- Be aware of winter storm watches and warnings and the effect of weather on road conditions.
- Before beginning your trip, know the current road conditions and weather forecast. For statewide highway information 24 hours a day, call 511 or go to 511virginia.org.
The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) also offers these suggestions to make sure your vehicle is ready for winter driving and encourages you to to check your:
- Brakes and tires.
- Battery and ignition system.
- Antifreeze and thermostat.
- Windshield wipers and de-icing washer fluid.
- Headlights, tail and brake lights, blinkers and emergency flashers.
- Exhaust system, heater and defroster.
- And properly lubricate door locks that may be prone to freezing.
Get more winter preparedness information online.
Posted at 2 p.m.
One of the big improvements in the county’s new alert system — Fairfax Alerts — is the ability to customize weather alerts specifically the way you want them and when you receive them.
If you’re not signed up yet for Fairfax Alerts, do so right now! And customize your weather alerts once you’ve signed in.
Posted at 1 p.m.
This week, June 22-28, is Lightning Safety Awareness Week. Summer is the peak season for one of the nation’s deadliest weather phenomena — lightning.
According to a recent report from NOAA (PDF), June, July and August are the peak months for lightning activity across the U.S. and the peak months for outdoor summer activities. As a result, almost two thirds of lightning deaths occurred to people who had been enjoying outdoor leisure activities; more than 70 percent of these lightning deaths occurred during the summer months with Saturdays and Sundays having slightly more deaths than other days of the week.
Have you heard these lightning myths? If there’s lightning, lay down flat on the ground. Seek shelter under a tree. And don’t touch someone who’s been struck or you’ll get shocked. Yes, all of these statements are myths. Here’s the truth:
- If you lay down on the ground, you’re more exposed to electrical currents running underground.
- Never seek shelter from lightning under a tree. It is actually the second leading cause of lightning fatalities.
- If someone is struck by lightning, don’t be scared to assist him or her immediately. The human body does not store electricity and helping them immediately could be essential to their survival.
Before you go out in the rain, know the facts.
- Lightning often strikes the same place repeatedly, especially if it’s a tall, pointy, isolated object. The Empire State Building is hit nearly 100 times a year! (The presence of metal makes absolutely no difference on where lightning strikes.)
- Most cars are safe from lightning, but it is the metal roof and metal sides that protect you, not the rubber tires.
- A house is a safe place to be during a thunderstorm as long as you avoid anything that conducts electricity.
How many lightning myths have you heard?
Posted at 11:20 a.m. /Updated 3:03 p.m.
Last night’s storm caused a significant number of downed trees and power outages in the Belle Haven/New Alexandria area. Public safety, emergency management and public works personnel are in the area responding. Please use caution in the area.
If you have a power outage, call Dominion Virginia Power at 1-866-DOM-HELP (1-866-366-4357), TTY 711; or Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative (NOVEC) at 1-888-335-0500 or 703-335-0500, TTY 711 depending on who provides your electrical service.
Other important emergency numbers can be found at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/emergency/emergency-phone-numbers.htm.
Posted at 10 a.m.
This week — especially today — is hot and humid outside. Temperatures will be in the upper 90s today and it only “cools” down to the upper 80s later this week, definitely weather fitting for the first day of summer this Saturday.
If you work outdoors, especially anyone doing heavy work tasks or using bulky protective clothing and equipment, you should take steps to prevent heat illness:
- Drink water often.
- Take breaks.
- Limit time in the heat.
And please remember — never leave children or pets alone in a closed vehicle!
Fairfax County Cooling Centers
With these high temperature and heat index, there is an increased risk of heat-related illness for those without air-conditioning or those outdoors for an extended period.
During extremely hot days, there is plenty that you can do to stay cool, like go to a movie, stroll through a shopping center or visit one of Fairfax County’s Cooling Centers:
Please check the operating hours to ensure the facility is open before arriving. Remember — resting for just two hours in air conditioning can significantly reduce heat-related illnesses.
There are many tips online for staying cool; heat safety tips are available online also. Residents who need help to keep their home cool may be able to get assistance from two programs locally administered by the county.
Anyone overcome by heat should be moved to a cool and shaded location. Heat stroke is an emergency — call 9-1-1 for immediate, life-saving help.
Find more information from the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Virginia Department of Health as well as the county’s emergency Web page.