Posted at 1:40 p.m.
A National Weather Service wind advisory is in effect until 7 p.m. this evening. A wind advisory means that winds of 45 to 55 mph are expected. Winds this strong can make driving difficult, especially for high profile vehicles.
East winds 25 mph, with gusts to 45 mph, are expected through early evening tonight. These strong winds may blow down limbs, trees and power lines. Scattered power outages are to be expected.
Our fire and rescue department reports that from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. today, units have already responded to 21 calls for reports of downed power lines.
Downed power lines can be deadly. Always assume a downed power line is live and avoid going near it or anything in contact with it.
Posted at 4:30 p.m.
A winter weather advisory is in effect from midnight tonight until 6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 14. A winter weather advisory means that periods of snow, sleet and freezing rain will cause travel difficulties. Be prepared for slippery roads and limited visibilities; use caution while driving.
Snow, sleet and freezing rain, with snow accumulation of up to 1 inch along with around a trace of ice is possible affecting the area late tonight through tomorrow.
For more winter preparedness and safety information, visit our winter weather guide.
Posted at 2:15 p.m.
The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) reports this afternoon that they have crews and contract crews preparing for plummeting temperatures and a gamut of winter weather forecast this weekend for Northern Virginia.
Crews began pretreating roads yesterday and will be staged roadside in the region by 10 p.m. tonight. Throughout Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William and Arlington* counties (*Arlington maintains own secondary roads) crews treat about 5,200 lane miles of interstates and other high-volume roads with liquid magnesium chloride or brine when conditions allow for winter weather. Learn more about Northern Virginia’s snow preparations.
Drives are asked to monitor weather reports for the latest updates to avoid being on the road during periods of limited visibility or icy conditions.
The National Weather Service predicts a slight chance of rain, snow and sleet between 9 p.m. and midnight tonight, then snow, freezing rain and sleet likely. Tonight will be mostly cloudy with a low around 31° Fahrenheit and a 60 percent chance of precipitation. Little or no ice accumulation and little or no snow and sleet accumulation are expected.
On Saturday, snow, freezing rain and sleet are in the forecast before noon, then rain or freezing rain is likely with a high near 33°. New ice accumulation of less than a 0.1 of an inch is possible.
For severe weather alerts on your mobile phone or by email, be sure to sign up for Fairfax Alerts.
Fairfax Connector reminds riders that during inclement weather, heavy snow or icy conditions, service may be reduced, modified or suspended to poor travel conditions. If road conditions become unsafe, icy or snow packed, service may be suspended on a route-by-route basis, or system-wide.
Take one of these 3 easy steps to stay informed of operating status, service changes and detours before, during and after a winter weather event.
- Sign-up for text and/or email alerts through Fairfax Alerts by subscribing to “Fairfax Connector Passenger Information.”
- Follow Fairfax Connector on Twitter and Facebook.
- Call Fairfax Connector customer service at 703-339-7200, TTY 703-339-1608; Monday – Friday, 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Se habla Español.
For additional winter preparedness and safety information, be sure to visit our winter weather guide.
Posted 2:08 p.m. // From the Virginia Department of Transportation:
Drivers are advised to avoid a potentially difficult wintry commute by following changing weather conditions closely today, and to plan to be off the roads as snow falls during the afternoon rush through Friday morning.
VDOT crews are finishing pre-treatment of critical locations along interstates and high-volume routes in Northern Virginia today, and will begin to stage about 1,125 pieces of equipment along roadsides this afternoon to be in place for rush hour.
Once snow moves into the area, crews will treat roadways with salt and sand to aid melting and improve traction. Trucks can lower the plow blade to push snow once about two inches have accumulated on the road surface.
Pavement temperatures are expected to remain low over the next few days, so drivers should expect potential for continued refreeze and slick conditions, even where crews have treated.
Drivers are asked to:
- Monitor weather to stay informed of the latest timing and intensity along your travel routes
- Adjust commutes to avoid driving during the storm—try to leave early this afternoon and delay trips in the morning until conditions improve. Allow plenty of extra travel time.
- Reduce speeds; do not overdrive conditions and use headlights
- Take it slow on bridges, ramps, and overpasses, and other known trouble spots
- Ensure gas tanks and windshield fluid tanks are full, and take time to update your car’s emergency kit
In addition to the VDOT information above, Fairfax County Public Schools have cancelled evening activities:
For more information about snow, roads, cold and more, view our Fairfax County Winter Weather Guide.
Posted at 2 p.m.
Don’t hit the road without a jack or until your car is ready for winter weather. There are maintenance checks to keep you safe, your vehicle warm and your engine running — as well as specific emergency items to store in your car during the winter.
Check or have a mechanic check items, such as:
- Antifreeze levels — ensure they are sufficient to avoid freezing.
- Battery and ignition system — should be in top condition and battery terminals should be clean.
- Exhaust system — check for leaks and crimped pipes and repair or replace as necessary. Carbon monoxide is deadly and usually gives no warning.
- Heater and defroster — ensure they work properly.
- Lights and flashing hazard lights — check for serviceability.
- Windshield wiper equipment — repair any problems and maintain proper washer fluid level.
- Install good winter tires — Make sure the tires have adequate tread. All-weather radials are usually adequate for most winter conditions.
You’ll also want to add winter items to the emergency kits in all your vehicles:
- A shovel.
- Windshield scraper and small broom.
- Snack food.
- Extra hats, socks and mittens.
- Necessary medications.
- Tow chain or rope.
- Road salt and sand.
Learn more on how to make an emergency kit for your vehicle(s) in this short video from the county’s Office of Emergency Management.
Follow these tips and find more winter preparedness information at www.Ready.gov and at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/emergency/hazards/winter-storm-snow-cold.htm.
Reprinted from the Dec. 16 edition of FEMA’s “Individual and Community Preparedness” e-Brief email newsletter