Posted at 11:30 a.m.
Even though the first official day of winter — the winter solstice — isn’t until Dec. 21, cold temperatures have already arrived and it’s beginning to feel like winter.
Our NewsCenter has compiled some of the more frequently asked issues/questions in a helpful winter weather guide.
While we’re not in the weather prediction business, it’s a fairly safe to say that Fairfax County will be affected by winter weather — whether that’s extreme cold, snow, sleet/ice or a combination of those.
So, the best thing to do is to be prepared. We encourage you to read through this winter weather guide and to get ready for winter so you’ll be able to respond to and recover from whatever Old Man Winter may throw our way.
Posted at 10 a.m.
The National Weather Service (NWS) has advised county officials that we can likely expect severe thunderstorms and weather this weekend — most likely in the afternoon and evening hours.
According to the NWS forecast, the county is likely to receive ½ inch to ¾ inch of rain within a one hour period and 2 to 3 inches in a six hour period.
NWS also notes that it is possible, especially on Sunday, that we could receive a maximum rainfall of 2½ inches in a one hour period and 4 inches in a six hour period in localized areas. These higher rainfall totals are expected to be localized and associated with small thunderstorm cells.
We can also expect tidal anomalies of about 1 foot to 1½ foot higher than normal.
Residents in areas prone to street flooding may want to take precautions and move vehicles to higher elevations. Don’t park in restricted areas and try to avoid parking under trees when possible.
Move any valuables from the basement, especially if your basement has flooded before.
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.
And please remember to keep children away from creeks and their potentially rapidly rising waters.
You also may want to check storm drains and gutters to ensure that they are not clogged. 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, 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.
Public safety, public works and emergency management staff will continue to monitor the storm throughout the weekend, along with conditions on the ground, and will send emergency alerts if the situation changes. You can sign up for these alerts, along with severe weather alerts, from Fairfax Alerts at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/alerts.
The complete forecast can be found online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/emergency/weather-forecast.htm.
Flooding FAQ’s – www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dpwes/navbar/faqs/flooding.htm
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.
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.
Posted at 2:45 p.m.
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.
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.
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 32. 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.
Posted at 3:30 p.m.
The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory for snow, which is in effect from 10 p.m. this evening to midnight Tuesday night.
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 accumulation of 1 to 3 inches is possible with locally higher amounts particularly in the northwest suburbs. A mixture of rain and snow will develop this evening with precipitation turning to all snow around or shortly after midnight. Periods of snow will continue into Tuesday.
The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), reports that crews have treated interstates and major roads in Fairfax County with brine and liquid magnesium chloride in advance of the snow. Tonight, about 1,450 trucks will pre-deploy along interstates, main roads and neighborhood streets across Northern Virginia. They will remain on duty to plow and treat roads through the day Tuesday.
VDOT also reminds you to use extreme caution during winter weather, to reduce speeds and to be aware of potential slick spots such as bridges, ramps, hills, curves and shaded areas.