This weekend, June 8-10, at Celebrate Fairfax, the county’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM) will be on the scene with a hurricane-themed escape room that will help you prepare for hurricanes — a timely event since the Atlantic Hurricane Season started June 1. And forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center say the Atlantic could see another above-normal hurricane season this year.
The goal of the display is to educate individuals and families about hurricanes and the risks associated with them, along with general emergency preparedness information.
Grelia Steele, community outreach manager with OEM, says in the audio clip below that participants will form teams to try and solve a series of puzzles before a mock hurricane strikes. The hurricane will be simulated by noise. And prizes will be given out to the top teams.
Steele adds that if you like solving puzzles and using your critical thinking skills, you should make a stop in the OEM booth — located in the HUB section of Celebrate Fairfax (see map) — part of your weekend fun. You will be challenged!
To learn more about Celebrate Fairfax, including hours and cost of admission, visit celebratefairfax.com.
For additional information on emergency preparedness, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/emergency/readyfairfax. And to sign up for severe weather alerts by text and/or email, sign up for Fairfax Alerts at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/alerts.
Posted at 11 a.m.
Forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center say the Atlantic could see another above-normal hurricane season this year, which extends from June 1 to Nov. 30.
NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is forecasting a 75-percent chance that the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season will be near- or above-normal. Forecasters predict a 35 percent chance of an above-normal season, a 40 percent chance of a near-normal season, and a 25 percent chance of a below-normal season for the upcoming hurricane season.
While hurricanes typically don’t strike Fairfax County directly, we often feel the effects of these storms with high winds and heavy rainfall, which can lead to localized flooding. Here are a few preparedness steps you can take today.
- Make a family emergency communication plan.
- Be sure to include your pets in your emergency preparedness planning.
- Identify an out of town emergency contact to coordinate information with family and friends.
- Keep an emergency kit where you spend time — home, car and work.
- Practice your preparedness plans with a drill or exercise.
- Sign up for local weather alerts and warnings from Fairfax Alerts.
- Check your insurance coverage and know if you have flood and wind protection.
Posted at 9:45 a.m.
The National Weather Service has issued a Flood Watch in effect from 2 p.m. this afternoon through Friday evening for the potential for flooding from heavy rain. Localized areas of flooding of small streams and urban areas are possible today and tonight.
A Flood Watch means there is a potential for flooding based on current forecasts. You should monitor later forecasts and be alert for possible Flood Warnings. Those living in areas prone to flooding should be prepared to take action should flooding develop.
From 2 p.m. this afternoon through Friday evening, periods of rain will continue across the region. This rain will be heavy at times, with overall additional rainfall totals of 3 to 5 inches. While flash flooding cannot be ruled out, the primary concern is flooding of small streams and low-lying areas. Streams are already elevated and soils saturated from earlier rainfall, increasing the flood threat.
Turn Around Don’t Drown
Flooding is one of the leading causes of weather related fatalities in the U.S. On average, flooding claims nearly 90 lives each year. More than half of these deaths occur in motor vehicles when people attempt to drive through flooded roadways. This happens because people underestimate the force and power of water, especially when it is moving.
- Just 6 inches of fast-moving water can knock over and carry off an adult.
- 12 inches of water can float a small car. If that water is moving, it can carry that car away.
- 18 to 24 inches of flowing water can carry away most vehicles, including large SUVs.
It is impossible to tell the exact depth of water covering a roadway or the condition of the road below the water. This is especially true at night when your vision is more limited. 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.
Posted at 11 a.m.
We all have relationships. These relationships vary if you are an employee of a company, serving residents as part of the local government, or providing services to customers as the leader of a company. These relationships are vital because at the end of the chain of interactions and transactions is a person that is relying on you to get a job done.
Being proactive in ensuring these relationships and interactions continue without interruption is the heart of continuity planning.
In short, continuity planning ensures the ability to deliver resources to stakeholders by providing reliable options. It fills a vital void in the lifecycle in both business and government processes.
In this video, Avery Church, Fairfax County’s continuity program manager, highlights continuity of operations and the essential planning necessary for the success of a continuity program.
Watch the full video, including tips on how to be prepared and an interview with the county’s Police Department on its continuity of operations (COOP) plan.
Continuity Awareness Week in Fairfax County
Ongoing maintenance of a continuity program in business and government organizations plays a significant part in an effective resiliency capability. That’s why Fairfax County’s Board of Supervisors, on behalf of all residents of Fairfax County, proclaimed the week of May 14-18, as Continuity Awareness Week in Fairfax County.
The board proclamation urges all business and government organizations to take steps to increase resiliency and reduce operational risks by becoming familiar with and engaging in continuity planning. This special week recognizes both the for-profit and not-for-profit efforts to minimize operational disruptions.
The county’s Continuity of Operations Program was created in 2009 with the formation of an advisory work group to respond to the spread of the Influenza A virus. The program has expanded to cover all county missions and has been recognized by the Federal Emergency Management Agency as an example of a best practice for state, territorial, tribal and local governments continuity of operations planning.
Continuity of Operations Planning
Continuity planning as we know it has been around since the 1970s, and even earlier in other iterations. Internationally, continuity planning has been used greatly in areas that were highly susceptible to natural disasters. For example, Japan and New Zealand developed plans to manage the effects of earthquakes.
The concept of continuity planning naturally expanded to include other known disruptions like terrorism, pandemics, extreme weather, financial and cyber. This growth has created a proven planning principle that is an umbrella for all actions related to mitigating against operational disruptions.
More recently, we have realized that the clear majority of these disruptions have the same mitigation, response and recovery footprint. Instead of focusing on creating custom plans for the specific disruption, as was done in the 1970s, the better investment proved to be focusing on plans that were mnemonic and applicable to a large swath of events.
Continuity planning focuses on ensuring proper program oversight, management of the programs reputation, planning against anticipated threats to our operations and performing each initiative in the most effective manner.
In modern continuity planning, we place emphasis on improving our weaknesses against these anticipated threats to our operations. Universally, these threats include vendors and their associated supply chains, the availability of our human assets, the vulnerability of IT and the persistence of single points of failure. These form the footprint that we find in post-disruptions, so focusing our mitigation and recovery efforts on these areas will greatly improve our capabilities.
For more information, contact Church, continuity program manager, at 571-350-1000, TTY 711.
Posted at 3 p.m.
The National Weather Service has issued a hazardous weather outlook, which includes a severe thunderstorm watch, in effect through 9 p.m. tonight, Monday, May 14. Scattered severe thunderstorms with damaging wind gusts and large hail are possible this afternoon and evening. The greatest risk is south of U.S. Highway 50.
Remainder of the Week
There is a chance of isolated severe thunderstorms with damaging wind gusts and large hail possible again Tuesday afternoon and evening. Heavy rains Thursday night and Friday also may result in small stream and urban flooding.