Wireless Cell Service May Be Impacted

Fairfax County has received several reports that wireless cell service has been impacted in certain Northern Virginia areas due to cell tower equipment damaged by the high winds.

Some areas of impact are likely in the Springfield and Burke neighborhoods. Other areas in Northern Virginia might also be affected.

Please do not call 9-1-1 to test your cellular phone service. You may wish to make a test call to a friend or neighbor to test your cell phone service.

If your cell phone service is affected, check with a neighbor for alternative means to reach 9-1-1 by cell phone or use a traditional landline phone to call 9-1-1 for an emergency.

The Fairfax County 9-1-1 center is open and ready to receive emergency phone calls and/ or texts to 9-1-1.

The cellular carriers are making repairs where possible but the ongoing high winds makes climbing cell towers a safety hazard for repair workers.

How To Dispose of Your Yard Debris

Posted at 9:15 a.m.

Cleanup is underway in our neighborhoods and communities. There are several options available for managing debris generated from the wind storm:

  1. All refuse collection companies operating in Fairfax County must collect brush placed at their customers’ curbsides as long as the brush is in bundles of less than 4 feet in length, weighing less than 50 pounds and no piece is larger than 6 inches in diameter.
  2. For larger amounts of brush or bulk debris, you should contact your trash collection service provider for information about special collections and set-out instructions.
  3. You may also self-haul large amounts of brush or bulk debris to the county’s recycling and disposal centers at the I-66 Transfer Station or the I-95 Landfill Complex where it can be disposed of for a fee. Be aware that there are fees for brush and tree debris.
  4. View complete details on tree and debris removal.
  5. Get more information on avoiding tree-trimming scams.


Food Safety During a Power Outage

Posted at 8:50 a.m.

This wind storm has knocked out power to more than 100,000 customers so far. If you are one of those who are affected, it’s important that you take steps to prevent illness from unsafe food and water.

The easiest thing to remember is When in doubt, throw it out!” And here are some other tips to keep in mind:

Refrigerated Food

  • Food should be safe as long as power is out no more than 4 hours.
  • Keep the door closed as much as possible.
  • Discard any perishable food (such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs and leftovers) that have been above 40 °F for over 2 hours.
  • Never taste food to determine its safety. You can’t rely on appearance or odor to determine whether food is safe.
  • Always discard any items in the refrigerator that have come into contact with raw meat juices.
  • Use this chart to determine if individual food items should be kept or thrown out.

Frozen Food

  • Thawed or partially thawed food in the freezer may be safely refrozen if it still contains ice crystals.
  • If you keep an appliance thermometer in your freezer, it’s easy to tell whether food is safe. If it reads 40 °F or below, the food is safe and can be refrozen.
  • Partial thawing and refreezing may affect the quality of some food, but the food will be safe to eat.
  • Always discard any items in the freezer that have come into contact with raw meat juices.
  • Use this chart to determine if individual food items should be kept or thrown out.

More Information

food safety graphic




Saturday Updates on the Wind Storm

Updated at 11:35 a.m.

Good news and bad news on this Saturday morning. The good news is the worst of this wind storm is over. The bad news is it’s not quite over yet. Here are a few things to know as we start the weekend:

Weather Forecast

A Wind Advisory issued for Saturday has been cancelled. Winds today will range from 15-30 mph with gusts of 30-45 mph, strongest before noon. Winds tonight and Sunday will range from 8-18 mph with gusts of 22-38 mph. High temperatures this weekend will reach the upper 40s with lows in the low 30s.

County Facilities

The following facilities have schedule changes due to the weather:

  • Schools(Updated at 10:50 a.m.) Activities scheduled in Fairfax County public schools or on school grounds for Saturday and Sunday are now canceled. Closure is due to the large number of power outages at schools and downed trees on school grounds, and power outages in many neighborhoods.
  • Parks and RECenters (Updated 8 p.m.) – All Park Authority programs at Fairfax County Public School locations are canceled for Sunday, March 4. In addition, Providence, South Run and Spring Hill RECenters remain closed due to power outages. The gates at Lake Accotink Park and Burke Lake Park are closed to vehicular traffic but the parks are open. We continue to evaluate our other sites and encourage you to call before going. We will update this information as needed. To report a downed tree in the parks, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/tree-removal.
  • Libraries – The Chantilly Regional, Dolley Madison, George Mason, Great Falls, Lorton and Martha Washington braches are all closed due to lack of power.
  • Reston Community Center – RCC Hunters Woods is closed due to a power outage.

If you have lost power and need a place to charge your electronic devices, considering visiting our other RECenters, libraries and community centers.

Power Outages

At this time, there are still approximately 90,000 reported power outages in the county. If you lose power, please report it.

Stay away from downed wires as they may be live with electricity.

Downed Trees and Wires

There are plenty of reports of downed trees and wires. Here’s a comprehensive list of who to contact: http://bit.ly/2oBz3pA.

Storm Damage

If you need to contact contractors or you insurance company about damage related to the storm, read these tips.

Yard Debris

Information on disposing of yard debris is available here.

Making Repairs

Be sure to hire a licensed contractor. Tips on what to look for and working with your insurance company. And information on avoiding “woodchuck” tree trimming scams on NewsCenter.

Food Safety

If your power has been out for an extended period you’ll want to assess whether the food in your refrigerator or freezer is still safe to consume.


Most road closures will be published by our Police Department on their blog and sent out through Fairfax Alerts. Sign up at: www.fairfaxcounty.gov/alerts.

The two major closures to be aware of now are I-95 South at the Prince William Parkway and the bridge at Old Yates Ford near the Fairfax County and Prince William County border.

And if you’re out today driving and come to an intersection without power or an officer directing traffic, treat it as a four-way stop.

Storm Update from the National Weather Service

Posted at 7:45 p.m.

High winds continue across our region, with gusts commonly between 40 and 60 mph over land, and 40 to 60 knots over water. A High Wind Warning remains in effect for most of our area until 6 a.m. Saturday.

National Weather Service Update

The National Weather Service says this “is a prolonged, high-impact windstorm” for the region. The duration of the winds will add to the hazardous nature of this event. While gusts will slowly diminish in intensity this weekend, they will remain around 40 mph Saturday. This will hamper the repair of power lines and tree removal.

Travel is dangerous on the roads, especially for high profile vehicles. Be aware of rapidly changing road conditions due to the potential of downed trees and power lines.

Pedestrians will also face very hazardous conditions, and need to be aware of wind-borne projectiles. People should avoid being outside. If possible, remain in the lower levels of your homes during the windstorm and avoid windows.