Posted at 12:30 p.m.
Hurricanes can bring heavy rain, high winds and power outages can occur. Flooding, downed power lines, uprooted trees and flooded vehicles are all possible.
To stay safe, make sure you have an emergency kit prepared and listen to any and all messages from emergency response personnel.
To stay safe from hurricanes and inclement weather, be sure to sign up for severe weather alerts from Fairfax Alerts (www.fairfaxcounty.gov/alerts).
Learn more about preparing for hurricanes, as well as all hazards, on our emergency information Web page.
Posted at 1:50 p.m.
To encourage preparation for hurricane/flooding season, which begins June 1, Virginia has a sales tax holiday for purchasing hurricane/emergency supplies. Many useful and everyday items are on this list.
The statewide Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday is underway, through May 31. During this time you can save money on sales tax for a wide variety of items to help you, your family and your business prepare for hurricanes.
So what type of items are tax-exempt? Check out the Infographic below for details.
For more on the sales tax holiday, visit www.ReadyVirginia.gov.
Posted 4:41 p.m.
This year’s Atlantic hurricane season got off to a busy start, with six named storms to date, and there may be a busy second half, according to the updated hurricane season outlook issued today by NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service.
The updated outlook still indicates a 50 percent chance of a near-normal season, but increases the chance of an above-normal season to 35 percent and decreases the chance of a below-normal season to only 15 percent from the initial outlook issued in May.
Across the entire Atlantic Basin for the season – June 1 to Nov. 30 – NOAA’s updated seasonal outlook projects a total (which includes the activity-to-date of tropical storms Alberto, Beryl, Debbie, Florence and hurricanes Chris and Ernesto) of:
- 12 to 17 named storms (top winds of 39 mph or higher), including:
- 5 to 8 hurricanes (top winds of 74 mph or higher), of which:
- 2 to 3 could be major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of at least 111 mph)
How Can You Prepare?
There are several simple steps you can take now to be better prepared for a hurricane.
- Make sure your that your emergency supply kit is fully stocked with supplies for at least three days per family member.
- Be sure trees and shrubs around your home are well trimmed so they are more wind resistant.
- Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
- Reinforce your garage doors; if wind enters a garage it can cause dangerous and expensive structural damage.
- Install a generator for emergencies.
You’ll also want to make a family emergency plan, choose an out-of-town contact for you and your family to call in the event of an emergency. And don’t forget to sign up for emergency alerts from the Community Emergency Alert Network (CEAN).
Dominion Virginia Power has announced all power restoration in Northern Virginia will be completed by tomorrow.
If you have lost power, keep these important tips in mind:
- Dispose perishable foods that have been without refrigeration for more than two hours. Fish, poultry, meat, eggs, milk and other dairy products, and leftovers are especially high risk. When in doubt, throw it out.
- When power returns, inspect the food in your freezer. If there are still ice crystals in the package it is probably safe to refreeze. Use a thermometer to check the temperature and if your freezer remained under 40 F, the food is probably safe to refreeze. Otherwise, it is probably not safe. When in doubt, throw it out.
- If you have medication that requires refrigeration but you lost power, check with the pharmacy on the label. A pharmacist can advise you if it can still be used.
Accidents while using chainsaws during storm cleanup are frequent and often lead to severe injuries. Most accidents are caused by contact with the moving chain, and most deaths happen when operators are struck by a falling limb or tree during the cutting process. Here are tips for using chainsaws safely during cleanup from Hurricane Irene.
- Chainsaw operators must wear/use protective equipment, including:
- Hard hat
- Eye protection (safety glasses or goggles)
- Hearing protection
- Leather work gloves
- Cut-resistant leg wear (chaps, leggings, pants) with two-inch boot overlap
- Sturdy boots, preferably steel-toed
- Make sure the chain brake is on when:
- Starting the saw
- Both hands are not on the saw, or
- Taking more than two steps
- Before starting the saw:
- Size up the tree
- Watch for hazards around the tree
- Cut only when it’s safe to do so
- Starting the saw:
- Place the saw on the ground
- Place the toe of your boot through the back handle to hold the saw down
- Hold the front handle with your left hand
- Use your right hand to pull the start cord using a fast but short stroke
Go to www.dof.virginia.gov for additional information and safety tips.