Posted at 8:50 a.m.
Updated at 9:33 a.m.
A Winter Weather Advisory from the National Weather Service remains in effect until 1 p.m. this afternoon (Thursday, Nov. 15). A Winter Weather Advisory means that periods of snow, sleet or freezing rain will cause travel difficulties. Expect slippery roads and limited visibilities, and use caution while driving.
Fairfax County Police are reporting numerous county roadways are impacted by the weather (9 a.m. update). Public safety officials encourage you to use caution and follow police direction.
The National Weather Service (forecast) reports mixed precipitation is expected, with total sleet and snow accumulation of up to one inch, and ice glaze accumulations of up to a tenth of an inch expected. Plan on slippery road and sidewalk conditions in some areas.
County Government Programs Affected
Fairfax County Government is open, however Fairfax County Public Schools are now closed, following an earlier announcement of a two-hour delay. This school closure affects some county programs/services, so please check before you drive to any location to ensure that it is open and operating.
At this time, Fastran has announced that they will transport dialysis, chemotherapy and radiation trips only. All other scheduled route services are canceled, including senior centers, adult day health care, Women’s Recovery Center, senior residence trips and charter services. For general information about Human Services Transportation, call 703-222-9764, TTY 711.
If additional closures or delays are announced by Fairfax County programs, we will announce them via social media and here on the emergency information blog.
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 8:30 a.m.
According to the National Weather Service, a combination of gusty winds, low relative humidity and low fuel moisture will enhance the threat for the spread of wildfires late this morning through this afternoon.
Residents are urged to exercise caution handling any potential ignition source, including machinery, cigarettes and matches. Be sure to properly discard all smoking materials. Any dry grasses and tree litter that ignite will have the potential to spread quickly.
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.
Posted at 4:25 p.m.
The National Weather Service (NWS) isn’t taking the high winds expected lightly — and doesn’t want you too, either.
According to a new update from NWS, the winds will be “dangerously strong and long-lasting.” The NWS forecast calls for winds starting at, or soon after, midnight in “one of the most powerful windstorms in recent years.”
Take action now to be prepared. See our article this afternoon for more tips on what actions to take now.