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U.S., Virginia and Fairfax County flags on a pole blow in wind on a rainy day (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Updated at 10:25 a.m. on 2/28/2024 — The National Weather Service has moved up the start time for its Wind Advisory to 3 p.m. today (Wednesday).

Earlier: A Wind Advisory has been issued for the D.C. area, including Fairfax County.

The alert is currently scheduled to start at 6 p.m. tomorrow (Wednesday) and continue until 4 a.m. Thursday (Feb. 29), according to the National Weather Service.

“Gusty winds could blow around unsecured objects. Tree limbs could be blown down and a few power outages may result,” the NWS said, warning that winds could reach 20 to 30 mph with gusts of up to 50 mph.

The strong winds will conclude what’s expected to be a rainy day in the county. The NWS is forecasting a 100% chance of rain tomorrow, but temperatures could still reach a high of 63 degrees, continuing an abnormally warm February for the East Coast.

A cold front is anticipated following tomorrow night’s high winds, bringing temperatures slightly down on Thursday, according to the Capital Weather Gang.

The full Wind Advisory is below.

…WIND ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 6 PM WEDNESDAY TO 4 AM EST THURSDAY…

* WHAT…West winds 20 to 30 mph with gusts up to 50 mph expected.

* WHERE…Portions of central, north central, northeast and northern Maryland, The District of Columbia, central, northern, northwest and western Virginia and eastern and panhandle West Virginia.

* WHEN…From 6 PM Wednesday to 4 AM EST Thursday.

* IMPACTS…Gusty winds could blow around unsecured objects. Tree limbs could be blown down and a few power outages may result.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

Use extra caution when driving, especially if operating a high profile vehicle. Secure outdoor objects.

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A man and kids walk in the snow past Appletree preschool in Vienna (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Fairfax County Public Schools is using up its first snow day of the year, canceling all classes and other activities on school grounds tomorrow (Tuesday) as flurries continue to blanket the D.C. area.

Affected activities include extracurricular programs, sports practices, field trips, outside recreation classes, adult education classes and the School Age Child Care (SACC) centers.

FCPS has 11 snow days built into its calendar, and unlike in the past couple of years, students don’t need to fear a shift to virtual classes after the first five days.

A Winter Weather Advisory is currently in effect for the county through 7 a.m. tomorrow. The National Weather Service projects that this storm could result in two to three inches of snow accumulation, along with possible freezing rain and drizzle, according to the Fairfax County Department of Emergency Management.

“Snow intensity will increase this evening before tapering off overnight,” the NWS said, warning that the “hazardous” road conditions could still affect tomorrow’s morning commute.

In anticipation of the roadways becoming a challenge, Fairfax Connector will reduce service starting at 8 p.m. today (Monday). The bus system will continue running several routes on a holiday weekday service, but some will end at or around 8 p.m.

Tomorrow, the Connector will implement a Saturday service schedule. A list of the specific routes that will be provided can be found on the Fairfax County Department of Transportation’s website, and minute-by-minute status updates will be available through BusTracker.

The George Washington Memorial Parkway has been temporarily closed in the McLean area. Due to ongoing construction, the National Park Service previously announced that the section from I-495 to Spout Run in Arlington would close if two or more inches of snow are forecast.

Here’s the full message from the NPS:

The George Washington Memorial Parkway, from 495 to Spout Run, is closed due to the forecasted severe winter weather in the area. This closure is necessary to ensure the proper treatment of the roadway and to restore the parkway to safe travel conditions. Crews will work diligently to treat the road for safe passage of drivers. Drivers should anticipate delays in reopening the northern section of the parkway as crews are required to use smaller equipment than usual to accommodate the lane widths and configurations. Please plan to use alternate routes.

A follow-up alert will be distributed once the parkway has reopened. Thank you in advance for your patience.

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A High Wind Warning has been issued for the D.C. area starting at 3 p.m. on Jan. 9 (via NWS/Twitter)

Updated at 3:35 p.m. — A Flood Warning has been issued until 11:30 p.m., for Northern Virginia, including Fairfax County, where “flooding caused by excessive rainfall is expected.”

Earlier: Fairfax County Public Schools has called off all remaining activities on school grounds today (Tuesday) in anticipation of a strong rainstorm expected to last through this evening.

“Given the strength of the storm predicted to hit our area later this afternoon/evening, all activities scheduled in Fairfax County Public Schools or on school grounds for this afternoon and evening are canceled,” the school system said.

The cancellations apply to all extracurricular activities, team practices, after-school programs, field trips, adult classes and outside recreational programs by groups not affiliated with FCPS.

The announcement came as the National Weather Service warns that conditions will “deteriorate as a strong frontal system” passes through the D.C. region between 5 and 10 p.m. The rain that has been falling all day is projected to increase in intensity through the afternoon, becoming heaviest starting at 6 p.m.

“This will result high winds capable of downing trees and powerlines, tidal flooding, and the potential for flooding of small streams and creeks,” the NWS said in a special weather statement. “This will create hazardous travel conditions late this afternoon through late evening across the region.”

As previously forecast, a Flood Watch took effect at 1 p.m. and is set to remain in place until 7 a.m. tomorrow (Wednesday).

The NWS has also issued a High Wind Warning for 3 p.m. to 1 a.m. tomorrow and a Coastal Flood Warning for Fairfax County that will be in effect from 10 p.m. to 10 a.m.

Southeast winds could reach 25 to 40 mph with gusts of up to 60 mph, while low-lying areas may get 1 to 2 feet of water above ground level as a result of tidal flooding, according to the NWS.

“Tides up to 3 feet above normal,” the agency said in the flood warning. “Moderate tidal flooding is possible along the Prince Georges and Fairfax counties coastlines during tonight’s high tide cycle.”

Because of the strong winds, power outages are expected, and travel will be difficult, the Fairfax County Department of Emergency Management says, sharing tips for how to prepare and who to call in the event of an outage:

Take Action

  • Secure outdoor objects, including trash cans, holiday decorations and other items.
  • Be careful when you’re outside, especially around areas with lots of trees.
  • Charge phones in case of a power outage.
  • If you lose power, report your outage, use flashlights or battery-powered lanterns.

Who to Contact

Dominion Energy

Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative

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A Fairfax Connector bus travels on Maple Avenue during a rain storm on Jan. 6, 2023 (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

In case you didn’t get your fill of rain on Saturday (Jan. 6), another downpour could be in store for Fairfax County this week.

The National Weather Service has issued a Flood Watch and a Wind Advisory for the mid-Atlantic region, including Fairfax County and the rest of northern Virginia, ahead of a storm that’s expected to travel up the East Coast tomorrow (Tuesday).

Issued this morning, the Flood Watch is currently set to take effect at 1 p.m. tomorrow and remain in place until 7 a.m. Wednesday (Jan. 10). The alert warns that flooding caused by “excessive rainfall” of two to three inches is possible.

The forecast indicates that the heaviest period of rain will come in the afternoon and evening.

“Excessive runoff may result in flooding of rivers, creeks, streams, and other low-lying and flood-prone locations,” the NWS said. “Creeks and streams may rise out of their banks. Flooding may occur in poor drainage and urban areas. Low-water crossings may be flooded.”

The Wind Advisory will be in place from 3 p.m. tomorrow to 1 a.m. Wednesday. Southeast winds may reach 20 to 30 mph with gusts up to 50 mph, according to the NWS.

“Gusty winds could blow around unsecured objects. Tree limbs could be blown down and a few power outages may result,” the alert says.

According to the Capital Weather Gang, the incoming storm will be similar to the one that hit on Saturday, fueled by warm air from the south that will turn most of the precipitation into rain.

Forecasts last week suggested Fairfax County could get up to an inch of snow and sleet accumulation from Saturday’s winter storm. NWS data for the Dulles Airport area indicates that the 0.97 inches of precipitation recorded that day was mostly rain, though there were “trace” amounts of snow.

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Fairfax County could get up to an inch of snow and sleet during a winter storm on Saturday, Jan. 6 (via National Weather Service)

The season’s first winter storm is making its way toward the D.C. region, though the chances for serious snow in Fairfax County are iffy.

Instead, the county is expected to get a slushy mix of rain, snow and sleet, starting tomorrow (Saturday) morning. The precipitation could add up to an inch of snow and sleet accumulations, along with “a light glaze” of ice, according to a Winter Weather Advisory issued today by the National Weather Service.

The advisory, which also includes central and southeast Prince William County, is scheduled to take effect at 7 a.m. tomorrow and stay in place until 2 p.m. After that, the wintry mix is anticipated to turn into rain.

“Slow down and use caution while traveling,” the NWS said. “When venturing outside, watch your first few steps taken on steps, sidewalks, and driveways, which could be icy and slippery, increasing your risk of a fall and injury.”

Fairfax County notes that some of its facilities may close and programs might get canceled, depending on the severity of the weather.

Virginia Department of Transportation crews began treating roadways with salt brine this morning, a process that will be complete by this afternoon’s rush hour, according to a snow update.

The full Winter Weather Advisory is below:

…WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 7 AM TO 2 PM EST SATURDAY…

* WHAT…Mixed precipitation expected. Total snow and sleet accumulations of a coating to an inch, and ice accumulations of a light glaze.

* WHERE…Fairfax County, and Central and Southeast Prince William County.

* WHEN…From 7 AM to 2 PM EST Saturday.

* IMPACTS…Plan on slippery road conditions and slippery untreated paved surfaces, mainly from light ice glaze due to freezing rain.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS…Precipitation is expected to begin as snow and sleet between 7 and 9 AM. Precipitation will change to freezing rain around 11 AM, then rain after 2 PM. Precipitation is expected to end during the early evening.

Map via National Weather Service

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A truck got trapped by flooding on Arlington Blvd in Merrifield in 2019 (via FCFRD/Twitter)

The Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services (DPWES) has proposed a new grant program to help curb flooding in the county.

The flood mitigation assistance program (FMAP) would reimburse residents and property owners for purchasing and installing approved products and services that reduce the risk of flood damage to their property.

The program calls for a cost-sharing agreement where the resident or property owners cover 50% of the cost, and the county covers the other half up to $5,000, DPWES Deputy Director Eleanor Ku Codding told the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors at an environmental committee meeting on Tuesday (Oct. 3).

The program was made to be flexible, according to Codding. It’s open to residential or commercial multi-family properties, common-interest communities, and places of worship. Approved flood mitigation practices include:

  • window wells
  • flood gates
  • modified basement areaways
  • sump pump backup batteries
  • utility protection
  • exterior grading or drains

However, if an owner wanted to use another flood mitigation service not listed, it would be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Codding said, since drainage is not a straightforward issue, sharing the cost is a good solution.

“By establishing a cost-share program, we are allowing residents to be empowered to take action to mitigate that risk of flooding,” she said. “In addition, we have seen that the best flood risk reduction programs — including FEMA — include these types of cost-share programs.”

Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust supported the program but called for the county to take more action.

“We should be thinking bigger in terms of stormwater management because it’s a huge problem,” Foust said. “And once we adopt this, then we’ll be done with it. We’ll check it off and move on to the next thing, and I just think the problem deserves more.”

Codding said other programs could be brought to the board in the future.

The county has discussed raising its building stormwater standards to accommodate more frequent and extreme flooding, and earlier this year, it piloted a program for sharing the cost of projects with private property owners, essentially testing the approach proposed for the new assistance program.

Funded through the county’s Stormwater Service District taxes, FMAP would start on July 1, 2024, and applications would be reviewed on a first come, first served basis. The Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District would administer the program.

DPWES will return to the board at a public hearing to get authorization to sign the memorandum of understanding with the conservation district. The agreement will establish rules for how the district should administer the program.

Screenshot via FCFRD/Twitter

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Tropical Storm Ophelia is expected to bring rain and wind to Northern Virginia this weekend (via National Weather Service)

Updated at 4:05 p.m. — A Coastal Flood Advisory issued for parts of Northern Virginia, including Fairfax County, will now take effect at midnight, earlier than initially anticipated, the National Weather Service says.

Earlier: It’s going to be a cold and rainy weekend in Fairfax County, thanks to Tropical Storm Ophelia.

Tracking to make landfall in North Carolina today (Friday), the storm is expected to reach Northern Virginia tonight with “heavy rain, high winds, and cool temperatures” continuing into Sunday (Sept. 24) morning, according to the Fairfax County Department of Emergency Management.

“Locally, [the National Weather Service] expects 2-4 inches of rain throughout the weekend,” the county said in a post on its emergency information blog. “Since the precipitation will be spread across the weekend, flooding is not a major concern but could cause some localized flooding issues. Wind speeds will gradually increase, peaking around 40 mph on Saturday.”

The storm has already affected some major events, prompting cancellations of the popular Reston Multicultural Festival, the inaugural Fairfax Fiesta in Tysons and a kick-off for National Public Lands Day in Annandale. Other events, like Fairfax City’s Fiesta Fairfax, have been relocated indoors.

The NWS has issued a Coastal Flood Advisory and a Wind Advisory for much of the D.C. area, including Fairfax County.

The flood advisory will be in effect from noon tomorrow (Saturday) to 5 a.m. Sunday:

* WHAT…Up to one half foot of inundation above ground level expected in low lying areas due to tidal flooding.

* WHERE…Fairfax, Stafford and Central and Southeast Prince William/Manassas/Manassas Park Counties.

* WHEN…From noon Saturday to 5 AM EDT Sunday, especially around the time of high tide.

* IMPACTS…Flooding of lots, parks, and roads with only isolated road closures expected.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS…Tides one and a half to two feet above normal. The worst flooding will occur with the Saturday afternoon and Saturday night high tides.

The Wind Advisory will take effect at 8 a.m. tomorrow and last until 8 p.m., warning that northeast winds could reach 20 to 30 mph with up to 45-mph gusts. The NWS notes that the “gusty winds” could blow around objects and result in power outages. Read More

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Rain on brick walkway (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Rain, rain, it’s not going away just yet.

Another storm has emerged in the D.C. area, once again bringing the potential for flash flooding, according to the National Weather Service.

A Flash Flood Warning is in effect for southeastern Fairfax County, from Springfield to Mount Vernon and Lorton, until 7:30 p.m.

Excessive runoff may be particularly an issue in areas notably affected by thunderstorms yesterday (Monday) afternoon, when 2 to 4 inches of rain fell in the Springfield and Route 1 areas within the space of an hour.

“Doppler radar and automated rain gauges indicated thunderstorms producing heavy rain across the warned area,” the NWS said at 4:32 p.m. “Between 1 and 2 inches of rain have fallen. The expected rainfall rate is 1 to 3 inches in 1 hour. Additional rainfall amounts of 1 to 3 inches are possible in the warned area.”

In Fairfax County, yesterday’s storms mainly resulted in power outages, but they had a deadly impact in D.C., where rapidly rising waters killed 10 dogs at a local canine day care.

A Flood Watch has also been issued until 8 p.m.

The full alert is below.

* Flash Flood Warning for…Southeastern Fairfax County in northern Virginia…

* Until 730 PM EDT.

* At 432 PM EDT, Doppler radar and automated rain gauges indicated thunderstorms producing heavy rain across the warned area. Between 1 and 2 inches of rain have fallen. The expected rainfall rate is 1 to 3 inches in 1 hour. Additional rainfall amounts of 1 to 3 inches are possible in the warned area. Flash flooding is ongoing or expected to begin shortly.
HAZARD…Flash flooding caused by thunderstorms.
SOURCE…Radar and automated gauges.
IMPACT…Flash flooding of small creeks and streams, urban areas, highways, streets and underpasses as well as other poor drainage and low-lying areas.

* Some locations that will experience flash flooding include…

Alexandria… Springfield…Fort Hunt… Groveton…Huntington… Fort Belvoir…Burke… Lincolnia…Lorton… Franconia…Hybla Valley… Newington…I395 and I495 Interchange…West Springfield…Mount Vernon… North Springfield…Hayfield… Mason Neck…Jefferson Manor…

FLASH FLOOD…RADAR AND GAUGE INDICATED EXPECTED RAINFALL RATE…1-3 INCHES IN 1 HOUR

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Power outages in Belle Haven on Aug. 14, 2023 (via Dominion Energy)

Nearly 9,000 people in Fairfax County are without power after this afternoon’s storms, the most intense of which have moved on into Maryland.

As of 5:30 p.m., 8,971 Dominion Energy customers in the county had lost power, according to the real-time tracking database PowerOutage.US.

The most sizable outages have cropped up in Belle Haven along the Route 1 corridor, where 3,429 customers have lost power, and near Kingstowne along Beulah Street in Franconia, where 1,895 customers are affected, according to Dominion Energy’s outage map.

Per the map, Dominion has confirmed that the Franconia outage was caused by the storm, which produced high-speed winds that  prompted a Tornado Warning from 4:18-4:33 p.m. Crews are currently working on the incident, potentially restoring power between 5 and 10 p.m.

Causes for the most significant outages in the Belle Haven area are still pending investigation, but crews are now assessing the damage, according to Dominion. The estimated time of restoration ranges from 6 p.m. to midnight.

Power outages have also been reported in West Springfield and Mantua.

While there hasn’t been any confirmation of tornadoes, wind gusts reached 58 mph at Reagan National Airport, according to the Capital Weather Gang.

A Flash Flood Warning remains in effect until 7:45 p.m. Some flooding was reported in Springfield and the Alexandria area, where 2 to 4 inches of rain had fallen as of 5 p.m., the National Weather Service said.

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A storm has reached Fairfax County, as seen on radar around 4 p.m. on Aug. 14, 2023

Updated at 4:45 p.m.The Tornado Warning was terminated early at 4:33 p.m., but Severe Thunderstorm and Flash Flood warnings remain in effect until around 5 p.m. and 7:45 p.m., respectively.

Updated at 4:25 p.m.A Tornado Warning has also been issued until 4:45 p.m.

“At 418 PM EDT, a severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado was located over Franconia, or over Springfield, moving northeast at 25 mph,” the National Weather Service said.

Updated at 4:20 p.m. — The Flash Flood Warning has been expanded to include the Tysons area, Vienna and Annandale.

Earlier: This afternoon’s rush-hour commute will be a wet one.

A thunderstorm has reached Fairfax County, and it could bring some flooding, according to the National Weather Service.

The agency has issued a Flash Flood Warning specifically for the southern half of the county and the Fairfax City area. The alert will be in effect until 8 p.m.

“Turn around, don’t drown when encountering flooded roads,” the NWS said. “Most flood deaths occur in vehicles. Basement flooding can occur quickly and create a life-threatening situation. If you are in a basement, or a residence below street level, move to a higher floor immediately.”

A Severe Thunderstorm Warning is also in effect until 4:30 p.m., affecting the Fort Belvoir, Mount Vernon and Lorton areas.

According to the NWS, radar showed “a severe thunderstorm” moving northeast at 20 mph from Quantico at 4:02 p.m. Wind gusts of up to 60 mph are possible.

“Damaging winds will cause some trees and large branches to fall,” the agency warns. “This could injure those outdoors, as well as damage homes and vehicles. Roadways may become blocked by downed trees. Localized power outages are possible. Unsecured light objects may become projectiles.”

The full Flash Flood Warning is below:

* Flash Flood Warning for…Southern Fairfax County in northern Virginia…Prince William County in northern Virginia…The City of Fairfax in northern Virginia…

* Until 800 PM EDT.

* At 353 PM EDT, Doppler radar indicated thunderstorms producing heavy rain developing across the warned area. Additional rainfall amounts of 1 to 3 inches are possible in the warned area. Flash
flooding is expected to begin shortly.

HAZARD…Flash flooding caused by thunderstorms.
SOURCE…Radar.
IMPACT…Flash flooding of small creeks and streams, urban areas, highways, streets and underpasses as well as other poor drainage and low-lying areas.

* Some locations that will experience flash flooding include…
Centreville…Dale City… Annandale…Springfield… Fairfax…Fort Hunt… Groveton…Huntington… Mantua…Fort Belvoir… Woodbridge…Quantico… Lake Ridge…Burke… Oakton…Lincolnia… Montclair…
Lorton… Franconia…

This includes the following Flood Prone Roads:
Woodburn Road at Accotink Creek…Fairfax Boulevard at Oak Street…Fairfax Boulevard at University Drive…Pickett Rd at Accotink Creek near Old Pickett Rd… Mine Road and Cameron Street…

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