Residents Encouraged to Prepare for Weekend Weather
Sept. 5, 2008
- Tropical Storm Hanna is expected to bring 4-8 inches of rain on Saturday.
- Personnel from the county's Office of Emergency Management and the Department of Public Works and Environmental Services are monitoring the storm.
The anticipated rainfall from Tropical Storm Hanna this weekend serves as a stark reminder of the need to be prepared. Residents are encouraged to get an emergency supply kit, make an emergency plan and be informed about what to do if Hanna or other tropical storms gain strength, turn into hurricanes and head in this direction. As seen with Gustav, hurricanes and tropical storms also produce tornadoes, flooding and power outages that affect residents for hours or even days after the initial storm has passed.
A tropical storm warning has been issued until for the region until 11 p.m. Saturday and a flash flood watch will be in effect from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday for Fairfax County. According to the National Weather Service, rainfall is anticipated to be 4-8 inches with wind gusts between 40-45 mph during the height of the weather activity on Saturday afternoon. This will be a fast-moving storm; it is expected to enter this area late tonight with the bulk of the precipitation occurring between 6 a.m. and 2 p.m. tomorrow. Flash flooding is a concern.
Because there are several areas of Fairfax County that have experienced flooding in the past, Fairfax County’s Watch Office, within the county’s Office of Emergency Management(OEM), is monitoring weather conditions 24/7. OEM has also been and will remain in contact with both the National Hurricane Center and the National Weather Service.
Personnel from the Department of Public Works and Environmental Services (DPWES) are monitoring areas such as New Alexandria, Belle Haven and Huntington – portions of the county that have flooded during past storms. DPWES staff are also monitoring state-regulated dams located within Fairfax County, and have scheduled crews to work 12-hour shifts as necessary, with numerous staff on call for the weekend if needed. In addition, public safety personnel will patrol in flood prone areas of the county.
Residents should be alert to signs of flooding, be ready to evacuate at a moment’s notice and know the difference between a flash flood watch and warning:
- A flash flood WATCH means flooding is possible in your area.
- A flash flood WARNING means a flood is already occurring or will occur very soon in your area. Move to higher ground away from rivers, streams, creeks and storm drains. Residents in low-lying areas near streams and rivers should evacuate immediately – you might only have a few minutes to escape.
Do not drive across water-covered roads. Turn around and find another route. If your car stalls in rapidly rising waters, abandon it immediately and climb to higher ground.
Residents also are encouraged to check emergency supplies on hand and move any vehicles to higher ground.
Emergency managers recommend having a three-day supply of water for each individual in your family (one gallon of water per person per day) including pets, along with non-perishable food, a battery-powered radio, extra batteries and a flashlight. It is also important to consider your family’s unique needs such as medication and important documents such as property insurance policies. Additionally, be sure you have a “go” kit that includes basic essentials such as food and water as well as blankets and clothing in case you must evacuate on a moment’s notice.
Other emergency supplies should include:
- A first-aid kit.
- Extra medications.
- An emergency contact list of family members, friends, doctors, etc.
For more information on putting together an emergency plan or an emergency supply kit, visit www.MakeaPlan.org, or the Fairfax County emergency information Web page. The Ready Web site is another resource where individuals can find an emergency supply checklist, download an emergency plan and link to local information.
During severe weather in Fairfax County, residents can receive the latest emergency messages via the county’s Web site; 1670 AM, emergency radio for Fairfax County; and from the local media.
In addition, Fairfax County will communicate with residents via the Community Emergency Alert Network, or CEAN, which is used by the county to provide emergency messages and life safety information to pagers, cell phones and e-mail accounts. Residents can register for the service online.
Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs
12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 551
Fairfax, VA 22035-0065
Contact: Merni Fitzgerald, Director of Public Affairs
703-324-3187, TTY 711, Fax 703-324-2010
Media Pager: 703-324-NEWS (6397)
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