Flood Watch: Safety Tips and Resources

June 4, 2009
OPA 118/09

News Highlights  

  • There is the potential for flooding based on the current forecast.
  • Sign up for the Community Emergency Alert Network (CEAN) to receive updates.
  • Be prepared to move to higher ground if flooding occurs.

More Information 

The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch for Fairfax County and other local jurisdictions.  A flood watch means that there is the potential for flooding based on the current forecast. With the heavy rain experienced this past week, and more in the weather forecast for today and tomorrow, Fairfax County residents are encouraged to visit the county's Emergency Information page to learn how to be prepared for a flooding emergency.

Residents also can sign up for Fairfax County’s Community Emergency Alert Network (CEAN) to receive important emergency alerts, notifications and updates during flooding or other emergencies. Messages can be delivered to different types of devices, including e-mail, cell phone, text pager, satellite phone and wireless device.

If a flood is likely in your area, you should:

  • Listen to the radio or television for information.
  • Be aware that flash flooding can occur. If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move immediately to higher ground. Do not wait for instructions to move.
  • Be aware of streams, drainage channels, canyons and other areas known to flood suddenly. Flash floods can occur in these areas with or without such typical warnings as rain clouds or heavy rain.
  • Evaluate the need to move valuables and essential items from flood prone basements or lower levels to a safer area in the home.

If you must prepare to evacuate, you should do the following:

  • Secure your home. If you have time, bring in outdoor furniture.
  • Turn off utilities at the main switches or valves if instructed. Disconnect electrical appliances. Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water. 

If you have to leave your home, remember these safety tips:

  • Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
  • Do not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. You and the vehicle can be quickly swept away.
  • Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing loss of control and possible stalling.
  • A foot of water will float many vehicles.
  • Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles including sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and pickups.

More tips and information about emergencies, can be found online. During or after an emergency situation, visit the county's home page or call 703-817-7771,


Get News. Get Information. Get Fairfax County.Contact: Merni Fitzgerald, Director, Office of Public Affairs
703-324-3189, TTY 711, Media Pager: 703-324-NEWS (6397)
To request this information in an alternate format, call 703-324-3187, TTY 711

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