Fairfax County Weather
Tornadoes may strike quickly, with little or no warning, and the most important part of tornado safety is being prepared.
Since 1972, Fairfax County has experienced 18 tornadoes, including touchdowns in Belle Haven in 2014, Herndon in 2017, Lincolnia in 2018 and Reston in 2019. In 2019, 19 confirmed tornadoes touched down throughout the Virginia impacting 21 different communities.
TORNADO WATCH VS. WARNING
One of the most important things to know is the difference between tornado watches and warnings.
⚠️ WATCH = BE PREPARED because a tornado is possible
🚨 WARNING = TAKE ACTION because a tornado is imminent or already occurring
If there is a tornado watch, pay attention to a weather radio, commercial radio, government sources, television or a news website for up to date information. This includes signing up for our Fairfax Alerts: https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/alerts
➡️ More details, including ways to practice tornado preparedness (also available in Spanish, Korean, Arabic, Mandarin and Vietnamese): https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/emergency/readyfairfax/tornado
Fairfax Alerts: register or login and subscribe to weather categories.
Do you have a smoke alarm in your home?
Of course – it alerts you when there’s smoke.
NOAA Weather Radios are like smoke alarms for weather dangers. There are three key reasons why you should own a weather radio:
- Weather radios alert you to dangers like tornadoes and floods or other incidents.
- On standby 24 hours, especially at night to wake you up in case of emergency.
- Receive messages directly from the National Weather Service and other agencies immediately.
Without a weather radio, you could miss a critical warning message that could save your life and those in your family.
You don’t have to buy fancy or costly weather radios (they range from $20-$100). All weather radios are not identical, though. Try to buy one that use S.A.M.E. codes, which allow you to pre-program the weather radio to your location. Fairfax County’s S.A.M.E. code is 051059.
NOAA information and alerts are also available through many smartphone apps and websites.
NOAA Weather Radios also can be made accessible to people who are hearing impaired. In some situations, it can be connected to an existing alerting system in a deaf or hard of hearing person’s home or some come with an LCD display, warning lights or simple texts that make alerts visible.