There’s quite the winter storm bearing down on us! — a blizzard warning starts Friday at 3 p.m. until Sunday at 6 a.m.
— NWS DC/Baltimore (@NWS_BaltWash) January 21, 2016
In its statement, the National Weather Service says:
It’s time to prepare if you haven’t already begun.
This storm has the potential to be extremely disruptive to the whole region and the forecasts show it’s not our typical snow storm event.
Everyone needs to prepare and take this storm seriously. When talking about feet of snow rather than inches, major impacts are guaranteed.
Here’s what we recommend you consider as the storm approaches:
Please check in now with elderly neighbors or other housebound people to ensure they have supplies (food, medicine, etc.). Please keep in touch with them during and after the storm, too. This is vitally important as the most vulnerable in our community could be impacted the most by this blizzard.
With feet of snow in the forecast, digging out fire hydrants will be critical to your neighborhood’s safety. Every second counts if there’s a fire. Make a note now of the nearest fire hydrant whether you’re in an urban setting such as Reston or Tysons, or in a suburban home in Springfield or Chantilly. We need you to adopt fire hydrants and clear them. Here’s how:
Of course, the proverbial bread, milk and toilet paper are flying off the shelves around the county. Other recommendations:
- Withdraw some cash if you don’t normally carry any just in case of power outages.
- If you drive, fill your car with gas before the snow starts flying on Friday.
- Buy batteries for flashlights. If your power goes out, do not use candles. Know how to contact Dominion or NOVEC if you lose power.
- More supply ideas.
The Virginia Department of Transportation is responsible for snow removal on most county roads. When the snow starts, you can track the status of plowing in your neighborhood.
One of the best ways to make sure that walkways and well-traveled paths in your area are cleared of snow is to work as a community to plan in advance. Reach out to your neighbors and talk about who is able to pitch in to help out. The state and the county do not clear snow and ice from public walkways (sidewalks and trails). While not legally obligated, residents and businesses are asked to help keep sidewalks safe.
And this snow removal will take days of work, especially to help clear sidewalks for school next week.
Some things to consider when working out your snow removal plans:
- What areas are priority for clearing to keep your neighborhood and residents safe?
- Volunteer to use/share equipment you may have such as small snow blowers for a community removal effort
- Shovel snow into the yard instead of into the street to minimize the problem of the snowplow covering your driveway with snow after you’ve just shoveled it (though with these predicted snow amounts, expect the end of your driveway to be covered a couple of times over).
- Do some neighbors need assistance in clearing their walkways (due to age, health conditions, disability, etc.)?
- Consider your health condition. If there is any reason that shoveling snow might be dangerous for you, such as a heart condition, consult your doctor before shoveling.
- If neighbors are on vacation (lucky them!), can someone chip in and help out so the whole community is safe?
- Keep the openings of storm drains clear of snow and debris to help alleviate potential flooding.
- Make sure that all parking spots identified as accessible parking spaces for people with disabilities are cleared of snow.
We have many ways you can choose to stay informed:
- Snow Update Hub: Check out this page for continuous updates from key sources such as the county, National Weather Service, VDOT and many more.
- Emergency Information Blog will feature status updates, safety tips and more.
- Follow us directly on Twitter at @fairfaxcounty
- If you’re on Facebook, we’ll post key updates on our page.
- Fairfax Alerts for important weather updates by email or text.
- More ways to stay informed