7 Tips to Stay Safe and Make the Most of Our Rainy Forecast

Multi Colored Umbrella With Raindrop Shower

Rain, rain go away!

The National Weather Service has issued a Flood Watch for the potential for flooding from heavy rain. Localized areas of flooding of small streams and urban areas are possible into Saturday, May 19.

Here are seven things for you to know to stay safe – and maybe even have some rainy day fun – until the sun comes out again.


1. Turn Around, Don’t Drown

If you’re out and about in the rain, please be careful and keep in mind that swift water rescues can be needed in our county when roads flood. Any time you come to a flooded road, walkway or path, follow this simple rule: Turn Around, Don’t Drown.

People often underestimate the force and power of water, especially when it is moving.

  • Just 6 inches of fast-moving water can knock over and carry off an adult.
  • 12 inches of water can float a small car. If the water is moving, it can carry the car away.
  • 18 to 24 inches of flowing water can carry away most vehicles, including large SUVs.

It is impossible to tell the exact depth of water covering a roadway or the condition of the road below the water. This is especially true at night when your vision is more limited. It is never safe to drive or walk through floodwaters.


2. Keep Kids Away from Creeks

Do not allow children to play near creeks or other bodies of water that may rise rapidly. Many of our local waterways and creeks will likely experience some flooding, so keep kids away.


3. Clear Storm Drains and Gutters

Many of our storm drains and gutters may be covered in debris from the recent storms. If it is safe to do so, clear debris from storm drains, gutters and other areas around your home that, if clogged, could cause flooding. 


4. Stay Informed

Be sure to sign up for Fairfax Alerts and get the latest local watches, warnings and weather updates sent to your various devices. If you own a smartphone and if a dangerous situation warrants based on your location, you will receive Wireless Emergency Alerts, which are usually sent by the National Weather Service. Wireless Emergency Alerts come with a distinct ringtone and vibration pattern in order to get your attention.


Remember that we do need the rain! Here are few ways to make the most of our precipitation.

5. Make or Buy a Rain Barrel

Ready to take advantage of all this rain?  Rain barrels can be placed under downspouts to capture runoff from the roof with these benefits:

  • Provide your plants with water they will love. Unlike treated water, which is “softened” with dissolved minerals, rain water is naturally soft. The water stored in your rain barrel is better for washing your car and watering indoor or outdoor plants.
  • Save money and water. Instead of water from the tap or faucet, you can use the water you’ve saved to keep your home landscape happy and growing. You’ll also reduce your water bill!
  • Protect the Chesapeake Bay. By decreasing the volume of storm runoff, rain barrels also help moderate stream erosion and the resulting pollution that is impairing the Chesapeake Bay.
  • The Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District offers build-your-own workshops during the spring and early summer. There’s still time to register for the last workshop of the season on Saturday, June 9.


6. Create a Rain Garden

Rain gardens improve landscape aesthetics and help drain stormwater in an environmentally friendly and natural way. However, it’s important to plan a rain garden properly. For example, just because you have a persistently soaked spot in your lawn does not mean it would make a great rain garden. Learn how to create a rain garden that works for your location.


7. Green Spring Gardens in the Rain

What’s that saying about not waiting for the storm to pass?  Wet weather is supposed to continue through early next week, but don’t let that stop you from getting the kiddos out to Green Spring Gardens, where children ages 2 and 3 can get outside and enjoy the gardens rain or shine through the Garden Buds program. Cost is $5.

And don’t forget the annual Spring Garden Day Plant Sale this Saturday, May 19!

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