Update On Hurricane Sandy, Utility Company Storm Preparations And Closings Around The District
Today, the Federal Government as well as Fairfax and Loudoun County Public Schools are closed due to the expected impact of Hurricane Sandy. More details on these closings and others are available below.
While New York City and areas to our north are likely to bear the brunt of the storm, you should expect very windy and rainy conditions in Northern Virginia this afternoon into Tuesday. Winds will pick up from the north today, and gradually turn toward the west by Tuesday. Several inches of rain is expected and road and stream flooding is a real possibility.
The latest National Weather Service forecasts that the Interstate 95 corridor west should experience up to 6 inches of rain in places, sustained winds of 30 mph, and gusts of up to 45-55 mph. You can track the storm by clicking here.
For news and updates on the weather, WTOP radio always has the latest information, so a battery operated radio or online radio can be a good source of information. WTOP also has an APP for your iPhone or Android phone that would come in handy if you lose power: http://www.wtop.com/. You can also follow @WTOP on Twitter for storm updates.
Traffic Updates And Safety Precautions
More than 400 Virginia Department of Transportation crew members have begun 12-hour shifts monitoring roadways in Northern Virginia. Our county police are monitoring roadways, as well.
As conditions in Northern Virginia will deteriorate throughout the day, drivers are asked to make every effort to be off the road. Please, get where you need to be before the weather gets bad (and plan to stay awhile!). Make every effort to be off the road during heavy rains and tropical-storm force winds.
If you encounter traffic lights without power, drivers are reminded to obey four-way stop rules at intersections without power.
- Treat each traffic light as a four-way stop, with the driver on the right having the right-of-way.
- Proceed with caution only when traffic permits.
- Enter intersections only when it is safe to do so, using turn signals to let other motorists know your intentions.
- Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.
- Watch out for and obey police officers directing traffic within intersections.
High water on roads in flood-prone areas, traffic signal outages, and road closures due to debris, downed trees and power lines are expected over the next several days. VDOT reminds drivers:
We will post road closure updates here on this blog as we receive them. You can also get the latest road conditions at www.511virginia.org or by downloading the 511 mobile APP.
- Slow down on wet roads to avoid hydroplaning.
- Ensure vehicles have adequate fuel to complete trips during power outages.
- If a traffic signal is out, drivers are advised to treat the intersection as a four way stop.
- Never drive through water flowing across a road. It takes only six to 12 inches of water to float a small vehicle.
- Never drive around barricades. Remember, the road has been closed for your safety.
- Avoid flood-prone areas, especially along creeks and other low-lying areas. Water in those areas can rise quickly and without warning during heavy rains.
- In the event of a flash flood warning for your area, seek high ground immediately.
- Watch for debris on the roadway. If you encounter a downed power line, do not try to move the line. Downed trees may contain power lines. Contact VDOT or Dominion Virginia Power.
Preparing For The Storm
- Have a full tank of gas in your vehicle
- Make sure you have extra cash
- Have disaster supplies kit ready to go
- Make sure every family member carries or wears identification
- Have an extra set of batteries for your battery powered radio and flashlights
- Listen to radio or television and NOAA Weather Radio for current information: The Weather Channel, WTOP 103.5 FM, WMAL 105.9 FM and 630 AM, and The National Weather Service
- Turn refrigerator and freezer to maximum cold and keep closed
- Fill the bathtub and other large containers with water for bathing, flushing toilets, and cleaning, but do not drink this water.
- Secure or bring inside other outdoor items as patio furniture, kids slides and power motors
- Turn off propane tank
Extra Precautions Residents Should Take
Power outages are likely, and if the power should go out in your home, use flashlights, not candles.
Carbon monoxide is a silent killer, please do not bring generators into your house. Also, do not use camp stoves or lanterns without ventilation. Any of these could cause of deadly build-up of carbon monoxide in the home.
Government Offices Closed And Local Public Schools In Fairfax And Loudoun County
The Office of Personnel Management announced this evening that the federal government will be closed today. More details are available here. Fairfax County Government Offices and Absentee polling place locations will also be closed. However, the State Board of Elections will schedule supplementary evening and weekend hours after the storm has passed ahead of the Tuesday Nov. 6 general election.
Amtrak Northeast Corridor Services - to include Virginia - are cancelled today. Metrorail, Fairfax Connector and VRE are not operating. Fastran will transport critical medical care appointments only. Normal trash pick up will occur.
Fairfax County Schools announced yesterday that schools will be closed on Monday and Tuesday. FCPS offices will also be closed on Monday. Loudoun County Schools also announced that schools and administrative offices will be closed today.
The following activities in schools and on school grounds will be canceled today and tomorrow in Fairfax County:
- extracurricular activities
- interscholastic contests
- team practices
- field trips
- middle school after-school programs
- professional learning and training courses
- all adult and community education classes
- recreation programs and community use by outside groups not affiliated with FCPS
School Age Child Care (SACC) centers will also be closed.
Emergencies, Reporting Outages, and Traffic Issues
Emergency contact information for reporting utility outages and traffic problems is as follows:
The Fairfax County Emergency Information Hotline has been activated and is available for residents to call for information about the storm. The number is 571-350-1300. Please make sure to use 9-1-1 only for true emergencies.
Other non-emergency numbers are:
Fairfax County: 703-691-2131
Loudoun County: 703-777-0234
Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or (703) 772-7168. I will also provide updates online and through email as appropriate and as we are able to do depending upon the storm situation.
Paid for and authorized by Friends of Barbara Comstock