Winter storms are unpredictable. They can result in picturesque snow-covered landscapes; however, heavy snow and gusty winds can wreak havoc on daily routines, traffic and personal safety. It is important to be prepared for anything. Start by signing up for critical and up-to-date weather, traffic and emergency notices (listed below) then read on for tips to optimally prepare for and stay safe this weekend, and all winter long.
- Emergency Information Blog
- Snow hub update
- Fairfax County News Center
- Six ways to get ready for the blizzard
- Fairfax Alerts
- Fairfax Radio
- Fairfax County Government Channel 16
- Winter Weather Preparedness Page
We STRONGLY recommend during inclement weather that you STAY IN but it is important to have your vehicle ready in case of an emergency or you can’t avoid going out:
- Cold weather affects your tires’ air pressure so ensure your tires are properly inflated. You can find the proper psi (pounds per square inch) in your vehicle manual or on the tire itself.
- Pack a safety kit with warm clothing, water and snacks, in case you unexpectedly get stuck or stranded in your vehicle.
- Drive slowly and maintain greater distance between other vehicles. Snowy, wet and icy conditions greatly reduce traction with the roadway.
- While driving, keep your eyes up to see down the road ahead of you.
- We naturally drive toward where we’re looking. If you’re staring at something off the roadway, you are likely to steer toward it. Always focus on where you want to go to avoid veering off and striking something, like a tree, tow truck or police vehicle on the side of the road.
- Accelerate and decelerate slowly.
- Obey the Move Over law. Police, Fire-Rescue and other first responders are at great risk when working on the road. If you see those flashing blue or red lights on the side of the road, slow down and MOVE OVER. It’s the law.
- Remember, if you’re approaching an intersection and the traffic signal is completely out, DRIVERS ARE REQUIRED TO TREAT NON-FUNCTIONING SIGNALS LIKE A 4-WAY STOP (code section 46.2-833). All vehicles are expected to come to a complete stop, ensure the intersection is clear and you have the right-of-way before proceeding through it.
- REMEMBER: If your signal is out and you don’t think to slow or stop, other drivers probably don’t either.
- If conditions become too dangerous and you choose to stop and leave your car on the road, find a place out of the way to park and exit your vehicle. DO NOT BLOCK THE MAIN TRAVEL LANES.
If you are staying at home (recommended), it is useful to have the following items handy:
- Simple and easy foods. Water, canned food, sandwiches and things that generally don’t need to be cooked (in case of power outage).
- Fully charged cell phone and charging device or extra battery.
- Battery-powered radio and extra batteries.
- Portable space heater. Caution: if the power goes out, using your stove for heat is dangerous and a fire hazard.
- Flashlights and spare batteries.
- First-aid kit.
We are also gearing up for the storm
The police operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Rain or shine and even snow, we strive to provide the same level of service and protection our residents have come to expect.
County agencies have emergency preparedness plans in place and we’re ready to provide important services and alerts to you. We will be out there responding to calls for service and weather-related incidents such as downed trees and power lines, icy roads and intersections governed by traffic signals that may lose power.
The storm is here!
When the snow arrives, please stay at home or get home as quickly as possible. Even under the most moderate conditions, driving is dangerous. Roads, especially bridges and ramps, quickly become slippery. Visibility becomes significantly reduced and your risk for being involved in a crash or getting stranded greatly increases. Additionally, police and fire department resources are often stretched thin due to high call volumes for abandoned or disabled motorists and weather- or nature-related incidents.
Try to stay off the roadways so we can be available to respond to any emergencies that may arise.
Extreme inclement weather may require us to implement the Accident Policy. When the Accident Policy is in effect, officers will respond only to crashes involving personal injury, hit and run and fatal crashes. These temporary restrictions can be activated on a countywide basis or in individual police districts by police commanders. View this video for more info:
If your power has gone out, remain calm and utilize the radio or internet for information updates of events in your area. Pay special care and attention to space heaters and candles as they can pose serious fire hazard.
Find out if, and when, county government facilities announce delays or closings.
With a little patience, awareness and cooperation, this storm can be little more than a temporary inconvenience. Your safety is our priority!