How to Prepare for Hurricane Florence

Published on September 11, 2018


As Hurricane Florence draws closer to our region, now is the time to prepare for potential impacts.

BEFORE the Storm

The Arlington County Department of Public Safety Communications and Emergency Management(DPSCEM) is encouraging all residents to prepare now for Hurricane Florence. Do not wait until the day before. Here are some tipsto get you and your family ready, remembering three key steps: Be Informed; Plan Ahead; and Build a Kit.

1. Be Informed

Stay aware by having multiple ways to get information, and be sure to keep an eye on the forecast.

Follow these other County departments for additional news and updates:

2. Plan Ahead

Make an emergency plan. It's important for you and your family to have a plan for an emergency to help everyone stay calm and to know what to do. You may not be together when an emergency happens, so plan for all locations you frequent, such as your home, work and school. Visit DPSECM's Hurricane Florence page for more info on how to prepare your home for heavy rains and high winds.

3. Build a Kitstorm prep kit

Assemble Emergency SuppliesGet supplies togetherthat you may need for your family for at least three days (and don't forget to include the needs of pets!).

  • Water — 1 gallon per person, per day

  • Have food that is nonperishable that does not require power to make.

  • Ensure you have flashlights and check batteries. Do not use candles as they can be a fire hazard.

  • Keep cell phones charged. Consider an external charger.

  • Refill medication/first aid kits.

DURING the Storm

While Hurricane Florence's expected path has shifted to the South, there will likely still be impacts Friday due to coastal flooding and expected rainfall. More importantly, the forecast is still uncertain, and the exact track and intensity will depend upon landfall.

Excessive rain in Arlington County may cause flooding, and as the ground becomes more saturated, it will be easier for winds to knock over trees and take down power lines. Be prepared for power outages. Remember: do not travel through flooded roadways.Turn around, don't drown.

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Know Who to Call

Prepare for the potential of power outages by writing down these helpful phone numbers:


Review these keys tips to stay safe in the event of flooding, making sure you know what to do should you encounter standing water:

  • Do not DRIVE into standing water. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. You and the vehicle can be quickly swept away. Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars, causing loss of control and possible stalling. A foot of water will float many vehicles.

  • Do not WALK through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall.

  • Ensure water does not come in contact with electric panels, outlets or electric appliances.

  • Unplug appliances if they're threatened by water. Pay special attention to washers and dryers, which have motors located in the bottom of the appliance.

  • If the water level rises high enough to threaten the electrical panel, turn off power to the building.

Check on others:Check on relatives, friends and neighbors, especially those who are elderly or at risk, to ensure they're safe.

Keep in mind that severe weather may impact your regular trash collection schedule — check the Arlington DES page for the latest info.

Heavy rains and fallen trees can result in power outages, traffic signals not working anddowned power lines.

What to do if traffic signals are not operating:Traffic signal outages during the storm should be reported to the Emergency Communications Center at 703-558-2222 so dispatchers can notify County crews and ACPD officers if there is a safety issue.

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Fallen Trees and Downed Power Lines

  • For all emergencies, call 911. This includes downed power lines, fallen trees that are blocking streets and safety issues that need immediate attention.

  • For power lines that are threatened by trees or branches, call Dominion Power at 1-888-667-3000.

  • For hazardous trees or branches over state roads, call Virginia Department of Transportation at 703-486-3393.

  • Call the Department of Parks and Recreation at 703-228-6525 for fallen or hazardous trees and branches on Arlington County streets and in parks during regular business hours (Mon.-Fri., 8 a.m. — 5 p.m.) or email Parks Maintenance.

  • Trees on power lines are by state law the domain of the utility company. As soon as power lines are removed from trees, we, or the owner of the tree, can remove the tree.


AFTER the Storm

Cleanup tips

  • Protect yourself with rubber boots and waterproof gloves. Disease-causing microorganisms can enter the body through the eyes, nose, mouth, and cuts and abrasions.

  • Remove and discard contaminated household goods such as wall coverings, rugs, cloth, and drywall that cannot be disinfected.

  • Always wash your hands with soap and water following the cleanup or handling of articles contaminated with sewage.

  • Small children, pregnant women and people with health problems should stay out of affected areas until cleanup is complete.

Water damage

Major home damage