How to Prepare for Tropical Storm Isaias

Published on August 03, 2020

As Tropical Storm Isaias draws closer to our region, the Arlington County Department of Public Safety Communications and Emergency Management (DPSCEM) is encouraging all residents to prepare now.

Governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency beginning Monday, Aug. 3, and the National Weather Service (NWS)  officially issued a Tropical Storm Warning for Arlington County until further notice. Additionally, the NWS issued a Flash Flood Watch for Arlington, beginning Aug. 3 at 11:00 p.m.

Virginians are encouraged to consult the Virginia Hurricane Evacuation Guide During the COVID-19 Pandemic, which outlines preparedness, response, and recovery actions designed to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 and protect public health.

Arlington's COVID-19 sample collection sites at 1429 N Quincy Street and Arlington Mill Community Center will be CLOSED Tuesday, August 4, in anticipation of inclement weather.

BEFORE the Storm

Here are some tips to 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.

2. Plan Ahead

3. Build a Kit

Assemble Emergency SuppliesGet supplies together that you may need for your family for at least three days, and make sure to include cloth face coverings, hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies as we continue to deal with COVID-19.

DURING the Storm

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.

Fallen Trees and Downed Power Lines

  • For all emergencies, call 9-1-1. 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.

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.

Emergency Generators

In an emergency, portable electric generators are useful when temporary power is needed. However, they can be hazardous if safety precautions aren't followed.

The most common dangers involving generators are carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, electrical shock or electrocution, and fire hazards. CO deaths associated with generators have spiked in recent years as generator sales have risen. To help keep you and your neighbors safe, the Arlington County Fire Department recommends that you follow these guidelines.

Stay Safe During a Flood

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.