67°Mostly Cloudy

County: Hurricane Will Be Like a 24 Hour Derecho

by ARLnow.com October 29, 2012 at 2:35 pm 7,757 20 Comments

The rain and wind from Hurricane Sandy is about to get worse, Arlington County said in an emergency alert this afternoon (below).

County officials compared the dangerous conditions Arlington will experience over the next 24 hours to the heavy winds of the June 29 derecho, which lasted 24 minutes.

Already some power problems and falling trees and power lines have been reported. Dominion reported 423 customers without power in Arlington earlier this afternoon, but power has since been restored to most. Firefighters are currently on the scene of a large tree that fell on to a house on the 2900 block of N. Oxford Street, in the Bellevue Forest neighborhood. The house was unoccupied at the time and nobody was hurt.

In the following Arlington Alert, the county says they’re starting to receive reports of flooded roads. Long Bridge Drive has already been closed due to flooding.

Hurricane Sandy is about to get worse.

Think of the derecho storm with high winds in June that lasted 24 minutes. The winds we’re about to experience beginning this afternoon are like the derecho, but they will last for 24 hours.

To paraphrase: Instead of 24 minutes of dangerous winds, it will be 24 hours of dangerous conditions.

We need you to stay off the roads and indoors as travel will become extremely dangerous with winds and heavy rain beginning this afternoon.

Several inches of rain and potential flooding could start happening. We’re beginning to get reports of flooded roads.

Have your battery-powered radio available and make sure your phone is fully charged if you lose power. We will share any shelter openings and other updates via our information channels such as our Emergency Management Blog, County Web Page and Arlington Alert.

Separately, the county is advising residents to secure loose items outside, if that can be done safely, and to avoid driving into high standing water. “Please exercise extreme caution” in the storm, the county said.

As high winds approach, exercise extreme caution. For the safety of our employees, Arlington County will implement its high-wind policy. As the wind approaches sustained speeds of 30-40-45 miles-per-hour, we will pull crews off the roads and in to a safe place. This includes Parks staff, who will suspend responding to downed tree calls during these dangerous wind conditions. As winds approach very high, sustained speeds, police and fire personnel will respond only to life-threatening calls.

Please exercise extreme caution; emergency managers urge you to go a safe place and stay there. We also encourage you to remove/secure loose items from your yard, balcony, deck, etc., as these could become dangerous projectiles in high wind. Do this if you can do so safely.

Monday & Tuesday trash and recycling services are delayed until Wednesday. Bring your trash carts and recycling bins into your house/garage; do not leave them outside, as they could become airborne and dangerous.

Also, it’s a good idea to remove or secure loose items from your yard, balcony, deck, etc., as these could become dangerous projectiles in high wind. Do this if you can do so safely.

We are receiving reports of ponding on some roads. Standing water is deceptive; do not drive into standing water. Do not go out onto the roads if at all possible; we urge you to get to a safe place and stay there.

  • 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 .
  • Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles including SUVs and pick-ups.

  • It’s Me

    Special thanks to Arlington Fire, EMS and police and others for being out there to keep us safe and help out when things go wrong. As we sit here safe, warm and dry in our homes – we appreciate your efforts out on the streets.

    • Hmm

      +1000 Thanks!

    • James


    • Arlingtonian

      + a billion! Thank you!!!

  • Smith

    Arlington runs a tight ship. Thanks to all the County employees that make it happen.

    • Indeed

      All 10 of them.

      • awesomepossum

        This would be better run by the private sector.

        • CNote


  • Cate

    No shade against Arlington County, more the media – I’m getting major “the boy who cried wolf” feelings from the coverage of this storm. There’s a slight to moderate wind here with light to moderate rain. Maybe because I used to live in NC and I wouldn’t bat an eyelash at running errands in a Category 1, but…I’m really not seeing much from this thing. And it was supposed to intensify around noon, right?

    I might eat my words later, but…the news coverage is way, way overblown.

    • It’s Me

      Center of storm has yet to hit landfall…check back later tonight for 45-55mph gusts…and start prepping those words for a tasty meal…potentially without power!

  • charlie

    Yep, bad comparison.

    I was awoken because the building was shaking thanks to derrecho winds. I’d guess close to 75-80 MPH near Rosslyn.

    Not this time around. 30-40 MPH. I wouldn’t park my car outside, but right now only 1800 w/o power.

    • Greg

      The storm is just beginning. Have you not turned on the TV or read any news about the storm? I can’t even imagine how helpless you were in the days without the internet.

      • Arlingtonian


  • Quackers

    Thanks also to utility workers who are out braving the storm (there’s been a Verizon van out there with somebody working all day, instead of being inside someplace safe).

    I wouldn’t advise that anybody try to venture out now. I just watched a younger guy trying to cross a parking lot and he had to hop sideways to keep from being blown backward.

    I don’t think there’s any exaggeration in the storm warnings, it was just pushed back somewhat and the heavier winds and rain are really moving in now.

    Can we all just be considerate of and look out for the other guy, at least during the storm? We can all return to the normal mode of interaction once it’s over.

  • Windy

    Any news on county emergency shelters? Where will they open? Nice to have this info before you need it.

  • LifeorLiberty

    The wind situation is definitely Of the hook here in Ballston.
    on the 11th floor the window/doors are rattling constantly.
    This is not overblown its the real deal. and better to be here than NYC ! It is much like a very long derecho

  • Iit’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine…

    Derecho did not have much rain, this has had a full day of soaking rain to loosen the soil. This is going to be bad.

  • James B.

    I was walking home minding my own business when that derecho suddenly hit. Thought a tornado was forming right over me or something. Not fun at all! This is ok though since I’m inside and dry. Carry on mother nature…

  • Alan

    pretty minor storm in the end

  • justin

    Agreed. Overstated. Now back to the election.


Subscribe to our mailing list