Alexandria Prepares for Flooding Ahead of Hurricane Joaquin

by Lee Hernly, Editor


The National Weather Service (NWS) has forecast a Nor’easter that will bring heavy rain and gusty winds to our area beginning on Friday, October 2. Currently, NWS has issued a Flood Watch and a Flash Flood Watch for Alexandria, from Friday morning through Saturday evening. Hurricane Joaquin, currently forecast to approach the Mid-Atlantic region, may affect weather for the entire Mid-Atlantic region, with heavy rainfall and possible flooding.

The City is prepared for a wide range of potential storm impacts and urges all residents and businesses to review storm preparation procedures for handling possible flooding, high winds, downed tree limbs, and power outages. Residents and businesses are asked to prepare for the possibility that it may not be safe to travel or that power may be out.

“Being prepared for an emergency—before one strikes–is the best thing you can do to protect your family or your business,” said City Manager Mark Jinks. “That means having three days of food, water, and medicine available and making a plan for what to do if you can’t travel safely. Even if we don’t get all the weather the forecast says is possible for a given storm, it’s always best to be prepared.”

Residents and businesses can help by staying off the roads during the storm, using sandbags to protect their property, clearing leaves and debris from neighborhood storm drains, and monitoring weather reports. Residents living in low-lying areas should be prepared to evacuate if a Flood Warning or Flash Flood Warning is issued.  Do not attempt to cross a flooded roadway.


The National Weather Service projects that Potomac River high tide will reach 4.43 feet at 1:00 AM on Saturday, which is expected to produce minor coastal flooding.  The City will provide up to five free sandbags per residential or business address, which may be picked up on Friday, October 2, from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, at the intersection of King and Lee Streets and at 133 S. Quaker Lane.  Those picking up sandbags will be asked to show proof of residence or business ownership in the City of Alexandria, such as a driver’s license or utility bill.  Sandbags should be returned to either pickup location after the storm, and should not be disposed of with normal trash or recycling.  Additional instructions for how to best use sandbags are available at this link.


If your power goes out, report it to Dominion Virginia Power at 866.DOM.HELP (866.366.4357) or this link. For information on food safety in the event of a power outage, see this link.

To report a water main break or for questions about water service, contact Virginia American Water at 800.452.6863.

Residents and businesses are encouraged to take steps to prevent flooding and sewer backups by clearing eaves, drains and sewer openings; checking gutters and downspouts; ensuring that sump pumps are working properly, and moving furniture and other items from basements to upper floors if located in areas prone to flooding or backups.  For additional information, see this link.


The 20th Annual Art on the Avenue festival, scheduled for October 3, has been postponed until October 10. Check for other event cancellations and facility closures that may occur due to the weather.  For Alexandria City Public Schools operating status, see this link.

For questions or concerns about storm response, call 703.746.HELP. Please call 911 only in the case of a life-threatening emergency or serious crime.

Flooding in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia - April 30, 2014

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