This is Jett The Golden above, he loves the snow!
Weather Geeks Tool Chest
I’m a huge weather geek and I love any type of extreme weather. Today is day four of a historical blizzard in the Fredericksburg area. With totals between 24-30 inches of snow depending on where you are, you’re probably in the middle of digging out and getting back to work. While I was watching the snow fall, I became curious about the progress of the storm, Fire and EMS activities, general preparedness, VDOT road cleaning and electrical outages. Since today’s iPads and computers can be a virtual disaster command center allowing you to stay in the know I thought I’d share some of my favorite tools. These tools are great for snow storms, thunderstorms or any weather occurrence in the area.
VDOTs Plowed Road Map
The Virginia Department of Transportation actually tracks the actions of their road clearing crews and posts that history online so that you can know when your subdivision or road may be plowed. You can check out the link at http://vdotplows.org
VDOT Virginia 511 Traffic Information
The VDOT 511 Traffic Information is useful for seeing the condition of the roads. By color coding the congestion, this site will tell you where the delays are and how quickly traffic is moving during bad weather. The site tells you about road conditions and gives you the ability to zoom in to various regions and more. There’s also a nifty mobile app that you can download. Check it out at: http://www.511virginia.org
Dominion Power Outages Reporting and Tracking
This most recent storm had virtually no power outages, but if you’re wondering who has power and who doesn’t, or if your power is out and you wish to report online via your mobile device, you can use Dominion Power’s very handy website at: https://goo.gl/0JFOjY
Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Stafford Alert Systems
The various counties have created text and email alert systems to keep us aware of local news, emergency information, road closures, county and schools closings, etc… They also send emergency weather updates. The websites for these free county systems are as follows:
Fredericksburg, VA: http://www.fredericksburgalert.com
Spotsylvania, VA: https://www.spotsyalert.com
Stafford, VA: http://www.staffordalert.com
Best in Class Mobile Apps
In addition to the various counties alert systems above, I’ve found a few groovy mobile apps to keep me in the know.
The first is the 5-0 Radio app. This is a scanner app that lets you listen to Fire and EMS for the various counties.
The second app is the Storm app. This is a fantastic real-time app with radar and minute to minute weather predictions, as well as high definition radar, advanced storm cell tracking, severe weather outlooks and real-time severe weather alerts.
The third is Ready Virginia. Get everything you need to be prepared for emergencies with the official app of the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. Find out about disasters in advance with local weather and public health alerts. Learn what to do for each type of emergency situation. Locate hurricane evacuation routes and nearby Red Cross shelters that are open.
Get Real Time News
The Fredericksburg region has three primary news sources. Each offers something a little different. The first is Fredericksburg.com, which is a traditional newspaper website managed by the Free Lance Star. The second is the Fredericksburg Patch, which is a more collaborative news source and the last is Fredericksburg Today, which is a more modern and social website. Each site is useful and has a different approach at delivering the news.
Last but not least is the Virginia Department of Emergency’s online resource for… well, everything. This nifty site has a ton of information about what to do in an emergency, things you need for your vehicle, home and much more. It’s a great site for getting you and your family prepared and has a ton of resources for children. It’s well worth the time to check it out at http://www.vaemergency.gov .