Despite the downpour of rain on Tuesday, a steady stream of voters cast their votes at Armstrong Elementary School in Reston. As of 2 p.m. on Tuesday, 209,223 residents of Fairfax County voted in Virginia’s election.
The state is only of of two in the United States with statewide elections this year. Republican Ed Gillespie and Democrat Ralph Northam are vying for governor in what is expected to be a narrow contest, according to The New York Times. Libertarian Cliff Hyra is also running.
In the last election in 2013, turnout rested at 46.8 percent. With a little more than four hours before polls close, turnout this year sits at 30.6 percent, according to the county.
A record number of absentee ballots were cast this year, according to Fairfax County officials. More than 41,000 Virginians participated in early voting, up by roughly 61 percent from voting in 2013. Absentee voting was up in every jurisdictions in Virginia, except three, according to the Virginia Public Access Project, a non-profit organization that provides information about local politics.
There are more than 684,041 active registered voters in Fairfax County. Throughout the day, voters trickled in at various polling sites throughout Reston and Fairfax County. By 10 a.m., nearly 16 percent or roughly 109,000 of registered voters already casted their ballot.
All 100 seats in the Virginia House of Delegates are up for election. Fifty-five of those seats are contested.
Reston’s current Delegate, Democrat Ken Plum, is running without opposition in this election. Plum is currently serving his 36th year as the local Delegate for the 36th District, which includes Reston. Prior to his political appointment, he served for roughly 20 years as a public school teacher and administrator. Plum recently commented on his unopposed race for re-election in his weekly commentary.
Two candidates, Republican Jill Vogel and Justin Fairfax are running to replace Ralph Northam as Virginia’s lieutenant governor, a role which often presides over the State Senate, and has the power to break tie votes. The race for attorney general is between the current attorney general, Democrat Mark Herring, and his opponent, Republican John Adams.
The Board of Supervisors has asked residents to approve the sale of $315 million in bonds. If approved, the county has published a list of school improvement projects they would use the money to pay for.
The American Civil Liberties Union received multiple reports from Virginia voters who said that they received calls falsely saying their polling place had changed. The civil liberties organization advised voters to confirm polling locations at elections.virginia.gov and report any issues by calling the organization at 804-644-8080.
Photo by Fatimah Waseem
The storm was downgraded over the weekend from a hurricane to a tropical storm and later to a tropical depression, but it will still send a wave of rain across the East Coast. Nate sped through the Gulf Coast over the weekend as a Category 1 Storm, leaving more than 100,000 customers without electricity in the region. The hurricane was also the first to make landfall in Mississippi since Katrina in 2005.
In Reston, the National Weather Service expects a break from the rain on Tuesday, followed by back-to-back showers on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
— Melissa Nord (@MelissaNordWx) October 9, 2017
On Tuesday, the chance of rain is 20 percent, with temperatures hovering in the low 60s in the evening. On Wednesday and Thursday, the chance of showers is 50 percent. Skies will remain cloudy through Friday, according to the National Weather Service.
The Weather Channel provides a 10-day snapshot of the forecast here.
Heavy rains are being predicted for the entire region the next two days, and emergency agencies are warning that may mean flash flooding.
A flash-flood watch has been issued for the area, to be in effect Friday afternoon through Saturday afternoon. According to the National Weather Service, a stationary low pressure cell may bring torrential rains.
Low pressure is going to develop over the Mid-Atlantic Friday and remain nearly stationary this weekend. This will have the potential to bring 3 inches or more of rain to the region through Saturday afternoon. Thunderstorms could cause locally higher rainfall amounts.
Heavy rainfall may result in rapid rises in streams and creeks. This could quickly result in flooding… especially in low lying and poor drainage areas.
Precautionary/preparedness actions… a flash flood watch means that conditions may develop that lead to flash flooding. Flash flooding is a very dangerous situation. You should monitor later forecasts and be prepared to take action should flash flood warnings be issued.
WEATHER UPDATE: Flash Flood Watch issued for DC and region Fri PM- Sat PM. 3" or more rain possible by Saturday night! pic.twitter.com/x8LHzY7upF
— Tucker Barnes (@TuckerFox5) July 27, 2017
The Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang says this storm’s structure is similar to that of a winter storm. They say some pockets within the storm may see upward of 7 inches of rain.
“Heavy storms may line up along a corridor and hit the same areas repeatedly — a worrisome phenomenon known as training,” the CWG says. “Areas that experience training will be most prone to flooding.”
Fairfax County offers some of the following tips of how to stay safe if flash flooding occurs or has the potential to occur:
- Move immediately to higher ground. Do not wait for instructions to move.
- Always stay away from floodwaters.
- If you must walk in water, walk where water is not moving; use a stick to check the ground.
- Be aware of streams, drainage channels and other areas known to flood suddenly. Flash floods can occur in these areas with or without such typical warnings as rain clouds or heavy rain.
- Keep your children inside and away from streams and creeks.
- Stay away from downed power lines to avoid the risk of electric shock or electrocution.
- Keep your vehicle parked in your garage or on the driveway away from low-lying areas and large drains.
Residents are also reminded not to drive on flooded roads:
- Stop and take an alternate route. The depth, current and condition of the road are all unknowns and can be deadly.
- If your vehicle stalls on a flooded road and water is rising, get out of the car, call 9-1-1 and move to higher ground.
- Be especially cautious during periods of limited visibility or nighttime when it is extremely difficult to see and judge conditions — state law requires headlights when wipers are on.
According to the National Weather Service, there’s a chance, but not a big one.
Rain and the chance of thunderstorms is likely until at least 2 p.m. Friday, with the added likelihood of “gusty winds.” Temperatures will mostly remain in the 60s, with a possible high of 73 degrees.
Around mid-afternoon, there is a chance the rain will finally stop between 2 to 4 p.m. Then, the chance of showers tonight goes down to around a 30-percent likelihood. Temperatures tonight will hover in the 50s.
For the weekend, sporadic rain is highly likely. The chance of rain is 70 percent between 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, with a mostly clear mid-day leading to a 30-percent chance of rain returning around 8 p.m. Temperatures will linger in the 50s with a high near 64.
Thankfully, it looks like Restonians may be able to enjoy a dry Sunday. There is only a 20-percent chance of showers around 8 a.m. However dry, though, it will likely be an overcast and windy day, with temperatures in the 50s and wind gusts of up to 24 miles per hour.