Make sure to sign up for the new NovaAlert system

NovaAlert is the College’s system used to contact you with urgent information about emergencies, weather related closings, delays, and other critical information.  All student, faculty, and staff college email addresses have been added to the new NovaAlert system.  However, all cell phone users were deleted from the old system and, in order to get text alerts on your cell phone from the new system, you must complete the following steps:

  1. Login to
  2. Go to the USER LOGIN on the left side of the page
  3. Enter your college email address (FOR STUDENTS use the one ending in; FOR FACULTY/STAFF use the one ending in
  4. Your PASSWORD is your emplid


  1. Click Log in
  2. If, for some reason, the system does not recognize you; go ahead and register as a new user
  3. You can add a cell phone number or other email addresses under the DEVICES tab

Since this is a new system, you must enter your cell phone number to get text alerts, even if you had been receiving text alerts in the past.

If you have a problem, you can contact the NOVA IT Help Desk between 8:30am – 5:00pm, Monday-Friday by calling 703-426-4141 or by email at

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Virginia Statewide Tornado Drill on March 11th

The annual Statewide Tornado Drill is scheduled for 9:45am on Tuesday, March 11, 2014.  NOVA will once again be participating in this mandatory Statewide Drill.  While we realize that March 11th falls during spring break and many of you will away from the campuses, those who remain on campus will be required to participate. 

Tornados can happen anytime, anywhere, with little or no warning. Knowing what to do when seconds count can save lives.  Below is some information from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management’s website on the difference between a tornado watch and warning as well as signs of an impending tornado. 

Watches and Warnings
Learn the terms that are used to identify a tornado. 

  • Tornado Watch:   a tornado is possible in your area.  You should monitor weather-alert radios and local radio and TV stations for information. 
  • Tornado Warning:  a tornado has been sighted in the area or has been indicated by National Weather Service Doppler radar. When a warning is issued, take cover immediately

Know the Signs

  • Strong, persistent rotation in the base of a cloud
  • Whirling dust or debris on the ground under a cloud base – tornadoes sometimes have no visible funnel
  • Hail or heavy rain followed by dead calm or a fast, intense wind shift. Many tornadoes, especially in Virginia, are wrapped in heavy precipitation and can’t be seen.
  • Loud, continuous roar or rumble, which doesn’t fade in a few seconds like thunder does
  • If it’s night, look for small, bright, blue-green to white flashes at ground level (as opposed to silvery lightning up in the clouds).  These lights are power lines being snapped by very strong wind, perhaps a tornado.
  • Persistent lowering of the cloud base  


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NOVA Winter Weather Advisory

NOVA is closely monitoring the winter storm headed towards our region this evening, Wednesday, February 12, through tomorrow evening, Thursday, February 13. According to the latest forecast, heavy snow accumulation of 8 to 12 inches is expected. Snow may mix with sleet and rain. The College will make a decision about closing by 5:00 a.m. Thursday morning.

In preparation for the storm, please consider the following precautions:

  • Sign up for NOVA Alert if you haven’t done so already.
  • Monitor weather reports for the latest details through local TV stations, radio and online. Sources: WTOP 103.5 FM, the National Weather Service and the Weather Channel website.
  • Review the closing information on the Emergency Preparedness site.
  • Assemble and prepare supplies that include canned foods, water, a flashlight with extra batteries, first aid supplies and medicines in case of a power outage.
  • Be aware that roads can become very hazardous very quickly.
  • Avoid overexertion while shoveling snow and cleaning up from the storm, no matter your age or physical condition. Shoveling snow or pushing a car can bring on a heart attack or make other medical conditions worse.

The College will provide updates about its operating status through NOVA Alert, NOVA’s website, NOVAaccess Facebook, NovaAccess Twitter and local media outlets.

For more information on how to prepare and respond to severe weather, please refer to the following websites:

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Governor Terry McAuliffe Declares State of Emergency As Winter Storm Approaches

With the potential for a strong winter storm leading to several inches of snow over the next few days, Governor McAuliffe issued a State of Emergency for Virginia this afternoon.  There are many things that you can do to prepare for this and other winter storms.  You can find several tips listed below under the section, “Citizens should.”  Also, for more information and tips from FEMA on what to do before, during, and after a winter storm, click here.

As a reminder, you can find updated details on NOVA’s operating status by going to NOVA’s website.  Click here to go to the Office of Emergency Management’s website for a listing of where you can see or hear NOVA closing or delay announcements.


Feb. 11, 2014

RICHMOND, Va. – Governor Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency today, an action that authorizes state agencies to be ready to assist local governments in responding to the major snow storm that is forecast to hit the Commonwealth starting tomorrow.

In declaring a state of emergency, the governor authorizes state agencies to identify and position resources for quick response anywhere they are needed in Virginia.

“Now is the time for Virginia to get ready for this storm,” said Governor McAuliffe. “This state of emergency declaration will empower the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, the Department of Transportation, the Virginia National Guard, and our electric and cable utilities to prepare for a storm that is predicted to create power outages and significant travel challenges across the Commonwealth over the next few days.

“Just as state government is preparing for this storm, I urge every Virginian to take proper preparations. Prepare to limit unnecessary travel during the storm, have emergency supplies on hand and be ready in the event that power in your area goes out.”

Citizens should:

  •  Be prepared to take care of yourself and your family for at least 72 hours, in case roads are blocked and/or there are power outages.
  • A three-day supply of food includes a gallon of water per person per day and food that does not require electricity to prepare it.
  • Have a battery powered and/or hand-crank radio and extra batteries for emergency information.  Listen to local weather forecasts and instructions from local officials.
  • Always run generators outside in well-ventilated areas.  Never use a portable generator in any enclosed or partially enclosed space.
  • Only travel if absolutely necessary.  Roads can become very hazardous very quickly.  Always wear a seatbelt, and know road conditions before you leave.  Road condition information is available 24/7 by calling 511 or going to
  • Have emergency supplies in your vehicle.  If you are stranded you will need water, food, blankets, flashlight and extra batteries at a minimum.
  • Avoid overexertion while shoveling snow and cleaning up from the storm, no matter your age or physical condition.  Shoveling snow or pushing a car can bring on a heart attack or make other medical conditions worse.
  • If you need help for an elderly or disabled person during the storm, need information on warming shelters or are concerned about an unsheltered individual or family, call 211 or visit  When you call 211, a trained professional will suggest sources of help using one of the largest databases of health and human services in your community and statewide.
  • Get winter weather preparedness information at and download the new Ready Virginia app for iPhones and Android devices.
Posted in Inclement Weather, Preparedness | Comments closed

Sign up for NOVA Alert to make sure you get emergency notices

As I was driving past the Annandale campus this morning on my way to our office, I noticed a dozen or so cars turning in.  Normally I would not have thought anything of it except that I received a NOVA Alert text this morning at 5:00 a.m. stating that the campus was closed for the day due to a water main break.  It dawned on me that most of the people turning in have not signed up for NOVA Alert or else they would have been tucked away in bed still.

Signing up for NOVA Alert is EASY and very useful!  Not only will you get a text if the College (or your campus) is closed due to something like a water main break, an electrical outage, or inclement weather but, most importantly, you will get a text when an emergency occurs giving you vital information on what you should know or do.  It is free to sign  up for NOVA Alert (although some wireless carriers may charge to receive the text messages).

You can find more information as well as sign up for NOVA Alert here.

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