Drivers have been stuck on the George Washington Parkway for 5-6 hours now, according to various reports from Twitter.
The fact that there are no traffic cameras along the parkway has made it difficult to see exactly what’s going on, but Twitter users are reporting that downed trees are blocking all northbound and southbound lanes.
“My mother’s been there for 6 hours,” said one user.
“Talking to friend still stuck on parkway since 4:30 PM just past CIA exit going south,” said another.
“I have a friend who has been there since 5pm. She says cops are walking up and down, people are huddling together in cars,” said yet another.
Westbound I-66, meanwhile, has been at a virtual standstill since about 7:00 p.m.
Icy conditions and numerous accidents have made the two-lane highway impassable for much of the night.
Currently, there’s a large backup before the Rosslyn tunnel. Traffic is moving along single file past 21st Street, with a stalled car blocking the left-hand lane.
Earlier, Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said the reason why it was taking so long to get traffic moving was because the traffic itself was preventing crews from treating the roadway.
“There are vehicles that are stuck, and you have to get the vehicles out of the way before you can get the snow plows through to clear the road,” Geller said. “The shoulders aren’t wide enough, there’s not enough space to get the VDOT trucks through to treat roadways. So you have to clear the road, then get the trucks through to treat it. Then, as soon as you get it treated, more cars come through, someone loses control and it starts all over again.”
Geller said Virginia State Police responded to calls for 106 disabled vehicles and 56 crashes in Northern Virginia between 5:00 and 10:00 p.m.
At one point, Geller said, a state trooper was struck and knocked over by an out-of-control car on I-66 near Glebe Road. The trooper was not hurt and remained on the job, she said.
Arlington Public Schools will be closed on Thursday, Jan. 27, the school system announced tonight.
Administrative offices will be open.
Update at 10:00 p.m. — There are now more than 13,400 Dominion customers without power in Arlington.
Heavy, wet snow is continuing to fall in the area, knocking down trees and power lines and grinding traffic to a halt.
As a result of road conditions, Arlington Transit has announced that it will be discontinuing ART bus service at 9:00 p.m. Meanwhile, Metrobus service will end at 9:30 p.m.
Traffic on westbound I-66 has been at a standstill from Rosslyn to Spout Run for at least
one three hours. Hundreds of motorists are stranded in the snow. Many have turned off their car to save gas.
More than 10,000 Dominion customers are without power in Arlington. On Twitter, residents of nearly every Arlington zip code have reported flickering lights.
Dozens of reports of downed trees and power lines are coming in. Many are reporting transformers and trees on fire. One tree in the area of Marymount University fell on a house, but no injuries were reported.
Arlington County reports that it has 45 plows out clearing roads. Crews will be working throughout the night, the county says.
Cars were getting stuck on the snowy, hilly section of the Pike near Washington Boulevard. Traffic was backed up before the hill as a result. On Washington Boulevard, traffic was at a standstill.
Residents were streaming up the sidewalks of the Pike from the Pentagon City area. Some were stopping to help push stranded cars up the street. Others were talking on their phones, trying to provide directions to loved ones who were stuck in traffic.
Snow-covered tree branches hung low over sidewalks, threatening to snap at any moment.
Through it all, though, people remained friendly and willing to help their fellow man. In a rainstorm, you might be tempted to push someone out of the way to get where you’re going faster. During snow storms, it seems, a better side of humanity shines through.
Update at 7:25 p.m. — A downed tree has completely blocked westbound Lee Highway near HB Woodlawn. Separately, a tow truck is on the way to assist a stranded ambulance on Washington Boulevard near the Navy Annex.
Update at 7:00 p.m. — Downed power lines and falling tree limbs are being reported throughout the area. Dominion is reporting more than 1,200 customers without power in Arlington. Dominion spokeswoman Le-Ha Anderson tells WUSA 9 that it may take more time than usual to restore power due to gridlock on local streets and highways.
Update at 6:10 p.m. — Traffic is at a dead stop on westbound I-66 from the District to Spout Run.
Update at 5:40 pm. — Stranded vehicles are being reported on Glebe Road near Chain Bridge and at Washington Boulevard and I-395.
Update at 5:30 p.m. — Treacherous conditions are reported on parts of Carlin Springs Road and Patrick Henry Drive. Via a traffic camera (above) we witnessed a car slide down Carlin Springs near Route 50 and nearly strike a pole. The car was eventually able to reverse and continue on its way.
Update at 5:15 p.m. — Westbound Washington Boulevard has been shut down at Sycamore Street.
Traffic throughout the county has slowed to a crawl as roads become increasingly snow-covered and as nightfall sets in.
Southbound I-395, westbound I-66, southbound Route 1, westbound Route 50, westbound Columbia Pike, Washington Boulevard and Glebe Road are jammed.
Numerous accidents have been reported throughout the county. Numerous hills have been reported to be impassable.
Police and firefighters report being delayed responding to calls due to heavy traffic.
Emergency responders have now been instructed to put chains on their tires to improve traction.
Highways leading out of the District of Columbia are thick with traffic as a steady rain starts to change over to a slippery mix of sleet and snow.
Southbound I-395 and westbound I-66 are both jammed.
Meanwhile, police and firefighters are on the scene of a two-vehicle collision on northbound I-395 just before Shirlington.
Update at 3:55 p.m. — Heavy congestion reported on Washington Boulevard from Clarendon to I-395.
Update at 4:15 p.m. — Firefighters are on the scene of a two-vehicle crash on Columbia Pike at South Frederick Street.
Update at 4:25 p.m. — Roads are quickly becoming snow-covered. Reports are coming in of cars becoming stuck on hills.
Update at 5:15 p.m. — We’re now providing snow and traffic updates on a new post.
(Updated at 3:05 p.m.) An armed robbery has been reported at the BB&T Bank in Rosslyn.
Initial reports suggest two men robbed the bank, located on the 1900 block of Fort Myer Drive, around 1:40 p.m. One of the men was armed with a gun, police were told.
The men were seen fleeing from the scene. Police radio reported that the men dropped the money after a dye pack exploded in the nearby Holiday Inn parking lot.
Police set up a perimeter and used dogs to try to track the suspects. So far, the suspects remain at large.
As commenters have pointed out, the BB&T Bank branch robbed today was also robbed in 2008.
By 3:00 this afternoon, VDOT expects to have 2,000 trucks helping to keep Northern Virginia roads clear of snow. Still, the agency is bracing for “rapidly deteriorating weather conditions” and warning of a “very difficult rush hour.”
VDOT started pre-treating bridges and ramps and other trouble spots on state roads and highways yesterday, according to spokeswoman Joan Morris. Spots on I-66, I-95, I-395 and I-495 were treated with liquid magnesium chloride, while parts of major roads like Route 50 and Route 1 were pre-treated with salt brine.
Now, crews are in position to tackle snow that’s expected to fall at a rate of 1″ to 2″ an hour later this afternoon.
“Treatment trucks and plows are pre-positioning along interstates, major roads and in subdivisions throughout Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William counties for quick response,” VDOT said in a statement.
The agency is asking Northern Virginia drivers to stay off the roads tonight, if at all possible.
“The Virginia Department of Transportation urges motorists to plan ahead for their evening commutes, and to limit travel after 4 p.m. today,” VDOT said. “If motorists must travel, they are encouraged to check current weather, road conditions and traffic cameras before traveling by visiting www.511Virginia.org or by calling 511.”
VDOT also issued the following winter driving tips:
- Ensure that your vehicle is winter-ready.
- Slow down, and keep a five-second distance or more behind other vehicles. Do no pass trucks applying chemicals unless absolutely necessary.
- Be aware of areas prone to freezing such as ramps and bridges.
- When driving on ice, do not slam on brakes. Turn gently and slowly.
- Keep an emergency winter kit in your car.
- Always wear your seatbelt.
Last week we announced our first annual Alternative Vehicle Decal contest, to compete with the actual Arlington County vehicle decal contest. We’ve completed the difficult task of narrowing the excellent submissions down to five finalists, and now it’s time to vote.
We’ll keep voting open for a week, and will announce the winner shortly thereafter. The grand prize is the satisfaction of knowing that Arlington picked you as its best alternative vehicle decal designer.
Good luck to all the finalists!
(Just to be clear, this contest is not sanctioned by Arlington County or any other governmental body.)
With Arlington salt trucks gearing up to tackle this afternoon’s potentially dangerous snowfall, Arlington schools and the federal government have both announced early closings.
Arlington Public Schools will close two hours early today, the school system has announced. All evening and after school activities are canceled.
Meanwhile, the Office of Personnel Management has announced that federal employees will be dismissed two hours early today.
Update at 1:00 p.m. — All Arlington Public Library branches are closing at 5:00 p.m.
Update at 1:15 p.m. — All non-emergency Arlington County Government facilities will close at 5:00 p.m. Evening activities are canceled.
Stick with ARLnow.com for continuous breaking news coverage of tonight’s winter storm. We’ll be providing up-to-the-second updates through midnight tonight on the blog and on Twitter.
Clarendon’s Mad Rose Tavern is “getting close to opening day,” according to a new update on the bar’s Facebook page.
Once it opens, managers say the bar will feature a “legendary liquor selection,” including an emphasis on Scotch and Irish whiskeys.
General Manager Seamus Phillips told TBD that the extensive renovation of the bar’s space on the ground floor of 3100 Clarendon Boulevard has cost more than a million dollars. Pending county inspections, the tavern should open in early February, Phillips said.
As part of last night’s Facebook update, Mad Rose gave beer geeks something to look forward to with a sneak peak of its work-in-progress beer list. Selections included:
- Full Sail Bump In The Night
- Lagunitas Brown Shugga
- Left Hand 400 Lb Monkey
- Rogue Chocolate Stout
- Sam Smith Oatmeal Stout
- Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold Lager
- Gulden Drak
- Lagunitas sumpin sumpin
- Tuppers Kellar Pils
The American Booksellers Associations, which represents independent booksellers, held a four-day convention in Crystal City last week to network and discuss business strategies.
Among the activities was a field trip to Arlington’s Revolution Cycles.
NPR tagged along as Revolution Cycles CEO Mike Hammanwright shared words of wisdom on how to connect with customers.
Hammanwright said consumers are passionate about books in the same way they’re passionate about bicycles. To connect with those passionate consumers, you have to have a passionate (and well-trained) sales staff.
“If we’re listening and paying attention, and we hear what you’re looking for, then we can show you the products we have that we feel meet those needs,” Hammanwright said. “If a customer comes expecting that expertise, and you don’t deliver it, you’re going to do very poorly.”
Read more from NPR.
Arlington Schools Operating on Normal Schedule — Arlington Public Schools are operating under a normal schedule this morning, despite a combination of rain, snow and slush that’s making travel a bit tricky for drivers.
No word yet on whether students will be sent home early from school. Schools will close two hours early. Heavy snow is expected to start falling later this afternoon.
Homeless Count Scheduled for Today — Despite the inclement weather, volunteers are expected to head out to all corners of the county today to count the number of homeless individuals in Arlington. The count will be used to determine levels of federal and state aid, and to measure the effectiveness of the county’s homeless services. Among those participating in the count will be U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Deputy Secretary Ron Sims. [Sun Gazette]
Arlington Heights Debates Next Neighborhood Project — The Arlington Heights Civic Association is taking suggestions on how to spend the next round of possible Neighborhood Conservation funds. [Pike Wire]