(Updated at 3:40 p.m.) The National Weather Service has issued a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Arlington and the rest of the metro area until 4:30 p.m. This is the same system that has prompted tornado warnings in nearby counties. From NWS:
.DAY ONE…TODAY AND TONIGHT
* SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR…
MONTGOMERY COUNTY IN CENTRAL MARYLAND…
CITY OF FAIRFAX IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA…
CITY OF FALLS CHURCH IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA…
ARLINGTON COUNTY IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA…
CITY OF ALEXANDRIA IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA…
WESTERN PRINCE GEORGES COUNTY IN CENTRAL MARYLAND…
SOUTHERN HOWARD COUNTY IN CENTRAL MARYLAND…
EASTERN LOUDOUN COUNTY IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA…
NORTHERN FAIRFAX COUNTY IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA…
* UNTIL 430 PM EDT
* AT 323 PM EDT…SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS WERE DETECTED ALONG A LINE
EXTENDING FROM 5 MILES NORTHWEST OF POOLESVILLE TO SOUTH RIDING…
AND WERE MOVING EAST AT 50 MPH. THIS LINE OF STORMS IS CAPABLE OF
PRODUCING DESTRUCTIVE WINDS IN EXCESS OF 70 MPH.
* LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE…
THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA…
THIS IS A DANGEROUS LINE OF STORMS. IF YOU ARE IN ITS PATH…MOVE
INDOORS TO A STURDY BUILDING AND STAY AWAY FROM WINDOWS. WHEN IT IS
SAFE TO DO SO…REPORT SEVERE WEATHER TO LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT OR TO
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE.
THIS LINE OF STORMS HAS A HISTORY OF PRODUCING WIDESPREAD WIND
DAMAGE. SEEK SHELTER INSIDE A STURDY STRUCTURE AND STAY AWAY FROM
Many events and activities have been cancelled for this afternoon and evening in light of the storms, including those listed below:
- Arlington Public Schools after school activities and late buses
- Rosslyn Farmers Market and Lunchtime Concert
- Pentagon Row’s “Rock at the Row” concert
- Shirlington’s “Shirlala Music Festival”
Arlington has been feeling the impacts of Tropical Storm Andrea today.
The storm has been dumping rain on the region all day, and even heavier rains and stronger wind gusts are expected during the evening commute.
Tonight’s outdoor showing of “Risky Business” in Rosslyn has been cancelled due to the weather. Meanwhile, the soaking rains and wind might be responsible for knocking down power lines along N. Pershing Drive in the Ashton Heights area. Pershing is currently closed between Lincoln and Monroe Streets while police and firefighters wait for Dominion Power crews to repair the lines.
AAA Mid-Atlantic is warning drivers to be careful on the roads tonight, especially during periods of heavier rain.
“Tropical Storm Andrea passes through the Washington Metro area today and will continue north along the I-95 corridor,” the organization said in a press release. “Motorists will face hazardous driving conditions during the evening commute due to heavy winds, torrential rains, and flooding… The auto club is advising motorists to exercise caution if they must take to the roads during the squally driving conditions.”
AAA issued the following list of wet weather driving tips.
- Slow down and increase following distances. Speed limits are set for ideal road conditions. When it rains, visibility is reduced and braking distances increase. On dry pavement, a safe following distance permits two to three seconds for stopping; that should be increased to eight seconds on slippery roads. Train your eyes farther down the road than normal, so you can anticipate changes and adjust your course gradually.
- Do not attempt to drive through standing water. Try to avoid bridges and roads that are known to flood. Cross them only if there is little standing or streaming water. When driving on pothole-filled roads, hold the steering wheel firmly to avoid losing control. Just a few inches of water can turn your vehicle into a boat, and could put your life, and the lives of those around you, at great risk. Turn around; find another way to get to your destination.
- Watch out for hydroplaning. No car is immune from hydroplaning on wet surfaces, including four-wheel drive vehicles. Just because brakes work under normal conditions doesn’t mean they will react the same on slippery roads where tires roll with far less traction.
- Alert drivers behind you that you’re slowing with your brake lights. Without anti-lock brakes, squeeze the brakes until they are about to lock up and then release. With anti-lock brakes, use the same move – but don’t pump the brakes, which would work against the operation of the ABS system. Slow down as you approach a pothole. However, do not brake when your vehicle is directly over a pothole.
- Use the central lanes. When driving during heavy rain, use center lanes of the road (without straddling the yellow line). Avoid outside lanes where the water collects at curbside.
- Use low-beam headlights to help other drivers see your car and increase visibility. Remember many states legally require drivers to use their headlights during inclement weather. In our neck of the woods Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey have wipers on, lights on laws, according to the AAA Digest of Motor Laws.
- Use your defroster with your air conditioning to keep the air dry and prevent windows from fogging.
- Do not drive around barricades. Many lives have been lost when drivers disregard official orders and find themselves trapped in rising waters.
- Turn off the cruise control in wet weather driving. The use of cruise control on wet roads can cause hydroplaning.
- If conditions worsen to the point where there is any doubt about your safety, take the nearest exit and find a safe location. Don’t just stop on the shoulder or under a bridge where you may feel less anxiety. If your visibility is compromised, other drivers may be struggling too.
- Fumes and oil leaks that build up on dry pavement rise to the surface of the road when it rains, making the road far slicker than it may seem.
Arlington is currently under a Flash Flood Watch.
Potomac Harmony Chorus, and all-female a capella group, was scheduled to perform.
The decision to cancel was made in consultation with the group, both for their health and safety, and for that of the audience.
As of now, Friday’s performance by The U.S. Army Blues is still on for 8:00 p.m.
An upcoming show at Synetic Theater has been canceled because of a snag with obtaining visas for the performers.
Light in the Darkness, which was supposed to run from today through March 26, has been canceled. Three performances of The Voice of Anne Frank scheduled for March 14 and 19 have also been canceled.
The performers are part of Tantehorse Theatre Company from Prague. Four of the six artists have experienced delays in receiving travel visas, and therefore can’t make it into the United States.
Due to Tantehorse Theatre Company’s other commitments and engagements at Synetic Theater, the shows will not be rescheduled. Staff members hope to be able to bring the show to the area sometime in the future.
Synetic Theater is working to contact patrons with tickets for the canceled show to offer refunds or the option to attend a different performance at Synetic.
The annual First Responders Cup softball tournament, played in South Arlington, has been canceled this year due to rain.
Tournament coordinator George Barusso wrote on the tournament’s web site that organizers are “very disappointed to pull the plug on this tournament but we don’t feel that we have a choice.” The girls fast pitch tournament, which was created after 9/11 to benefit local disaster relief and military charities, was to get underway today.
Coaches, Players and Fans,
For the first time in our ten year history, we’re cancelling the entire First Responders Cup event. As hard as we’ve tried to make this work in some form or fashion, Mother Nature continues to work against us. After consulting with Arlington County and umpire officials, always with an eye to the safety of the players, we believe that cancelling now is the right decision. We’d held out hope all along that we could resuscitate the fields for a scaled down tournament on Sunday. But the professionals who work fields everyday say that maybe we have a 30% chance for Sunday and that’s simply not enough to keep from inconveniencing everyone if we have to cancel later. So we’re very disappointed that we will not have any teams engraved on the First Responders Cup for 2011 but we know in the end that it’s the right decision.
Once again we are very disappointed to pull the plug on this tournament but we don’t feel that we have a choice. Nevertheless, we are already looking forward to seeing all of you in September 2012, when I’m confident that the sun will shine down on the 11th Annual, First Responders Cup.
Best to you all…thank you for your patience.
10th Annual, First Responders Cup
Today’s Rosslyn lunchtime concert, slated to feature New Orleans-inspired rock quartet The Grandsons, has been canceled “due to excessive heat.” Thursday’s lunchtime concert has also been canceled, as has the Thursday lunchtime farmers market.
Despite the forecast of triple-digit temperatures on Friday, the BID has so far not pulled the plug on its outdoor film festival, which is scheduled to feature 90s comedy Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery. The films start at dusk on Fridays.
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.
The Rosslyn Business Improvement District canceled its Tuesday lunchtime concert today due to oppressive 100 degree heat and high humidity.
Tomorrow’s Wednesday lunchtime concert and the after-work Party at the Plaza have also been canceled.
All three events are expected to return next week.
In other heat-related news, Arlington County has released a list of “tips for staying cool.”
You’ll have to wait another seven days to get your outdoor ’90s movie fix. Tonight’s outdoor showing of “Happy Gilmore” in Rosslyn has been canceled due to an approaching line of storms.
On tap for next week: the 1999 instant classic Office Space.