Arlington was one of the only local school systems to not close early on Friday due to the threat of snow. It’s now the only school system inside the Beltway to close today; D.C., Montgomery County, Prince George’s County and Alexandria are all on a two-hour delay.
Meanwhile, with the federal government on a delayed opening, traffic volume on local roads and highways is very light.
No major accidents have been reported so far in Arlington.
Update at 10:40 p.m. — The Office of Personnel Management is telling federal employees to stay off the road until 10:00 a.m. Federal offices will open to the public at noon.
The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for Arlington and the D.C. region.
Forecasters warn that sleet and freezing rain might make for a slippery commute tomorrow (Monday) morning. The following advisory was updated at 7:45 p.m.
… WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY NOW IN EFFECT FROM 3 AM TO 10 AM EST MONDAY…
* PRECIPITATION TYPE… FREEZING RAIN… POSSIBLY MIXED WITH SLEET AT THE ONSET.
* ACCUMULATIONS… A FEW HUNDREDTHS OF AN INCH OF ICE FROM FREEZING RAIN. LITTLE OR NO SLEET ACCUMULATION.
* TIMING… DEVELOPING IN THE VERY EARLY HOURS MONDAY MORNING… AND CONTINUING THROUGH MID MORNING ON MONDAY. TEMPERATURES WILL RISE ABOVE FREEZING BY 10 AM MONDAY MORNING… CHANGING THE PRECIPITATION TO RAIN.
* TEMPERATURES… IN THE UPPER 20S TO NEAR 30.
* WINDS… SOUTH 5 TO 10 MPH.
* IMPACTS… ICING WILL PRODUCE SLIPPERY CONDITIONS ON UNTREATED ROADS… BRIDGES AND SIDEWALKS… PARTICULARLY DURING THE MONDAY MORNING COMMUTE.
A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY MEANS THAT PERIODS OF SNOW… SLEET… OR FREEZING RAIN WILL CAUSE TRAVEL DIFFICULTIES. BE PREPARED FOR SLIPPERY ROADS AND LIMITED VISIBILITIES… AND USE CAUTION WHILE DRIVING.
The National Weather Service has issued a freezing rain advisory, in effect until 6:00 a.m. Monday. Forecasters say periods of freezing rain will leave a trace to a tenth of an inch of ice on local roadways before tomorrow’s morning rush hour.
VDOT says it’s prepared to treat slick spots overnight.
“About 770 trucks are patrolling roads in Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William counties, continuously treating icy spots such as ramps, bridges, elevated surfaces and other problem areas,” VDOT said in a press release. “With icy road conditions expected during rush hour, VDOT recommends motorists consider teleworking or delaying travel until after 10 a.m. Monday.”
The federal government, meanwhile, has told its hundreds of thousands of D.C. area employees to stay off the roads until at least 9:00 a.m. tomorrow.
“Due to expected icy conditions, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management recommends that Federal employees remain off the road until 9:00 a.m. on Monday, January 23,” OPM said in a statement. “Federal Government offices will open to the public at 11:00 a.m. Employees who commute to the office will be granted excused absence for the delayed arrival. Employees have the option to use unscheduled leave and/or unscheduled telework for the entire workday in lieu of a delayed arrival.”
Forecasters say the precipitation will begin around 11:00 tonight, starting off as snow and sleet before transitioning to freezing rain overnight. The weather event is expected to end as plain rain around 1:00 p.m. tomorrow. Locally, snow and sleet accumulation could total up to an inch, with up to 1/10 inch of freezing rain, according to the National Weather Service.
Arlington County crews are preparing for the winter weather by pre-treating main roads with salt brine (see photo) to guard against icy conditions. Still, the county is asking residents to avoid unnecessary car trips during the storm.
“Team members and their equipment will be on standby overnight and will remain so until the weather event turns to full rain,” said Arlington Department of Environmental Services spokeswoman Shannon Whalen McDaniel. “Residents are encouraged to stay off the roads due to the potential for hazardous conditions.”
Photo courtesy Arlington DES
“Another bout of sleet and freezing rain is expected after 7 p.m., and the Virginia Department of Transportation urges motorists to be alert to changing road conditions in northern Virginia tonight,” VDOT said in a statement. “With rain, sleet, and freezing temperatures also forecasted for 4 a.m. tomorrow, drivers are asked to monitor forecasts carefully and postpone or limit travel during the morning rush.”
To help keep roadways clear, the agency has 1,600 trucks staging along Northern Virginia roadways.
By 3 p.m. today, about 1,600 trucks will begin staging along interstates and major roads throughout Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William counties for quick response.
Crews pre-treated trouble spots today on interstates 66, 95, 395, and 495—including bridges and ramps prone to freezing such as the Springfield interchange, I-66 at Route 29 and the Capital Beltway interchange at Route 1—with liquid magnesium chloride. Problem spots on other major roads, such as the Fairfax County Parkway and routes 1, 7, 28, 29, 50 and 123, were pre-treated with salt brine.
Although forecasters say tonight’s freezing rain should be light, they also caution that some slick spots could develop, particularly in the early morning hours. A separate threat of wintry weather on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning is expected to produce mostly rain in Arlington and the District, according to the Capital Weather Gang.
Freezing Rain and Snow Hits After Dark — It might not have been the monster storm that’s now hitting New York City and southern New England, but a relatively short period of freezing rain and snow made for some slippery conditions during rush hour last night. Most of the inch or so of snow we received is expected to melt today. If, however, unshoveled snow in front of someone else’s property is causing problems, you can report it via the county’s snow reporting form. Meanwhile, if you’re flying out of Reagan National today, you can check flight status here. Numerous flights have been canceled.
Dyszel Doc to be Screened at Artisphere Tonight — Dick Dyszel is a local television legend. During the ’70s and ’80s he played popular characters like Bozo the Clown and Count Gore de Vol on the Washington airwaves. “Every Other Night Is Halloween,” a documentary about Dyszel’s improbable career, will be playing at Artisphere. The film also examines the “de-evolution of local television” and the rise of the internet. The screening starts at 8:00 in Artisphere’s Dome Theater. Tickets are $6.
Shooshan Secures Financing for Founders Square Building – The Shooshan Company has successfully secured $100 million in financing to build the future headquarters of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency in Ballston, part of the Founders Square development. (It’s worth noting that two workers were injured from a fall at the construction site yesterday.) A company representative says the financing allows them to concentrate on the construction of the building, which will be the first in Arlington to meet the DoD’s Minimum Anti-Terrorism Standards for Buildings. [GlobeSt.com]