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Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | July 22, 2013 at 8:45 am | 1,246 views | No Comments

Kabob restaurant on a sunny Sunday (Flickr pool photo by Ddimick)

County’s Debt Upgraded to ‘Stable’ — Moody’s Investors Service has upgraded the outlook on Arlington County’s debt from “negative” to “stable.” The county’s otherwise triple-A bond rating was downgraded in 2011 due to Arlington’s “lose economic, financial and capital markets linkages to the federal government.” The upgrade reflects the federal government’s improved debt outlook. [Arlington County]

Vandalism at Powhatan Springs Park — The skate park at Powhatan Springs Park was closed Friday and Saturday due to graffiti. The graffiti was “nothing serious,” said Department of Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Susan Kalish, but the park was closed while county crews removed it.

Dangerous Heat Prompts AWLA Rescues — The Animal Welfare League of Arlington has shared photos of four dogs it rescued in the recent heatwave. Among them are dogs left in hot cars, tied up in a parking lot and in cages in a backyard without adequate water. [Washington Post]

Flickr pool photo by Ddimick

Excessive Heat Warning Issued

by ARLnow.com | July 19, 2013 at 9:30 am | 586 views | No Comments

Arlington and the D.C. region is currently under an excessive heat warning. The National Weather Service says it will be dangerously hot today.

EXCESSIVE HEAT WARNING IN EFFECT FROM NOON TODAY TO 8 PM EDT THIS EVENING…

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON HAS ISSUED AN EXCESSIVE HEAT WARNING… WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM NOON TODAY TO 8 PM EDT THIS EVENING. THE HEAT ADVISORY IS NO LONGER IN EFFECT.

* HEAT INDEX VALUES… AROUND 110 DEGREES DUE TO THE COMBINATION OF TEMPERATURES IN THE UPPER 90S TO AROUND 100 DEGREES AND DEWPOINTS IN THE MIDDLE 70S.

* IMPACTS… HIGH RISK OF HEAT STROKE OR OTHER HEAT-RELATED ILLNESS FOR THOSE WITHOUT AIR-CONDITIONING OR THOSE OUTDOORS FOR ANY EXTENDED PERIOD.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

AN EXCESSIVE HEAT WARNING MEANS THAT A PROLONGED PERIOD OF DANGEROUSLY HIGH TEMPERATURES WILL OCCUR. THE COMBINATION OF EXTREME TEMPERATURES AND HIGH HUMIDITY WILL CREATE A DANGEROUS SITUATION IN WHICH HEAT ILLNESSES ARE EXPECTED. CHECK IN ON RELATIVES AND NEIGHBORS.

TAKE EXTRA PRECAUTIONS IF YOU WORK OR SPEND TIME OUTSIDE. WHEN POSSIBLE… RESCHEDULE STRENUOUS ACTIVITIES TO EARLY MORNING OR EVENING. KNOW THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF HEAT EXHAUSTION AND HEAT STROKE. WEAR LIGHT WEIGHT AND LOOSE FITTING CLOTHING WHEN POSSIBLE AND DRINK PLENTY OF WATER.

TO REDUCE RISK DURING OUTDOOR WORK… THE OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION RECOMMENDS SCHEDULING FREQUENT REST BREAKS IN SHADED OR AIR CONDITIONED ENVIRONMENTS. ANYONE OVERCOME BY HEAT SHOULD BE MOVED TO A COOL AND SHADED LOCATION. HEAT STROKE IS AN EMERGENCY – CALL 9 1 1.

Heat Leads To Temporary District Taco Closure

by Ethan Rothstein | July 17, 2013 at 3:00 pm | 1,087 views | No Comments

District Taco on Lee HighwayDistrict Taco’s location at 5723 Lee Highway had to shut down Tuesday after the heat caused its air conditioning to break.

The restaurant reopened Wednesday morning with temporary A/C units, District Taco owner Osiris Hoil said in an email. The county’s health department told the restaurant to close Tuesday after it was determined that food was being stored in an environment that was too warm.

“The A/C was a contributing factor, but not the reason for closure,” said Department of Human Services spokesman Kurt Larrick. “With the A/C not working, the refrigerator was overburdened and wasn’t able to keep the food cool enough.”

Hoil said he had already submitted plans to the county for approval to install a permanent replacement for the air conditioning unit. Temperatures reached 96 degrees Tuesday afternoon in Arlington, according to Weather.com.

“We couldn’t work and it was not safe for our food to be exposed in the restaurant,” Hoil said in an email. “So we had to transfer everything at our commissary where we have the toritos (taco stands) because we do have a lot of refrigeration there.”

During Wednesday’s lunch rush, the previous day’s shutdown did not seem to have an adverse effect. The restaurant crowded and warm, as the temporary A/C units struggled to keep the crowded space cool.

Temperature Hits 90, Sets Record

by ARLnow.com | April 10, 2013 at 3:30 pm | 1,310 views | No Comments

A school group at the Iwo Jima memorial(Updated at 7:15 p.m.) The temperature at Reagan National Airport is currently 90 degrees, setting a new record.

The previous record, of 89 degrees, was set back in 1922. The average high temperature for April 10 is 65 degrees, per the Capital Weather Gang.

The unseasonal spring heat is expected to stick around for at least another day. Tomorrow’s high temperature is predicted to be 81, according to the National Weather Service.

On Friday, rain showers are expected to usher in more April-appropriate temperatures.

Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | April 10, 2013 at 9:25 am | 1,471 views | No Comments

A tree in bloom in Rosslyn

Streetcar Forum Tonight — The Arlington Committee of 100 will be holding a forum tonight entitled “Streetcar for Columbia Pike: Are the Benefits Worth the Costs?” The forum will be moderated by Sun Gazette editor Scott McCaffrey and the scheduled speakers are Arlington Chamber of Commerce Chairman David Decamp (speaking in favor of the streetcar) and ARLnow.com columnist Peter Rousselot (speaking against the streetcar). The event will take place at 8:00 p.m. at Marymount University (2807 N. Glebe Road). [Arlington Committee of 100]

Pricey Streetcar FOIA Request — Local fiscal watchdog Tim Wise is decrying the price tag attached to a Freedom of Information Act request he made regarding the Columbia Pike streetcar project. The county says Wise’s wide-ranging request will cost $2,858 to process. More than 80 percent of that cost would go to AECOM, a consultant working on the county’s transit program. [Sun Gazette]

Record Temperature Possible Today — The official high temperature at Reagan National Airport might be tied or even broken today. The high temperature at DCA for today, April 10, is 89 degrees, set in 1922. [Capital Weather Gang]

Mary Marshall Scholarship Applications – The Arlington County Commission on the Status of Women is now accepting applications for the 2013 Mary Marshall Memorial Scholarships. The $1,500-2,000 scholarships are intended for Arlington high school graduates who intend to attend Northern Virginia Community College and pursue careers in public service. [Arlington County]

Utility Companies Still Working to Restore Service

by ARLnow.com | July 2, 2012 at 9:44 am | 6,157 views | 131 Comments

(Updated at 12:55 p.m.) Dominion, Comcast and Verizon are all working to restore service to thousands of Arlington customers still affected by Friday night’s storm.

As of 9:30 a.m. on Monday, 27,586 Dominion customers were still without power, down from 59,000 at noon on Saturday. The company says it has 4,200 employees and contractors working to restore power to customers in all affected areas, but notes that the huge scale of the damage is making restoration a multi-day process.

“Many poles and cross arms need to be replaced, and other infrastructure needs to be rebuilt,” Dominion said in a press release.

Verizon says it’s working “around the clock” to restore phone, internet and TV service. According to spokesman Harry J. Mitchell:

As with most services in the immediate aftermath of the storms — a situation faced by more than a million residences and businesses throughout the Washington metropolitan area — Verizon has been making every effort to assess damages to its facilities and immediately had crews working to get services back online. However, due to extensive commercial power outages across the entire region, our crews have had to deal with a number of technical and mechanical challenges, in addition to storm damage such as downed poles and trees on our wires.

A power issue in one of our Arlington facilities has created several issues that we’re currently working through, including difficulty some callers are having when dialing 911 in Fairfax and Prince William counties. These counties’ 911 centers now are receiving most calls, and we continue to work diligently to restore full calling to them.

We’re working late hours — often around the clock — and bringing in additional technicians from other parts of our service area to assist in bringing service back as quickly as we possibly can. We appreciate customers’ continued patience as we work to restore services in the wake of one of the worst storms in recent memory.

Comcast, meanwhile, is also facing significant service issues in Arlington in the wake of the storm. Last night many Twitter users reported that their Comcast TV and internet service had gone out, despite it working earlier in the day. According to Comcast spokeswoman Aimee N. Metrick:

At this time it appears most issues are directly related to commercial power outages, and for the vast majority of people, service should be restored as power comes back on to their homes. However, given the severity of the winds and rain that arose from this storm, we are also seeing some more extensive damage caused by falling trees, poles and more that will take longer to repair.

We are working closely with state and local emergency personnel and power companies, and have employees working across the footprint to assess and repair damage in impacted areas once provided clearance that it’s safe to do so. We appreciate our customers’ patience and understanding, and will continue to work until service has been restored for all.

With temperatures again expected to climb into the 90s, Arlington County’s libraries and community centers are open today as cooling centers for those without power. Among the centers that will be open are:

  • Aurora Hills Community and Senior Center (10am-3pm)
  • Barcroft Sports and Fitness Center (8 am-10:30pm)
  • Carver Community Center (9am-9pm)
  • Charles Drew Community Center (3pm-9pm)
  • Fairlington Community Center (8am-9pm)
  • Gunston Community Center (2pm-9pm)
  • Langston-Brown Community Center (9am-10pm)
  • Lee Community Center (9:30am-6pm)
  • Madison Community Center (9am-9pm)
  • Thomas Jefferson Community Center (6am-10pm)
  • Walter Reed Community Center (8am-10pm)

Arlington’s libraries — including Central, Aurora Hills, Glencarlyn, Shirlington, Westover — are scheduled to be open from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. today. Yesterday Central Library and Shirlington Branch Library stayed open until 11:00 p.m. to accommodate those who lost power. According to the library blog, some 600 people were crammed into Central Library yesterday afternoon. The fire department also set up a temporary spray park at Central Library to help kids cool off.

The Cherrydale and Columbia Pike libraries are closed today due to lack of power. Also closed is the Lubber Run Community Center, the Long Branch Nature Center, some schools and some summer camps. See a full list of county closures here.

Dogma Bakery in Shirlington (2772 S. Arlington Mill Drive) is remaining open until 9:00 tonight and welcoming pets and owners who need a cool place at which to hang out. Owner Sheila Raebel — whose own house is without power — says she has set up chairs and tables after finding out that other cooling centers weren’t necessarily welcoming pets.

“We had people who were asking about it,” she said. “We found out the county… doesn’t have a place for people with their pets to come when it’s really hot. There are a lot of dogs who are older and a lot of cats who can’t live in a place where it’s 85 degrees”

The store’s Lee Highway location is currently closed due to lack of power.

Flickr pool photo by ddimick

‘Code Red’ Air Quality Warning Issued

by ARLnow.com | June 29, 2012 at 2:12 pm | 1,705 views | 26 Comments

(Updated at 3:00 p.m.) The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments has declared that the region’s air quality has reached the level of “Code Red” for today, meaning an unhealthy level of ozone pollution.

From a COG press release:

On Code Red days, active children and adults, and people with lung disease, such as asthma, should avoid prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors. Everyone else, especially children, should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors.

COG also advises that all area residents take the following actions:

  • Sign up for air quality alerts at www.cleanairpartners.net
  • Turn off lights and electronics when not in use
  • Avoid lawn mowing or use an electric mower
  • Use public transit
  • Do not use chemicals on your lawn and garden

As of 2:50 p.m., the official temperature in D.C. reached 104 degrees. According to the Capital Weather Gang, that sets a new daily record and breaks the area’s all-time record for the month of June.

Forecasters Warn of Dangerous Heat

by ARLnow.com | June 28, 2012 at 9:30 am | 1,492 views | 24 Comments

An “Excessive Heat Watch” has been issued for Friday as the region braces for a sweltering weekend.

Forecasters are warning of a “prolonged period of hot temperatures” and humidity which will “create a dangerous situation in which heat illnesses are possible.

The predicted high temperatures for Friday, Saturday and Sunday are 99, 97 and 100 respectively. From the National Weather Service.

… EXCESSIVE HEAT WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM FRIDAY MORNING THROUGH FRIDAY EVENING…

* HEAT INDEX VALUES… UP TO 110 DEGREES.

* TEMPERATURES… UPPER 90S TO AROUND 100 DEGREES.

* IMPACT… RISK OF HEAT EXHAUSTION OR OTHER HEAT-RELATED ILLNESS FOR THOSE WITHOUT AIR-CONDITIONING OR THOSE SPENDING TIME OUTDOORS FOR AN EXTENDED PERIOD.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

AN EXCESSIVE HEAT WATCH MEANS THAT A PROLONGED PERIOD OF HOT TEMPERATURES IS EXPECTED. THE COMBINATION OF HOT TEMPERATURES AND HIGH HUMIDITY WILL CREATE A DANGEROUS SITUATION IN WHICH HEAT ILLNESSES ARE POSSIBLE. DRINK PLENTY OF FLUIDS… STAY IN AN AIR- CONDITIONED ROOM… STAY OUT OF THE SUN AND CHECK UP ON RELATIVES AND NEIGHBORS.

County Spraygrounds Now Open

by Katie Pyzyk | May 29, 2012 at 9:40 am | 2,418 views | 55 Comments

Just in time for the arrival of hot weather, the county’s spraygrounds have opened.

The three parks — Drew Playground (3514 22nd Street S.), Hayes Park (1516 N. Lincoln Street) and Lyon Village Park (1800 N. Highland Street) — opened over the weekend and will remain in service until Labor Day weekend. Hours of operation can be found online.

A fourth sprayground was originally supposed to have opened already at Virginia Highlands Park, but now isn’t expected to be ready until next year.

Power Record Set During Extreme Heat

by Katie Pyzyk | July 26, 2011 at 10:50 am | 2,235 views | 164 Comments

Dominion Virginia Power set an all-time record for peak demand for electricity on Friday.

The company’s 2.4 million customers used 20,061 megawatts of electricity between 3 and 4pm on Friday.  That broke the previous record of 19,688 megawatts set on August 8, 2007.  One megawatt provides enough electricity for about 250 homes.

Although the blistering heat and oppressive humidity from last week has died down, the continued warm weather means high electricity use.  Dominion has the following tips for keeping energy costs down and keeping homes comfortable:

  • Postpone activities requiring hot water to early morning or late evening to prevent heat and humidity from building up in the home.
  • If you are comfortable, raise the thermostat to 78 degrees.
  • Close drapes during the hottest points of the day.
  • Turn off unnecessary lights, which add heat to a home.  Consider switching to cooler, energy efficient CFL bulbs.
  • Make sure window air conditioners are sized correctly. Those that are too small will run constantly, but will not cool the room. Those that are too large use more energy than necessary.
  • Clean filters to window air conditioning units and clean or replace filters to central air conditioning systems. Clogged filters cause air conditioners to use more energy than necessary to keep a home cool.
  • Clear attic vents. If the home has an attic fan, make sure it is functioning properly.

Excessive Heat Warning Continues Today

by ARLnow.com | July 22, 2011 at 8:25 am | 550 views | 1 Comment

If you thought yesterday was hot, get ready for it to get even hotter.

The D.C. area is in the second day of an excessive heat warning. With heat index values expected to reach as high as 120, forecasters are warning people to stay cool and hydrated.

…EXCESSIVE HEAT WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 10 AM THIS MORNING TO 10 PM EDT THIS EVENING…
…EXCESSIVE HEAT WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 10 AM TO 8 PM EDT SATURDAY…

* TEMPERATURE…HIGH TEMPERATURE FRIDAY IN THE LOWER 100S. HIGH TEMPERATURE SATURDAY AROUND 100.

* HEAT INDEX VALUES…115 TO 120.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

AN EXCESSIVE HEAT WARNING MEANS THAT A PROLONGED PERIOD OF DANGEROUSLY HOT TEMPERATURES WILL OCCUR. THE COMBINATION OF HOT TEMPERATURES AND HIGH HUMIDITY WILL CREATE A DANGEROUS SITUATION IN WHICH HEAT ILLNESSES ARE LIKELY. DRINK PLENTY OF WATER…STAY IN AN AIR-CONDITIONED ROOM…STAY OUT OF THE SUN…AND CHECK ON RELATIVES AND NEIGHBORS.

TAKE EXTRA PRECAUTIONS IF YOU WORK OR SPEND TIME OUTSIDE. WHEN POSSIBLE…RESCHEDULE STRENUOUS ACTIVITIES TO EARLY MORNING OR EVENING. KNOW THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF HEAT EXHAUSTION AND HEAT STROKE. WEAR LIGHTWEIGHT AND LOOSE-FITTING CLOTHING.

TO REDUCE RISK DURING OUTDOOR WORK…THE OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION RECOMMENDS SCHEDULING FREQUENT REST BREAKS IN SHADED OR AIR-CONDITIONED ENVIRONMENTS. ANYONE OVERCOME BY HEAT SHOULD BE MOVED TO A COOL AND SHADED LOCATION. HEAT STROKEIS AN EMERGENCY – CALL 9 1 1.

Rosslyn Events Canceled Due to Heat

by ARLnow.com | July 20, 2011 at 10:34 am | 1,178 views | 7 Comments

With temperatures expected to reach into the mid-to-upper 90s over the next two days, the Rosslyn Business Improvement District has decided to nix three of its signature outdoor events.

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.

Morning Poll: Heat Edition

by ARLnow.com | July 19, 2011 at 9:00 am | 1,045 views | 41 Comments

Needless to say, it’s hot out there.

With temperatures expected to reach the upper 90s today and the lower 100s Friday, some people have got to be getting sick of summer and nostalgic for cooler weather.

If you could press a button and fast forward to the weather and climate of a different month — assuming you couldn’t go back — would you do it, and which month would it be?

Power Problems Knock Out A/C at Barrett Elementary

by ARLnow.com | June 13, 2011 at 3:36 pm | 1,151 views | 7 Comments

Last night’s storms did more than just knock out the power to thousands of Arlington residents, leaving homes, businesses and traffic lights dark (especially in the Ballston area).

The storms — and the resulting power outages and surges — apparently played a role in knocking out Barrett Elementary School’s air conditioning. In a letter to parents, Barrett principal Theresa Bratt says that the school’s chiller unit “completely broke down this morning” and is “beyond repair.”

The school has deployed 30 fans to keep classrooms cool while they await the arrival of a temporary rental chiller.

“Fortunately, the cooler weather, combined with the fans and the operable windows throughout the school have aided efforts to keep the building as comfortable as possible for our students and staff,” Bratt wrote. “A permanent replacement chiller has been ordered and will be delivered in about eight weeks, and we expect to have the problem resolved permanently by mid- August.”

Parents with concerns about the lack of air conditioning are encouraged to call the school. Barrett is located just south of Ballston at 4401 N. Henderson Road.

Arlington Public Schools photo

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