Drivers and pedestrians alike should be on the lookout for ice this morning as the temperature dips back below freezing.
Forecasters say slippery conditions are likely. From the National Weather Service.
… PATCHES OF ICE RESULTING IN HAZARDOUS TRAVEL POSSIBLE THIS MORNING…
AIR TEMPERATURES WILL FALL BELOW FREEZING THIS MORNING AND CONTINUE DROPPING THROUGHOUT THE DAY. WITH ROAD TEMPERATURES ACROSS MARYLAND AND WEST OF I-81 ALREADY BELOW FREEZING… THIS WILL LEAD TO ANY SNOW AND ICE THAT MELTED YESTERDAY TO REFREEZE ON UNTREATED SURFACES. PLEASE USE EXTRA CAUTION AND GIVE YOURSELF EXTRA TIME TO GET TO YOUR DESTINATION IF TRAVELING TODAY. REDUCE SPEED AND STAY ALERT FOR PATCHES OF ICE AND SLICK ROAD CONDITIONS.
The changing temperatures are also playing havoc with pipes that are exposed to the elements. Several instances of burst pipes have been reported around Arlington this morning.
The freezing and refreezing is also causing some big potholes on local roads, like the one seen below on the 4700 block of Washington Blvd.
— Michael Rosen (@Mike_EDIH) February 23, 2015
Arlington Public Schools are opening on a two hour delay this morning due to concerns about icy conditions.
APS schools and offices will open two hours late today and all schools will end at the normal dismissal time. Essential school employees should report on time. The Extended Day program will also open two hours late. There will be no early release and all morning field trips are canceled. For updates about Pool Operations, go to www.apsva.us/aquatics. For information about Arlington County operations go to www.arlingtonva.us.
Arlington’s STAR paratransit system, meanwhile, is opening at 10:00 a.m. and all rides before that are canceled, except for those that are for dialysis.
So far, few accidents are being reported on the roads around Arlington. The county says it’s treating both main roads and residential area this morning.
The National Weather Service is reporting 0.5-1.7 inches of snow accumulation around Arlington since Sunday night.
Photo courtesy @ezequieeeel
The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for Arlington and much of the D.C. area through 8:00 a.m. Thursday.
Forecasters say freezing drizzle and fog may make for a slippery morning commute.
… WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY NOW IN EFFECT UNTIL 8 AM EST THURSDAY…
* PRECIPITATION TYPE… AREAS OF FREEZING DRIZZLE AND FREEZING FOG.
* ACCUMULATIONS… TRACE AMOUNTS OF ICE.
* TIMING… EARLY THURSDAY MORNING.
* TEMPERATURES… LOWER 30S.
* WINDS… LIGHT AND VARIABLE.
* IMPACTS… ROADS AND SIDEWALKS THAT ARE UNTREATED WILL BECOME SLIPPERY… CAUSING THE POTENTIAL FOR HAZARDOUS TRAVELING CONDITIONS.
WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY MEANS THAT AREAS OF FREEZING FOG WILL CAUSE SLIPPERY CONDITIONS. BE PREPARED FOR SLIPPERY ROADS AND LIMITED VISIBILITIES BELOW ONE-HALF MILE AT TIMES… AND USE CAUTION WHILE DRIVING.
(Updated at 6:05 p.m.) Crews will be out pre-treating major and secondary roads tonight and early tomorrow morning in advance of another winter weather system threatening the area.
Arlington snow crews are already treating primary and secondary roads with brine, according to Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Jessica Baxter, and those efforts will continue tonight. Those efforts will continue throughout the morning if snow begins to fall and accumulate.
The Virginia Department of Transportation, which has jurisdiction over I-66, I-395, Route 50 and Washington Blvd, will also be pre-treating roads starting at 4:00 a.m. tomorrow. VDOT sent out an advisory this afternoon telling motorists to expect a “longer than normal commute.”
Early Tuesday evening, the National Weather Service issued a Winter Weather Advisory.
… WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 4 AM TO NOON EST WEDNESDAY…
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON HAS ISSUED A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY FOR SNOW… WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 4 AM TO NOON EST WEDNESDAY.
* PRECIPITATION TYPE… SNOW.
* ACCUMULATIONS… AROUND ONE INCH.
* TIMING… ONSET AROUND 4 TO 6 AM… CONTINUING INTO THE LATE MORNING HOURS… BEFORE MIXING WITH PERIODS OF SLEET AND DISSIPATING BY EARLY AFTERNOON.
* TEMPERATURES… MIDDLE 20S DURING THE PREDAWN HOURS… INCREASING TO LOW 30S LATER IN THE MORNING.
* WINDS… NORTH AT 5 TO 10 MPH.
* IMPACTS… SNOW WILL LIKELY DEVELOP EARLY IN THE MORNING COMMUTE. THIS COUPLED WITH ROAD AND AIR TEMPERATURES WELL BELOW FREEZING WILL CAUSE ACCUMULATION OF SNOWFALL ON ROADWAYS. THIS WILL RESULT IN HAZARDOUS DRIVING CONDITIONS.
A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY FOR SNOW MEANS THAT PERIODS OF SNOW WILL CAUSE PRIMARILY TRAVEL DIFFICULTIES. BE PREPARED FOR SNOW COVERED ROADS AND LIMITED VISIBILITIES… AND USE CAUTION WHILE DRIVING.
The National Weather Service is warning that falling temperatures overnight may cause Monday’s rain to freeze and become Tuesday morning’s ice.
The refreeze could make the morning commute treacherous. From NWS:
… SUB-FREEZING TEMPERATURES OVERNIGHT WILL CAUSE UNTREATED SURFACES TO RE-FREEZE…
TEMPERATURES WILL BE FALLING STEADILY OVERNIGHT BEHIND A COLD FRONT. OVERNIGHT LOWS ARE EXPECTED TO REACH THE UPPER 20S AND LOWER 30S ACROSS THE REGION BY THE PREDAWN HOURS. A STEADY BREEZE FROM THE NORTH WILL DRY OUT SOME SURFACE AREAS LATE TONIGHT. HOWEVER… ANY STANDING WATER LEFTOVER ON UNTREATED SURFACES IS EXPECTED TO FREEZE.
DRY AND COLD NORTH WINDS WILL REMAIN OVER THE AREA INTO THE MORNING HOURS ON TUESDAY… KEEPING TEMPERATURES NEARLY LOCKED INTO NEAR FREEZING RANGE. BE ALERT FOR THE POSSIBILITY OF PATCHES OF ICE WHILE DRIVING OVERNIGHT AND DURING THE MORNING COMMUTE ON TUESDAY.
In 2015, he is the lone County Board member with a snowy sidewalk in front of his house.
Responding to a reader tip, ARLnow.com checked out the sidewalk in front of Fisette’s home last night, as well as those in front of County Board members Walter Tejada, John Vihstadt and the County Board Chair, Mary Hynes. (Libby Garvey lives in a condominium.)
While those of his colleagues were immaculately cleared, the sidewalk in front of Fisette’s Ashton Heights home was still largely covered with snow and ice. There was some evidence of perhaps an attempt at shoveling, but much of the sidewalk was completely covered.
Arlington’s snow removal ordinance requires homeowners to clear snow and ice from the entire width of their sidewalk within 24 hours of the end of a snow event with accumulations below six inches, or within 36 hours of a six inch or higher snowfall. It calls for a fine between $50 and $100 for violations.
Fisette wasn’t the only one in his neighborhood with an snowy, icy sidewalk. Numerous houses, including one across the street, were in violation of the ordinance as well.
Fisette also isn’t the only local county policymaker guilty to not following their county’s snow ordinance. Yesterday, the Washington Post pointed out that the sidewalk outside Montgomery County Council President George Leventhal’s house still had patches of ice and snow.
This afternoon, Fisette talked to ARLnow.com and issued a mea culpa.
“I should have figured out a way to clean the sidewalk,” Fistte acknowledged. “The ordinance was an attempt to improve or keep sidewalks safe for people, and that’s a very worthy goal. I’ve always done that in the past.”
Fisette explained that his husband is out of town this week and he worked a 14 hour day on Tuesday, when the snow struck, leaving the house at 8:00 a.m. and not returning until 10:00 p.m.
“I know everybody has had complications… it’s not meant to be an excuse, because I should have gone out and done it,” he said. “I will take care of it when I get home from work at the end of the day.”
(Updated at 4:45 p.m.) The snow has stopped and the sun came out this afternoon, but the bad weather news might not be over yet with below-freezing temperatures expected tonight and tomorrow.
Arlington is continuing its efforts to clear the roads and is on Phase 3 of its snow removal process, clearing residential side streets, county staff said this afternoon.
Crews will monitor temperatures and conditions and will be “handling any re-freeze that is expected overnight and early tomorrow morning,” according to county Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Jessica Baxter.
Despite the end of the snowfall and the fallen snow beginning to melt, roads are still slick in places. According to scanner traffic, a Metrobus hit a fire hydrant near Fairlington at around 3:45 p.m.
The county pre-treated roads with brine yesterday afternoon and early this morning, but according to DES Chief Operations Engineer Dave Hundelt, via a county press release, “the pre-treatment was not enough for Tuesday’s heavier-than-
“Based on the weather forecasts, our crews anticipated a much milder snow event today,” County Manager Barbara Donnellan said in a statement. “By the time it was clear that frigid temperatures were causing hazardous conditions, thousands of commuters and parents driving kids to school were already on the move. As our crews worked hard to treat and plow roads, we urged people to stay off the roads as much as possible.”
Baxter confirmed that some county vehicles were involved in traffic accidents today, but said DES wouldn’t have a final incident summary for several days. The Arlington County Police Department answered 203 calls during the storm, including 96 for traffic accidents and 65 for traffic complaints.
The Virginia Department of Transportation, which is responsible for maintaining Route 50, I-66, Washington Blvd and I-395, said road conditions are “improving” but asked drivers to exercise caution for the evening commute.
“Commuters should see some improvement on their trip home after a long and difficult commute this morning,” Branco Vlacich, VDOT assistant district administrator for maintenance in northern Virginia, said in a press release. “However, with these very cold temperatures, the salt and chemicals used are much less effective. We ask drivers to use extra caution tonight and tomorrow morning and allow extra time for their commute.”
High-use trails in the county were cleared of snow this morning, according to county Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Roberta Korzen, and crews are making a second pass-through to prevent freezing.
“Our teams were scheduled to work eight-hour shifts, but we are now changing to 12-hour shifts to remove as much snow as possible before freezing temperatures occur,” Kurt Louis, Parks and Natural Resources Division Chief, said in an email.
As if the snow itself wasn’t enough for drivers to contend with, a water main broke at around 3:00 p.m. on N. Pershing Drive and N. Oakland Street, and repairs are expected to last through the evening rush hour. Cars can still get through, but motorists should avoid the area if possible.
Water from the break and any snow melting could create serious problems if the crews can’t treat the roads, the Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang warns. “Given the risk for refreezing, slow speeds and plenty of room is advised for the morning commute on Wednesday,” CWG wrote this afternoon.
In response to the frigid temperatures, Arlington’s Emergency Winter Shelter is open all day today and will be open all day tomorrow, the county says.
ART bus service has also been altered to avoid troublesome roads. From the county, here are the routes affected:
- ART Route 61 will not service 12 street and Queen and will use Arlington Boulevard/Route 50 instead.
- ART Routes 75 will not service Fredrick Street and will use Columbus instead.
- ART Routes 42, 45, and 77 will not service Courthouse Road, and will take Walter Reed instead.
The Arlington County government will still open on time. Federal government employees have the option for unscheduled leave or unscheduled telework today.
The Arlington County Office of Emergency Management reports that trees and wires came down around the county during the overnight hours. Crews are currently on the scene of a large tree and wires down in the roadway at S. 23rd Street between S. Kent Street and S. Lynn Street. The road will be closed until the obstruction is safely removed. The incident has knocked out power to more than 500 homes, according to Dominion Power.
A number of roads, including some main arteries such as Washington Blvd. (pictured above), are covered in a layer of frozen slush because of the frigid temperatures following the storm. The Department of Environmental Services reports the county’s roads were not pre-treated yesterday because the forecast called for rain, to be followed by some snow.
“If we pre-treated the streets, the salt or brine would have been washed away and ineffective. Of course, the weather changed on us and snow came earlier and the temperature dropped sooner,” said DES Spokeswoman Jennifer Heilman. “Despite the change, WSS (Water, Sewer, Streets Bureau) has had 21 trucks out spreading salt since midnight. We were able to get some trucks on the roads treating high elevations and bridges around 9 p.m. (Thursday) when the snow started earlier than expected. They have been on primary (red) and secondary (blue) streets as well as the school routes (green). Many residential streets were also treated.”
More resources about the county’s snow response and any alerts can be found on the Arlington Snow & Ice Central website.
Update at 9:30 a.m. – Glebe Road is shut down between Military Road and Chain Bridge Road due to a downed tree.
Update at 9:15 a.m. — The number of Dominion customers without power in Arlington has climbed to nearly 1,700. Meanwhile, Washington Boulevard is closed at Powhatan Street due to a downed tree and live power lines.
Arlington Public Schools are closed today due to icy conditions on the roads.
School administrative offices are open for APS employees, but with a liberal leave policy. Arlington joins Alexandria, Fairfax and Loudoun counties in closing for the day due to the ice storm.
The federal government, meanwhile, is open under a two hour delay. Federal employees also have the option for unscheduled leave or telework.
Arlington County government offices and courts are open, with an unscheduled leave and telework option. ART buses are operating normally, as are Metro buses and Metrorail.
“Please use caution while traveling through the Metrorail system as wet platforms and escalators can be slippery,” said WMATA, in a tweet.
Local roads are reported to be slick, but main arteries have been treated with salt and are simply wet.
“Arlington County roads are passable, but drivers are urged to use caution,” according to an Arlington Alert email.
The ice coating has brought down tree branches, which have in turn knocked down some power lines. As of 7:15 a.m. about 1,100 Dominion customers in Arlington were without power.
Flickr photo by fcreativ
The area is under a Winter Storm Warning through 10:00 a.m. Monday as forecasters call for a quarter inch of ice. Via Twitter, readers have reported slick roads, especially on neighborhood streets. A Domino’s delivery driver in south Arlington told ARLnow.com that side streets were “very bad,” and that another driver had been involved in an accident. Bridges were also said to be particularly icy.
VDOT, which is responsible for maintaining highways and certain major roads in Arlington, says Monday’s morning rush hour could be impacted by the slick conditions.
“Crews are plowing as well as heavily salting roads and will continue to do so through tomorrow morning’s rush hours,” VDOT said in a tweet.
Arlington canceled evening activities and closed all schools and government buildings at 6:00 p.m. tonight (Sunday).
Freezing temperatures might have been responsible for a water main break near Lee Highway. The water main break happened at 20th Road N. and N. Woodstock Street.
Fairfax and Loudoun County schools will be closed Monday. So far, there has been no announcement from Arlington Public Schools.
Flickr pool photo by J. Sonder
There have been numerous accidents reported on local roads and highways, including several on the 1700 block of Lee Highway, near the intersection with N. Scott Street. Among those was a serious one-vehicle crash involving a minivan that ran off the road and into a wall along I-66.
A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect until 1:00 p.m. In an Arlington Alert, the county asked residents to drive carefully.
“The weather should turn to all rain after 10 AM,” the alert said. “Please drive with caution.”
Meanwhile, a water main break has shut down the eastbound lanes of Columbia Pike at S. Buchanan Street. Repairs are expected to “last into the afternoon.”
Photo courtesy @CAPT258
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
The already busy morning commute proved to be more hectic due to an accident that shut down part of N. Quincy Street. Two cars collided directly in front of the Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street).
Police shut down Quincy Street from Washington Boulevard to Fairfax Drive while conducting their investigation. Although it’s currently unclear if icy roads contributed to the accident, a salt and sand truck was called to the scene due to police reports of ice.
Drivers are reminded to use extra caution because this week’s quick temperature drop has caused ice to form on certain streets that may not traditionally be known for icy conditions.
The website offers one-stop shopping for residents seeking more information on winter weather preparations, winter weather safety tips, road condition and snow plowing updates, and answers to snow removal ordinance questions. The site also links to the county’s snow issue reporting page.
One of the new features introduced with the new portal is a “snow phase system,” which will designate how far along the county is in its snow clearing efforts after a storm. The page will indicate whether the county is in Phase 1, 2, 3, or 4.
Phase 1 is the “Alert” phase, when snow crews are pre-treating roads and residents are being encouraged to park their cars off-street, if possible.
Phase 2 is the “Primary Routes” phase, when the storm is in progress or has just concluded. In this phase, county and VDOT crews are working to clear primary and secondary roads only. Residents are encouraged to stay off the roads and help clear sidewalks during this phase.
Phase 3 is the “Residential Streets” phase, when crews are working to make residential streets passable while widening the clear path on primary roads.
Phase 4, the “Clean Up” phase, is when crews will focus on removing ice and slush from roads while using the sun as a tool for melting leftover snow.
Arlington County said it’s ready to respond should winter weather strike.
“When forecasters predict winter weather — snow, ice or freezing rain — Arlington’s plows and salt trucks are prepped and ready to go,” the county said in a press release. “Residents, at any time, can check the storm’s progress, track the County’s efforts to clear streets of snow, and learn how to best prepare for the winter weather. The current phase will be posted on the County web site and social media channels.”
Right now it’s clear sailing in Arlington on I-395, I-66, Route 1, Route 50 and Columbia Pike. Traffic volume has remained light and no major problems are reported.
Many side streets are still covered in a thin frozen glaze, but are passable.
The storm, which left less than an inch of accumulation, prompted Arlington Public Schools to open on a two-hour delay. The county and federal governments are open with an option for unscheduled leave or telework.