(Updated at 3:05 p.m.) The National Weather Service has issued a tornado watch for Arlington and the entire metro area. The watch will be in effect until 10:00 p.m. From NWS:
PRIMARY THREATS INCLUDE…
SEVERAL TORNADOES POSSIBLE
SEVERAL DAMAGING WIND GUSTS TO 70 MPH POSSIBLE
A FEW LARGE HAIL EVENTS TO 1 INCH IN DIAMETER POSSIBLE
REMEMBER…A TORNADO WATCH MEANS CONDITIONS ARE FAVORABLE FOR
TORNADOES AND SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS IN AND CLOSE TO THE WATCH
AREA. PERSONS IN THESE AREAS SHOULD BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR
THREATENING WEATHER CONDITIONS AND LISTEN FOR LATER STATEMENTS
AND POSSIBLE WARNINGS.
Strong storms are expected to blow into the area this afternoon and evening, possibly packing damaging winds and heavy rain. From the earlier NWS Severe Weather Outlook:
.DAY ONE…THIS AFTERNOON AND TONIGHT
THUNDERSTORMS WILL ACCOMPANY A STRONG COLD FRONT THAT WILL MOVE
ACROSS THE AREA LATE THIS AFTERNOON AND EVENING. A FEW STORMS MAY
BE SEVERE WITH LOCALLY DAMAGING WINDS AND HEAVY RAIN.
A GALE WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR THE MARYLAND CHESAPEAKE BAY AND
TIDAL POTOMAC RIVER FROM 2 PM THIS AFTERNOON UNTIL 10 PM THIS
EVENING. A SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IS IN EFFECT UNTIL 2 PM. A SMALL
CRAFT ADVISORY WILL LIKELY BE NEEDED AFTER THE GALE WARNING
EXPIRES LATE THIS EVENING AND TONIGHT.
A STRENGTHENING SOUTHERLY FLOW MAY PRODUCE MINOR COASTAL FLOODING
NEAR TIMES OF HIGH TIDE THIS AFTERNOON AND EVENING.
.DAYS TWO THROUGH SEVEN…SATURDAY THROUGH THURSDAY
A SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY WILL LIKELY BE NEEDED FOR THE ENTIRE
MARYLAND PORTION OF THE CHESAPEAKE BAY AND TIDAL POTOMAC RIVER
SATURDAY. A SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY MAY BE NEEDED FOR PORTIONS OF THE
WATERS SATURDAY NIGHT INTO SUNDAY.
Although Arlington Public Schools has not issued any system-wide cancellations, some individual schools have already reported cancellations for evening events in anticipation of the severe weather.
Arlington and the surrounding D.C. region is now under a Tornado Watch.
The warning of possible tornadic activity comes as a strong storm front approaches the area. We’re also under a Flash Flood Watch and a Wind Advisory. From the National Weather Service:
… WIND ADVISORY IN EFFECT UNTIL 6 AM EST THURSDAY…
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON HAS ISSUED A WIND ADVISORY… WHICH IS IN EFFECT UNTIL 6 AM EST THURSDAY.
* TIMING… THE STRONGEST WINDS ARE EXPECTED AHEAD OF A COLD FRONT LATE THIS AFTERNOON AND EVENING.
* WINDS… SOUTH 25 TO 35 MPH WITH GUSTS 45 TO 50 MPH. WINDS WILL SHIFT TO THE WEST BEHIND THE COLD FRONT OVERNIGHT.
* IMPACTS… THE STRONG WINDS COULD BRING DOWN TREE LIMBS AND CAUSE SCATTERED POWER OUTAGES. UNSECURED OBJECTS MAY BE BLOWN ABOUT… AND HIGH PROFILE VEHICLES MAY BECOME DIFFICULT TO MANEUVER.
A WIND ADVISORY MEANS THAT WIND GUSTS OF 45 TO 55 MPH ARE EXPECTED. WINDS THIS STRONG CAN MAKE DRIVING DIFFICULT… ESPECIALLY FOR HIGH PROFILE VEHICLES
Update at 3:35 p.m. — Arlington is now under a Severe Thunderstorm Warning through 4:30 p.m.
A Severe Thunderstorm Watch has been issued for the region through 10:00 p.m.
The National Weather Services says an approaching line of storms could bring heavy rain and damaging winds.
A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH HAS BEEN ISSUED UNTIL 10PM EDT. THUNDERSTORMS ARE EXPECTED THIS AFTERNOON INTO THE EVENING IN ADVANCE OF A COLD FRONT APPROACHING FROM THE WEST. SOME STORMS WILL PRODUCE DAMAGING WIND GUSTS OF UP TO 70 MPH. ISOLATED TORNADOES ARE ALSO POSSIBLE.
(Updated at 10:30 p.m.) The region is under a Severe Thunderstorm Warning through 11:15 p.m. Forecasters say a line of powerful storms known as a derecho is quickly moving our way from the Ohio Valley.
From the National Weather Service:
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN STERLING VIRGINIA HAS ISSUED A
* SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING…
* UNTIL 1115 PM EDT
* AT 1009 PM EDT… SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS WERE DETECTED ALONG A LINE EXTENDING FROM 7 MILES NORTHEAST OF BRUNSWICK TO OATLANDS TO 10 MILES SOUTH OF BEALETON TO 25 MILES WEST OF MASSAPONAX… AND WERE MOVING EAST AT 60 MPH. THIS LINE OF STORMS IS CAPABLE OF PRODUCING HAIL UP TO THE SIZE OF QUARTERS AND DESTRUCTIVE WINDS IN EXCESS OF 80 MPH.
* LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE… HARRY GROVE STADIUM… SOUTH RIDING… LANSDOWNE… BROADLANDS… POOLESVILLE… HERNDON… DULLES INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT… COUNTRYSIDE… LOWES ISLAND… GREEN VALLEY…
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 WINDOWS.
SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS WITH DAMAGING WIND GUSTS TO IMPACT REGION THIS EVENING…
AT 745 PM… A LINE OF SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS PRODUCING DAMAGING WIND GUSTS WAS CROSSING SOUTHEAST PENNSYLVANIA AND CENTRAL WEST VIRGINIA. THIS LINE OF THUNDERSTORMS IS EXPECTED TO HIT THE POTOMAC HIGHLANDS BETWEEN 8 AND 8:30 PM… THE SHENANDOAH VALLEY BETWEEN 8:30 AND 9 PM… THE INTERSTATE 95 CORRIDOR INCLUDING THE GREATER WASHINGTON AND BALTIMORE METROPOLITAN AREAS BETWEEN 9:30 AND 10 PM… THEN REACHING THE CHESAPEAKE BAY BETWEEN 10:30 AND 11 PM.
THIS LINE OF STORMS HAS A HISTORY OF PRODUCING MAJOR WIND DAMAGE ACROSS WEST VIRGINIA DUE TO WIND GUSTS OVER 75 MPH… ALONG WITH PROLIFIC CLOUD TO GROUND LIGHTNING.
Arlington and the surrounding region is under a Severe Thunderstorm Watch until 9:00 tonight.
Forecasters say the storms have the potential to produce “damaging wind gusts and locally heavy rainfall.”
Some hail is also possible.
The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood Arlington for the region, specifically mentioning Arlington as an area that might be impacted by heavy rains from a line of thunderstorms.
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN STERLING VIRGINIA HAS ISSUED A
* FLASH FLOOD WARNING FOR… THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA… SOUTHEASTERN MONTGOMERY COUNTY IN CENTRAL MARYLAND… CITY OF FAIRFAX IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA… CITY OF FALLS CHURCH IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA… NORTHERN CITY OF MANASSAS IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA… ARLINGTON COUNTY IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA… CITY OF MANASSAS PARK IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA… CITY OF ALEXANDRIA IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA… CENTRAL PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA… NORTHERN PRINCE GEORGES COUNTY IN CENTRAL MARYLAND… FAIRFAX COUNTY IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA…
* UNTIL 830 PM EDT
* AT 527 PM EDT… NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED FLASH FLOODING FROM THUNDERSTORMS ALONG A LINE EXTENDING FROM RESTON TO ALEXANDRIA… MOVING NORTHEAST AT 40 MPH.
* SOME LOCATIONS THAT WILL CONTINUE TO BE AFFECTED BY THE HEAVY RAIN INCLUDE WASHINGTON DC… ARLINGTON… ALEXANDRIA… AND FAIRFAX.
RAINFALL AMOUNTS OF 1 TO 2 INCHES HAVE FALLEN AND ADDITIONAL RAINFALL AMOUNTS OF 1 TO 2 INCHES ARE POSSIBLE IN THE WARNED AREA.
EXCESSIVE RUNOFF FROM HEAVY RAINFALL WILL CAUSE FLOODING OF SMALL CREEKS AND STREAMS… URBAN AREAS… HIGHWAYS… STREETS AND UNDERPASSES AS WELL AS OTHER DRAINAGE AREAS AND LOW LYING SPOTS.
DO NOT DRIVE YOUR VEHICLE INTO AREAS WHERE THE WATER COVERS THE ROADWAY. THE WATER DEPTH MAY BE TOO GREAT TO ALLOW YOUR CAR TO CROSS SAFELY. MOVE TO HIGHER GROUND.
Update at 6:30 p.m. — The ground stop at Reagan National has been lifted, but major delays are being reported. From the FAA:
Due to WEATHER / THUNDERSTORMS, there is a Traffic Management Program in effect for traffic arriving Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Washington, DC (DCA). This is causing some arriving flights to be delayed an average of 3 hours and 27 minutes. To see if you may be affected, select your departure airport and check “Delays by Destination”.
Earlier: Due to severe weather in the area, Reagan National Airport is under a “ground stop” — meaning no flights are arriving or departing.
Dulles International Airport and Baltimore-Washington International Airport are also under a ground stop.
Travelers heading to any local airport should expect significant delays as storms continue to move through the region.
Update at 4:10 p.m. — That’s all folks. The storms have moved southeast, out of Arlington.
Update at 4:10 p.m. — N. Vance Street is reported to be blocked at Lee Highway due to a large branch in the roadway. Police are on scene.
Update at 3:55 p.m. — Several manhole covers have been dislodged by the flooding. Dislodged manhole covers have been reported on the 1200 block of S. Scott Street (since taken care of by the fire department) and at 5th Street and and N. Montague Street. There has also been a report of a car that was damaged after driving into an open sewer portal along Columbia Pike.
Update at 3:35 p.m. — A second severe thunderstorm is approaching Arlington. From the county’s Office of Emergency Management:
The National Weather Service has issued a second SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING for Arlington County until 4:15 PM. Doppler radar indicated a thunderstorm approaching the County which has intensified past severe limits. This storm will effect the entire county with heavy rain, large hail, and damaging winds of 60 MPH possible.
Significant cloud to ground lightning is occurring with this storm. All outdoor activities should be postponed until this storm passes. Severe Thunderstorms can produce tornadoes with little or no advanced warning. Residents are urged to seek safe shelter indoors until the storm passes and remain alert for any additional warnings.
Update at 3:35 p.m. — Flashing traffic lights have been reported at Old Dominion Drive and N. Glebe Road, 15th Street and N. Courthouse Road, Columbia Pike and S. Joyce Street, and Lee Highway and N. Harrison Street.
Update at 3:30 p.m. — A transformer fire has been reported on the the 2700 block of N. Wakefield Street. The fire department is investigating.
Update at 3:30 p.m. – Possible traffic issues due to standing water have been reported on Route 50 between Rosslyn and Courthouse, on Route 50 near Washington Boulevard and on Route 50 under the Glebe Road bridge.
Update at 3:10 p.m. — A flash flood warning has been issued for Arlington.
Storms are sweeping through Arlington this afternoon, bringing high winds, torrential rains and frequent lightning.
Numerous activated alarms and flashing traffic signals have been reported as a result of the storm. Some flooding of roadways has also been reported.
Arlington and surrounding areas are under a severe thunderstorm warning through 3:15 p.m. A line of strong storms is quickly approaching from the northwest.
* SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR… CITY OF ALEXANDRIA IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA… CITY OF FAIRFAX IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA… CITY OF FALLS CHURCH IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA… ARLINGTON COUNTY IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA… FAIRFAX COUNTY IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA…
* UNTIL 315 PM EDT
* AT 231 PM EDT… NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A LINE OF SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS CAPABLE OF PRODUCING DAMAGING WINDS IN EXCESS OF 60 MPH. THESE STORMS WERE LOCATED ALONG A LINE EXTENDING FROM WOLF TRAP TO RESTON TO HERNDON… AND MOVING SOUTHEAST AT 30 MPH.
* LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE… THE I66 AND I495 INTERCHANGE… TYSONS CORNER… PIMMIT HILLS… OAKTON… FALLS CHURCH… MANTUA… FAIRFAX… LINCOLNIA… LAKE BARCROFT… BALLSTON…
THIS IS A DANGEROUS STORM. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Update at 6:45 p.m. — For once this summer, the initial storm prediction did not pan out. There’s still a chance that storms will develop later, but that’s looking increasingly unlikely.
The National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm watch for Arlington and the greater Washington area.
Strong storms are expected to roll through the area some time between 3:00 and 5:00 tonight. The severe thunderstorm watch expires at 10:00 p.m.
ARLnow.com will have complete coverage of the storms and the impact in your neighborhood.