Thieves Steal Wheels from Hotel — Two suspects were seen stealing tires and rims from two vehicles parked at the Crystal City Gateway Marriott (1700 Jefferson Davis Highway) early Thursday morning. A security guard tried to intervene but the suspects fled. Arlington, particularly south Arlington, has seen an apparent uptick in wheel thefts recently. [NBC Washington]
Santa Coming to Clarendon Saturday — Santa Claus will be coming to Clarendon on Saturday evening. The Jolly Old Elf will arrive at Market Common Clarendon (2700 Clarendon Blvd) on a “big red sleigh,” otherwise known as an Arlington County fire truck, at 4:00 p.m. He will be on hand for photos until 7:00 p.m. There will also be strolling carolers and other family-friendly entertainment. It’s the shopping center’s 12th annual “Winter Wonderland” event. [Market Common Clarendon]
Last Westover Farmers Market of 2012 — The new Westover Farmers Market will hold its last market of the year from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Sunday. The market, located at the corner of Washington Blvd and N. McKinley Road, will go on a holiday hiatus before returning on Jan. 13, 2013. The market’s winter hours run through April. [Westover Farmers Market]
Brink Commends Funding for Blind Students — Del. Bob Brink (D-Arlington) is praising Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) for his proposal to add $4.9 million in funding for blind and visually impaired students to the upcoming Virginia budget. The funds will help localities cover the cost of teachers, teacher’s aides and staff for blind and visually impaired students. [Alexandria News]
Bike Advocates Call For Plowed Trails — Bicyclists are calling on Arlington County to start plowing snow from bike and pedestrian trails. “By failing to plow the trails, [Arlington's Department of Environmental Services] puts more people onto the streets in cars,” said one bicycle advocate during yesterday’s county-organized online snow chat. “Is that really what you want, during a snow event?” [Along the Pike]
Flickr pool photo by Philliefan99
Arlington to Hold Online Snow Chat — Dave Hundelt, Arlington County’s Streets Manager, will be answering questions about snow removal online today (Thursday). The discussion is scheduled from noon to 1:00 p.m. [Facebook]
Metrobus Driver Arrested at Pentagon – A Metrobus driver was arrested by U.S. Marshals at the Pentagon Wednesday morning. The driver, of the 9E Pentagon-Huntington line bus, was wanted in connection with a 2010 murder. [Washington Examiner]
Joe Allbritton Dies — Joe L. Allbritton, owner of Arlington-based WJLA (ABC 7), NewsChannel 8 and Politico, has died. Allbrittion, whose initials are the call letters of WJLA, was 87. [Politico]
Arlington Ranks Sixth in Household Income — Arlington County had a median household income of $98,060 in 2011, which was 5.1 percent higher than a year prior, according to new census figures. Arlington’s 2011 median income is the sixth-highest of all counties in the United States. [Sun Gazette]
‘Concentration of Poverty’ at APS? — Some parents say Arlington Public Schools have designed school boundaries to concentrate lower-income students in south Arlington schools. At least one parent is hoping the school system creates a rule in which “no school would be able deviate from the district-wide percentage of poverty by more or less than 10 points.” [WAMU]
District Taco Expanding — District Taco, which opened its first brick-and-mortar restaurant in Arlington, is continuing to expand in the District. The restaurant has signed a lease and will be opening a second D.C. location on Capitol Hill. [Washington Post]
Snow in the Forecast Today — Forecasters say there’s a roughly 30 percent chance Arlington could see around 1 inch of snow tonight. If not accumulating snow, there’s about a 60 percent chance of seeing a few snowflakes. [Capital Weather Gang]
Fire at Crystal Plaza Apartments — Updated at 10:05 a.m. — A small laundry room fire broke out in the basement of the Crystal Plaza apartments (2111 Jefferson Davis Hwy) in Crystal City this morning. Firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze and are now working to clear a significant amount of smoke from the building.
Forecasters have been predicting some sort of precipitation on Sunday, but it’s unclear whether it will be mainly snow or rain. As is often the case in our area, weather models are changing by the hour. Don’t get your hopes up for a repeat of the Presidents Day Blizzard of 2003 — but do plan on the chance of the season’s most significant snowfall.
In advance of the possible storm, the Arlington County Department of Environmental Services has issued a Phase 1 Alert, meaning crews will pre-treat roads with salt or brine as necessary. They’re also preparing snow removal equipment and personnel for the weekend.
Dominion Virginia Power also reports making preparations. Trucks are being stocked and fueled, and crews are ready to respond to outages. Customers can call 1-866-DOM-HELP to report outages and downed lines.
Crews are also pre-treating roads with salt and brine this afternoon in preparation for the winter weather, according to the Arlington County Department of Environmental Services.
The Office of Personnel Management announced this morning that federal employees may use unscheduled leave to go home early today, if desired.
Snowy Evening Commute Expected — Forecasters warn that light-to-moderate snowfall may make for a slick evening commute tonight. Still, above-freezing temperatures will mean that we in Arlington will likely see less than an inch of accumulation. [Capital Weather Gang]
County Saves Money Through Bond Issue — Arlington County has taken advantage of very low interest rates, along with its triple-AAA bond rating, to issue $106 million of refunding bonds. The move will save the county more than $9 million over the life of the bonds, officials say. [Arlington County]
Spring Soccer Registration Open — Registration is now open for youth soccer players in Arlington. Arlington Soccer Association’s spring registration started on Jan. 25 and will close on March 13. A late registration fee will be assessed after March 13. [Arlington Soccer Association]
Moran Criticized for TV Appearance — Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) is facing criticism from Republicans for comments he made on MSNBC last week. Moran said that Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.), who is black, “is not representative of the African American community.” Conservative commentator Michelle Malkin called that remark and others by Moran during the course of the MSNBC interview “racist.” [Human Events, Breitbart.tv]
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
Last night’s inch or so of snow accumulation was just enough for some industrious individuals to use to build a snowman on Prospect Hill, near Pentagon City.
With his Prospect Hill Park home overlooking the Pentagon and Air Force Memorial, the snowman will be able to take in some great views before he melts amid today’s mild temperatures, which are expected to reach the mid-50s.
(Updated at 1:45 p.m.) Normally, a few non-accumulating snow flurries in mid-January wouldn’t be the least bit notable. But given the anemic winter we’ve had thus far, we thought the
brief bout of snow activity spotted around Arlington this afternoon was worth a mention.
Forecasters say the flakes could last a couple more hours, and could create a light coating on grassy areas, especially for points south of Arlington.
Don’t expect a triumphant return of winter weather just yet, however. High temperatures are expect to head back up to the mid-50′s by mid-week.
ARLnow.com wishes you and yours a very merry Christmas. Since it couldn’t be a white Christmas this year, we decided to remind everybody of what Arlington looks like under a foot or two of freshly-fallen snow. The photo above was taken on Feb. 6, 2010, during the famous “Snowmaggedon” snow storm.
ARLnow.com will return for regularly-scheduled news updates on Tuesday.
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.”
Coincidentally, Arlington County started its annual snow training this week. Workers have been hooking up trucks, doing some trial runs and making sure all equipment is ready for the season.
Water, Sewer and Streets Bureau Chief Operating Engineer Dave Hundelt said, “Conveniently we get a random forecast for flurries or light rain/snow and overnight temps right near freezing for this weekend.”
Hundelt says Arlington doesn’t plan on mobilizing its plow or salting teams this weekend because the pavement temperatures will remain well above freezing. That prevents any precipitation from sticking to the ground or causing major driving issues. However, if the forecast changes and conditions worsen, crews could be expected to mobilize.
Currently, Arlington is not included in the winter storm watches or warnings issued by the National Weather Service for many surrounding counties. Although that could change, right now there is only a chance for a light snow shower or a rain/snow mix around here. Due to the uncertainty of the storm, most weather experts are putting the chances of snow on Saturday around 50-50.
Fall snowstorms are worrisome because trees haven’t yet shed all their leaves, making the branches heavy and susceptible to snapping off as a result of accumulation. This traditionally makes autumn snow more dangerous than winter storms.
The last time the metro area experienced a significant snowstorm in October was back on October 10, 1979.
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.
Update at 4:20 p.m. — Crews are now planning on treating Arlington’s roads starting at some point between 9:00 and 10:00 tonight, as rain changes to sleet. Officials say commuters should expect wet main roads and slushy side roads in time for the morning rush. The warmth over the past couple of days means that road temperatures are well above freezing, which should help to melt some of the accumulation, officials say.
The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory as a storm closes in on the Washington area. Local accumulations of 2-5 inches are expected as rain changes over to sleet and snow overnight.
An Arlington County official tells ARLnow.com that crews are preparing for a “light snow” event. So far, there is no plan in place to pre-treat roads. The response may be upgraded now that the advisory has been issued.
A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 9 PM THIS EVENING TO 7 AM EST TUESDAY.
* PRECIPITATION TYPE… WINTRY MIX OF RAIN AND SLEET CHANGING OVER TO SNOW.
* ACCUMULATIONS… 2 TO 5 INCHES OF SNOW AND SLEET.
* TIMING… A MIX OF RAIN AND SLEET WILL BEGIN LATE THIS EVENING… THEN CHANGE OVER TO ALL SNOW AROUND MIDNIGHT… AND CONTINUE THROUGH DAWN. HEAVIEST SNOWFALL WILL BE BETWEEN 1 AM AND 4 AM.
* TEMPERATURES… TEMPERATURES IN THE MIDDLE 30S THIS EVENING… DROPPING TO THE UPPER 20S BY TUESDAY MORNING.
* WINDS… NORTHEAST 15 TO 25 MPH.
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.
Update at 12:05 p.m. — The county has informed us that the previous numbers we were given were wrong. The article now reflects the updated numbers.
Last week’s snow and ice storm has resulted in a total of 679 complaints to Arlington County through its new Report a Snow Issue form, according to the county’s Department of Environmental Services.
As of last night, here’s the breakdown of what citizens are reporting:
- 406 — This street has never been plowed or needs additional plowing
- 189 — Sidewalk concern
- 52 — Other
- 32 — This street is icy
By comparison, TBD reported that 30 complaints were submitted after 2-3 inches of snow fell on Dec. 16.
The county’s new snow removal ordinance says that snow and ice must be removed from public sidewalks 24 hours after precipitation stops falling. So far, however, no fines have been issued as a result of the ordinance.
“Our collective focus this year has been on education and compliance,” said Department of Environmental Services spokeswoman Myllisa Kennedy. “To date, there have not been any civil infractions issued according to Code Enforcement.”