Despite sunny skies and relatively mild temperatures this afternoon, forecasters have issued another reminder that the D.C. area will be blanketed with snow tomorrow.
The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning, upgrading the previous Winter Storm Watch. Forecasters say we’re likely to get 4-8 inches of snow tomorrow (Wednesday).
… WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT TONIGHT TO 3 AM EST THURSDAY…
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON HAS ISSUED A WINTER STORM WARNING FOR SNOW… WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT TONIGHT TO 3 AM EST THURSDAY. THE WINTER STORM WATCH IS NO LONGER IN EFFECT.
* PRECIPITATION TYPE… SNOW.
* ACCUMULATIONS… 4 TO 8 INCHES WITH THE HIGHER AMOUNTS WEST OF INTERSTATE 95.
* TIMING… RAIN MIXING WITH AND CHANGING TO WET SNOW FROM SOUTHWEST TO NORTHEAST TONIGHT AND WEDNESDAY MORNING. SNOW MAY BE MODERATE TO HEAVY AT TIMES WEDNESDAY. SNOW TAPERS OFF WEDNESDAY NIGHT.
* TEMPERATURES… IN THE MID 30S.
* WINDS… NORTHEAST 15 TO 25 MPH. GUSTS UP TO 35 MPH WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON AND NIGHT.
* IMPACTS… SNOW COVERED ROADS WILL MAKE TRAVEL DIFFICULT. HEAVY WET SNOW AND GUSTY WINDS COULD LEAD TO POWER OUTAGES WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON AND NIGHT.
A WINTER STORM WARNING FOR HEAVY SNOW MEANS SEVERE WINTER WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED OR OCCURRING. SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF SNOW ARE FORECAST THAT WILL MAKE TRAVEL DANGEROUS. ONLY TRAVEL IN AN EMERGENCY. IF YOU MUST TRAVEL… KEEP AN EXTRA FLASHLIGHT… FOOD… AND WATER IN YOUR VEHICLE IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY.
Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority says travelers should expect delays and cancellations over the next 36 hours or so.
Reagan National and Dulles International Airports are operating normally. An approaching winter storm is affecting flights to and from Chicago today. We anticipate winter weather will affect flight operations here on Wednesday, March 6. Check with directly with your airline to monitor the status of your flight and determine if flight rebooking is necessary.
Our airport snow removal personnel and equipment are prepared for the storm. We will update this page with further information when the winter weather arrives.
The snow storm alternately known as “Snowquester” or “Winter Storm Saturn” will dump up to 8 inches of the heavy, wet snow on Arlington between this afternoon and early Thursday, according to forecasters.
Arlington County says it’s proceeding with a “full mobilization” of its snow-removal crews.
From Department of Environmental Services spokeswoman Shannon Whalen McDaniel:
Arlington County’s Department of Environmental Services is preparing today for a full mobilization to deal with the forecasted “[Winter] Storm Saturn.” The County will operate 46 of its trucks, and will secure six contract trucks or more as needed.
Staff are now hooking up equipment to the trucks in preparation for the storm, including plows, spreaders and chains. Starting at midnight, crews will begin working in 12-hour shifts (in compliance with safe practice standards) to treat and clear the streets. These shifts will continue through the storm and and extend into Thursday and Friday if necessary.
There are no current plans to haul or melt snow given the current forecast. This is subject to change depending on the storm.
Residents are encouraged to use the County’s online form to “Report a Snow Issue” 24 hours after the snow has stopped falling.
Earlier this year the county released a video about Arlington’s snow removal process and ordinances governing snow removal requirements for property owners.
Forecasters say chances are increasing that we’ll get a significant late-season snowstorm starting Tuesday night. The storm could dump more than 5 inches of snow, though the precipitation could be mostly rain if the temperature stays too warm.
From the National Weather Service:
…WINTER STORM WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM TUESDAY EVENING THROUGH WEDNESDAY EVENING…
* PRECIPITATION TYPE…SNOW.
* ACCUMULATIONS…MORE THAN 5 INCHES POSSIBLE…WITH THE POTENTIAL FOR SIGNIFICANT SNOWFALL SOMEWHERE WITHIN THE WATCH AREA.
* TIMING…PRECIPITATION MIXING WITH AND CHANGING TO SNOW TUESDAY NIGHT. SNOW CONTINUING INTO WEDNESDAY EVENING.
* TEMPERATURES…IN THE LOWER AND MID 30S.
* WINDS…NORTHEAST 10 TO 20 MPH WITH GUSTS UP TO 30 MPH.
* IMPACTS…DIFFICULT DRIVING CONDITIONS. HEAVY WET SNOW AND GUSTY WINDS COULD LEAD TO POWER OUTAGES.
A WINTER STORM WATCH MEANS THERE IS A POTENTIAL FOR SIGNIFICANT SNOW…SLEET…OR ICE ACCUMULATIONS THAT MAY IMPACT TRAVEL. CONTINUE TO MONITOR THE LATEST FORECASTS.
A STRONG LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM IS EXPECTED TO IMPACT THE AREA TUESDAY NIGHT THROUGH WEDNESDAY NIGHT…BRINGING THE POTENTIAL FOR HEAVY WET SNOW…GUSTY WINDS…AND POSSIBLY COASTAL FLOODING. A WINTER
STORM WATCH HAS BEEN POSTED TUESDAY NIGHT THROUGH WEDNESDAY EVENING FOR THE BALTIMORE AND WASHINGTON DC METROPOLITAN AREAS. UNCERTAINTY REMAINS WITH THE TRACK OF THE LOW AND LOCATION OF THE RAIN-SNOW LINE…WHICH ULTIMATELY WILL DETERMINE SNOWFALL TOTALS. PLEASE MONITOR THE LATEST FORECASTS FOR UPDATES.
Arlington and the rest of the Washington region is now under a Winter Storm Watch.
Forecasters at the National Weather Service say up to five inches of snow is possible tomorrow (Thursday). The snow may be at its heaviest during Thursday’s evening rush hour.
WINTER STORM WATCH IN EFFECT FROM THURSDAY MORNING THROUGH LATE THURSDAY NIGHT…
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON HAS ISSUED A WINTER STORM WATCH… WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM THURSDAY MORNING THROUGH LATE THURSDAY NIGHT.
* PRECIPITATION TYPE… SNOW… POSSIBLY HEAVY AT TIMES.
* ACCUMULATIONS… IN EXCESS OF 5 INCHES POSSIBLE.
* TIMING… SNOW MAY MIX WITH RAIN AT THE ONSET… ESPECIALLY SOUTH OF WASHINGTON DC THURSDAY MORNING… BEFORE CHANGING TO ALL SNOW LATE THURSDAY MORNING AND AFTERNOON. SNOW WILL END THURSDAY NIGHT. SNOW MAY BE HEAVY AT TIMES DURING THE AFTERNOON AND EVENING.
* TEMPERATURES… IN THE LOWER TO MID 30S.
* WINDS… NORTHWEST 5 TO 10 MPH WITH GUSTS UP TO 20 MPH.
* IMPACTS… ROADS MAY BECOME SNOW COVERED… ESPECIALLY DURING THE EVENING RUSH HOUR.
A WINTER STORM WATCH MEANS THERE IS A POTENTIAL FOR SIGNIFICANT SNOW ACCUMULATIONS THAT MAY IMPACT TRAVEL. CONTINUE TO MONITOR THE LATEST FORECASTS.
Signs are popping up in some Arlington County parks telling patrons to play elsewhere. The signs simply read “Field Closed” — but there are no other measures to keep residents away from that portion of the park. So what gives?
Department of Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Susan Kalish said workers post the signs in some of the county’s sports fields and parks during the winter to allow the turf to rest. The signs are intended to discourage larger gatherings and sports games on the affected fields.
“It’s not like we don’t want people walking through the areas, but we want to discourage pick-up soccer games and things that could stress the grass,” said Kalish.
Kalish said because grass doesn’t grow at this time of year, any damage that would be done to turf during the winter wouldn’t be able to begin mending until spring. Preventing winter damage from occurring in the first place cuts down on the amount of mending necessary in the spring.
While a fireplace can provide warmth and make for a cozy holiday setting, it can also be dangerous if not cared for properly.
At the request of ARLnow.com, the Arlington County Fire Department sent us the following safety tips for fireplace users, as outlined by the U.S. Fire Administration.
Keep Fireplaces and Wood Stoves Clean
- Have your chimney or wood stove inspected and cleaned annually by a certified chimney specialist.
- Clear the area around the hearth of debris, decorations and flammable materials.
- Leave glass doors open while burning a fire. Leaving the doors open ensures that the fire receives enough air to ensure complete combustion and keeps creosote from building up in the chimney.
- Close glass doors when the fire is out to keep air from the chimney opening from getting into the room. Most glass fireplacedoors have a metal mesh screen which should be closed when the glass doors are open. This mesh screen helps keep embers from getting out of the fireplace area.
- Always use a metal mesh screen with fireplaces that do not have a glass fireplace door.
- Install stovepipe thermometers to help monitor flue temperatures.
- Keep air inlets on wood stoves open, and never restrict air supply to fireplaces. Otherwise you may cause creosote buildup that could lead to a chimney fire.
- Use fire-resistant materials on walls around wood stoves.
Safely Burn Fuels
- Never use flammable liquids to start a fire.
- Use only seasoned hardwood. Soft, moist wood accelerates creosote buildup. In pellet stoves, burn only dry, seasoned wood pellets.
- Build small fires that burn completely and produce less smoke.
- Never burn cardboard boxes, trash or debris in your fireplace or wood stove.
- When building a fire, place logs at the rear of the fireplace on an adequate supporting grate.
- Never leave a fire in the fireplace unattended. Extinguish the fire before going to bed or leaving the house.
- Allow ashes to cool before disposing of them. Place ashes in a tightly covered metal container and keep the ash container at least 10 feet away from your home and any other nearby buildings. Never empty the ash directly into a trash can. Douse and saturate the ashes with water.
Protect the Outside of Your Home
- Stack firewood outdoors at least 30 feet away from your home.
- Keep the roof clear of leaves, pine needles and other debris.
- Cover the chimney with a mesh screen spark arrester.
- Remove branches hanging above the chimney, flues or vents.
Protect the Inside of Your Home
- Install smoke alarms on every level of your home and inside and outside of sleeping areas. Test them monthly and change the batteries at least once a year. Consider installing the new long life smoke alarms.
- Provide proper venting systems for all heating equipment.
- Extend all vent pipes at least three feet above the roof.
Flickr pool photo by Chris Rief
Courthouse Office Building Approved — At its meeting on Saturday, the Arlington County Board unanimously approved a redevelopment plan for a new 8-story office building at 2311 Wilson Blvd in Courthouse. [Arlington County]
Goody’s Expansion Plan Foiled by the Fiscal Cliff? — Clarendon pizza restaurant Goody’s was featured on the Friday broadcast of NBC Nightly News. The owners of the restaurant say they’re only making a small profit and they’re worried about having to close due to the impact of the so-called fiscal cliff (primarily the increased taxes that could go into effect if no deal is reached). Goody’s owners were planning to expand next year, but have put those plans on hold, according to the broadcast. [NBC News]
First Streetcars, Then Spaceships — Trying to make the point that the County Board doesn’t have a hidden agenda when considering adoption of the Virginia Public-Private Transportation Act, Board member Walter Tejada said that public-private partnerships could be used for future projects, and not just for streetcars. “It could be used for spaceships down the line in the future,” he said. [Sun Gazette]
Winter Coats and Clothes Collected — The Rosslyn Business Improvement District collected 119 bags of winter clothing from area businesses and residents over the past month. The clothes will be donated to the homeless clients of the Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network. The Nauck Community Service Center, meanwhile, collected more than 500 coats for distribution to Arlington residents in need.
Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann
Rosslyn Lights Up Tonight — The 19th annual Light Up Rosslyn night is tonight. The holiday event is taking place from 5:15 to 6:30 p.m. in front of the WJLA building (1100 Wilson Blvd). Local officials will flip a big switch to “light up” the Rosslyn skyline. In addition, there will be musical groups performing and free hot cocoa, chili, cider and cookies. [Rosslyn BID]
Reduction in Blue Line Service Planned — Metro plans to further reduce service on the Blue Line when the Silver Line to Tysons Corner opens. With the Silver Line in operation, perhaps by the end of 2013, Blue Line trains will run every 12 minutes between Franconia-Springfield and Largo, during both peak and off-peak hours. [Washington Post]
More Commuters Are Using Transit – Updated at 10:10 a.m. — There has been a significant jump in the number of Arlington residents using mass transit as their primary means of commuting to work, according to U.S. Census figures. In 2011, 28.4 percent of residents used transit, compared to 23.3 percent in 2000. [Sun Gazette]
Winter is Coming – This week is Winter Preparedness Week. Though the weather might have been warm over the past few days, Arlington’s Office of Emergency Management is advising residents to take steps to prepare for winter weather. [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by Ddimick
Thanks to the mild winter, the District of Columbia has reported a 22 percent drop in the number of complaints about potholes. After all, the warmer weather isn’t as conducive to pothole formation. Across the Potomac, however, Arlington’s pothole repairs crews have been busy.
Since the start of November, Arlington County has filled 2,184 potholes. That compares to 1,174 potholes filled by this time last year — an 86 percent increase. Why so many?
Department of Environmental Services spokeswoman Shannon Whalen McDaniel says the weather has allowed crews to get a head start on pothole repairs.
“The warmer weather has enabled crews to get out more frequently to repair the roads,” Whalen McDaniel said. “It’s helped us to get a jump start on the official pothole season that starts in early March.”
Residents can report potholes on the pothole page of the county’s website.
This morning, on Groundhog Day, Punxsutawney Phil was rudely awoken from his slumber and asked to predict the weather.
Phil saw his shadow — meaning that, according to tradition, there will be six more weeks of winter. Given the mild winter so far, would you mind six weeks of cold, wintry weather before the start of spring?
Warmer than normal temperatures have many people experiencing spring fever in our area. While the trails and parks are swarming with revelers trying to soak up the sun, it may not be time to get out the gardening gear just yet.
The sporadic 50 and 60 degree days have some bulbs sprouting early and have even prompted a pollen update today. The Capital Weather Gang reports that January broke our string of three colder than average winters. The average temperature of 40.8 was only 4.8 degrees warmer than the normal of 36, but brought us the 17th warmest January on record since 1871.
So with the early sprouting and continued mild weather, is it OK to start gardening yet? Not so fast. According to Manager Carey Fortnoff at Bill’s True Value Garden Center (4756 Lee Hwy), it all depends on what you’re going to plant. Small ground plants could still die if another cold snap occurs. Frost would harm the roots and kill the entire plant. Fortnoff says it’s best to wait until mid-March when the threat of frost has passed.
If you can’t wait that long and want to take advantage of the mild conditions, soil can be tilled and fortified with peat and lime right now. Some larger trees and bushes also may be able to withstand another chill if put in the ground soon. Pansies are also a popular choice for planting immediately due to hardiness. Another popular option is to germinate seeds in starter pots indoors, then move the small plants outside in March.
Fortnoff said although most of the spring planting supplies are already in or on their way, the rush of gardeners hasn’t hit yet.
“February is our graveyard month,” Fortnoff said. “But if you have something in mind you know you want to do, like seeding grass, come in and browse.”
If you do want to get some yard work in, now is the time. This may be the last dry 60 degree day we experience for a while. It’s also a good time to buy gardening supplies while items are well stocked.
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.”
Yes, it’s that time of the year again.
Workers have started installing the ice skating rink at the Pentagon Row shopping center (1101 S. Joyce Street). What serves as a concert and outdoor dining venue during the summer will soon be transformed into a wintry skating rink, complete with instructors providing skating lessons and (starting as soon as Nov. 12) a nightly artificial snow fall.
Weather-permitting, the skating rink is expected to open two weeks from today, on Tuesday, Nov. 1.
In other ice-related news at Pentagon Row, the Maggie Moo’s ice cream shop is no longer Maggie Moo’s. The shop is still selling ice cream and frozen yogurt, but without the Maggie Moo’s branding.
Arlington County snow crews are finalizing plans to tackle the winter storm that’s predicted to hit the region tomorrow evening.
Employees from the county’s Water Sewer Streets Bureau will be divided up into two teams that will work 12-hour, round-the-clock shifts starting tomorrow before the storm’s arrival.
Snow-clearing equipment will be readied tomorrow morning, with crews getting on the road by mid-afternoon, according to Department of Environmental Services spokeswoman Myllisa Kennedy.
County plows will continue clearing roads throughout the overnight hours, Kennedy said.