There are now just under 13,000 Dominion customers without power, a number that seems to keep falling.
Highways like I-66 and I-395, which were jammed last night with traffic, snow and disabled and crashed vehicles, are now clear. Most major local county roads are clear. But many side streets remain impassable, either because of snow or downed trees. A big test will come in the next hour, as federal employees — currently on a two-hour delay — start heading to work.
Arlington County says its Emergency Communications Center handled more than 2,400 call during and after the storm last night. Normal call volume during that 12-hour time period is just under 900.
The county has issued a press release about its response to the storm:
ARLINGTON, Va. — Arlington County road crews have cleared the County’s arterial streets hours after a “thunderstorm” dumped several inches of snow on the County and snarled traffic across the region. Crews now are focusing on collector streets and will move into neighborhoods later this morning.
With schools closed and County government opening two hours late, the County is dealing with low hanging power lines, downed lines and fallen trees, or large branches thatt were obstructing roadways and sidewalks. A handful of vehicles were abandoned by commuters on County streets Wednesday night, impeding some plowing operations on arterial streets. By 8 a.m. Thursday, crews had cleared 20 downed trees, but at least seven trees were reportedly blocking streets, and another 11 streets were partially blocked.
“Our crews are hard at work and doing their best to dig the County out and get folks back to work and school as soon as possible,” said County Manager Barbara Donnellan. “We’re making good progress and we thank our residents and businesses for their patience.”
Residents urged to use public transit
The County’s Environmental Services department asked residents to use caution on the roadways and take public transit if they must travel today. Drivers who see a plow/salt spreader, should stay at least 100 feet behind the truck until it is safe to pass.
The County also asks residents to make sure their cars are off residential streets, if off-street parking is available, so that plows can move quickly and safely. The County has deployed 45 plows to clear and treat Arlington roadways. About 150 men and women have been working in two 12-hour shifts around the clock since before the storm hit.
Water pressure re-established
This morning our Water Sewer Streets Bureau investigated reports of low water pressure/no water in the area of Lee Hwy from Military Rd west to Washington Blvd. A power outage at a pumping station was suspected and a crew has since re-established pressure at the pumping station.
The widespread power outages affected a number of County facilities. Crews are working to reestablish power to those facilities. About 13,769 Dominion Power customers in Arlington were without power as of 6:45 a.m., many of those were north of Lee Highway.
ECC inundated with calls
The County’s Emergency Communications Center processed approximately 2411 inbound and outbound calls in a 12-hour period during the snow incident. (During December 2010, on a typical Wednesday, ECC processed on average of approximately 896 inbound and outbound calls from the center in a 12-hour period.)
The ECC dispatched about 356 fire calls for service, 75% of them directly storm-related. Another 229 calls for service were dispatched, 57% of them were directly storm-related.
For detailed information on closings, schedule changes and winter weather tips, and for information on the snow ordinance, visit the County Web site.
The Virginia Department of Emergency Management has also issued a press release about the clean-up, after the jump.
Local and state government personnel in Northern Virginia worked through the night to clear roads of snow and downed trees and assist stranded motorists. Travel in the region remains hazardous and Virginians are asked to delay travel until later in the day to allow crews to clear the roads as quickly as possible.
Local law enforcement and Virginia State Police have assisted stranded motorists and disabled vehicles.
VDOT has about 2,200 trucks treating and plowing major roads and subdivisions in the region, but heavy traffic and downed trees and power lines have made the work difficult.
The Virginia Department of Emergency Management has brought in additional staff to the Virginia Emergency Operations Center to ensure coordination with local governments and state agencies.
As of 1 a.m., more than 180,000 customers were without power in the Northern Virginia region. It is not known at this point when power will be restored for all customers. Forecasted cold temperatures could create dangerous situations for those without power, especially the elderly.
Here are some safety tips for those without power.
- Keep space heaters at least three feet from other objects. Never leave space heaters unattended.
- Use flashlights instead of candles for light.
Use generators only outdoors and only in well ventilated areas.