(Updated at 11:10 a.m.) Arlington County officials say more snow arrived than they expected this morning — 3 inches so far, according to the National Weather Service — leading to widespread traffic, transit delays and accidents.
The NWS declared a Winter Storm Warning just after 9:00 a.m., now predicting the region gets more than 4 inches of snow by 1:00 p.m. Several of the accidents this morning have involved school buses, and the Arlington County Police Department tweeted that they received 71 calls for traffic accidents between 6:00 and 10:00 a.m.
Arlington County sent out the following release at 9:45 this morning:
MEDIA ALERT: A shifting weather pattern coupled with freezing temperatures resulted this morning in unexpectedly heavy snowfall and dangerously slick roads. Drivers should avoid unnecessary travel while County crews plow roads throughotu the day. If you must drive, use extreme caution. Visit the County’s Snow and Ice Page for tips on how to cope with inclement weather.
The County has deployed 35 piece of snow-fighting equipment. Snow-fighting will continue non-stop through the day and overnight into tomorrow. Crews will work first on main roads, then residential side streets.
APS has issued the following update: This morning’s inclement weather has caused significant traffic delays and buses are experiencing significant delays, and some buses are having problems completing their routes. Because of these traffic and road conditions, we continue to experience transportation delays this morning. We are also experiencing some telephone outages with Verizon services at some APS locations. Any student arriving late will not be marked tardy. If you are driving your student to school, please be patient and safe.
ARLnow.com received a photo of a garbage truck that had slid onto the sidewalk while trying to make its delayed rounds. As of 10:30 a.m., all trash and recycling collection for the day has been suspended, and collection for the rest of the week is pushed back a day.
Snowfall has tapered off and most outlets are predicting that accumulation has all but ended. With sub-freezing temperatures predicted for the rest of the day today and tomorrow, the secondary roads the county has yet to plow could begin icing over.
This is the first snowfall since Arlington announced it would start treating its major trails as primary roads. Crews cleared the Custis Trail and W&OD Trail — which is owned and maintained by the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority — to allow bike commuters to travel into work.
We had previously reported that at least seven roads had been closed due to accidents, and several more are experiencing multi-vehicle accidents. Scanner traffic indicates the intersection of Fort Scott Drive and S. Grant Street near Crystal City had a three-car accident, a multi-vehicle accident at N. Highland and 20th Streets and several cars getting stuck on a hill on N. Livingston Street.