(Updated at 6:45 p.m.) Some local roads around Arlington are becoming snow-covered as moderate-to-heavy snow continues fall into the early evening hours.
Early dismissals for the federal government and local schools resulted in an early rush hour, with I-66, I-395 and Columbia Pike jammed as of 2:45 p.m. Conditions have since improved somewhat, but slow traffic remains on large portions of 395 in Arlington.
Some 1-2 inches of wet snow is expected to fall before the flakes start tapering off around 5 p.m.
“Snow is getting heavier and visibility is dropping,” VDOT said this afternoon. “There’s not much accumulation on the roads, but even a little bit can causes spin outs if people drive like it’s a dry road. We’ve got lots of trucks out treating, but plan for a longer commute.”
ART and Metro buses are continuing to operate on a normal weekday service schedule, though ART warned of “minor delays depending on weather conditions this evening and overnight as snow, and any remaining rain may freeze.”
Most Arlington County facilities and offices remained open this afternoon, though county-run recreational programs after 2 p.m. were cancelled. Trash and recycling collection were suspended for the rest of the day earlier this afternoon.
Though arterial routes and highways were mostly wet, local officials encouraged anyone on the roads to take caution.
“As they head home, commuters and drivers should exercise caution and know the safety rules for dealing with winter road emergencies,” AAA Mid-Atlantic said in a press release. “Some research suggests the first snowy day of the year is ‘substantially more dangerous’ for drivers. What’s more, some earlier research revealed some drivers are ‘more likely to become involved in a crash during the first snowfall of the season compared to other snow days.’ Even so, ‘the first winter storms of the season usually result in numerous crashes because people fail to adjust their driving habits to the road conditions,’ area police and transportation officials advise.”
More from Virginia State Police:
Virginians are still advised to do the following if traveling today:
- Use headlights. Increasing your visibility helps you to avoid slick and dangerous spots on the road, as well as helps other drivers see you better. Also, it’s a state law that if the windshield wipers are active, then headlights must be on.
- Slow your speed. Though state police works closely with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) to identify problem areas on Virginia’s highways during storms, drivers still must drive for conditions. Slowing your speed gives you more time to safely react and avoid a crash. Drive your vehicle based on your ability to properly maintain control of your vehicle.
- Don’t tailgate. You need increased stopping distance on slick road surfaces. Give yourself more space between vehicles traveling ahead of you in order to avoid rear end collisions.
- Buckle Up. Most crashes that occur during winter weather are caused by vehicles sliding into guardrails, off the road or other vehicles. Wearing your seat belt protects you from being thrown around the inside of your vehicle and suffering serious injury in a crash.
- Check Your Vehicle. Make sure your vehicle is in good working order for the conditions. Fill up the tank in advance. Check windshield wipers, windshield wiper fluid, tire tread, battery life, etc.
- Don’t leave home without a window scraper, blanket, bottled water, snack, cell phone charger and flashlight.
Forecasters and local officials are warning of a freeze overnight that could turn roads and sidewalks icy, in time for the morning commute.
Temperatures expected to linger around freezing until the end of Wednesday morning rush hour. So don't rush, especially on the roads. Crews will treat potential trouble spots overnight. #ArlWX https://t.co/J0yJcIm7oC pic.twitter.com/pqSGzv36m8
— Arlington Department of Environmental Services (@ArlingtonDES) January 7, 2020
— NBCPhotog (@bforte22) January 7, 2020
Some photos above are via users on our Facebook page. Additional snow photos around Arlington, via Twitter, are below after the jump.
— John Sonderman (@jdsonder) January 7, 2020
— Michael Peloquin (@mmp7700) January 7, 2020
Flakes are picking up in East Falls Church ❄️❄️❄️ pic.twitter.com/cr3lXWJTyC
— Mary Quinilty (@maryquinilty) January 7, 2020
— dukerueb40 (@dukerueb40) January 7, 2020
South Arlington pic.twitter.com/JqpoJpQ5zV
— Lynda Flippin (@lmflippin) January 7, 2020