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Winter Weather Advisory Issued for Arlington, D.C. Area

Update at 2:15 p.m. — “Please plan to leave work early today,” VDOT’s Northern Virginia office said via Twitter this afternoon.

Earlier: Arlington will be under a Winter Weather Advisory tonight and early Friday as some snow threatens to disrupt the upcoming evening and morning commutes.

The National Weather Service says about an inch of accumulation is expected, potentially resulting in slick roads and sidewalks.

More from NWS:

…WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 6 PM THIS EVENING TO 4 AM EST FRIDAY… * WHAT…SNOW EXPECTED. TOTAL SNOW ACCUMULATIONS OF AROUND ONE INCH EXPECTED. * WHERE…THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, CENTRAL AND NORTHERN MARYLAND AND NORTHERN VIRGINIA. * WHEN…FROM 6 PM THIS EVENING TO 4 AM EST FRIDAY. * ADDITIONAL DETAILS…PLAN ON SLIPPERY ROAD CONDITIONS AND SIDEWALKS. THE HAZARDOUS CONDITIONS COULD IMPACT THE EVENING COMMUTE AFTER SUNSET AS TEMPERATURES FALL BELOW FREEZING. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY FOR SNOW MEANS PERIODS OF SNOW WILL CAUSE PRIMARILY TRAVEL DIFFICULTIES. EXPECT SNOW COVERED ROADS AND LIMITED VISIBILITIES, AND USE CAUTION WHILE DRIVING. THE LATEST ROAD CONDITIONS FOR THE STATE YOU ARE CALLING FROM CAN BE OBTAINED BY CALLING 5 1 1. &&

Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services says it is adding “extra response shifts” tonight to help keep roadways clear, though salt residue already on the roads will serve double duty as pre-treatment this time around.

Arlington Public Schools has, in turn, canceled all after-school and evening activities Thursday night. Arlington’s Dept. of Parks and Recreation has canceled a number of activities, as well:

  • All Enjoy Arlington classes, 55+ classes and nature center programs with start times of 5 p.m. or later are cancelled in all buildings.
  • Sports activities, leagues and instructional programs in APS buildings are cancelled.
  • Sports league activities in all community centers and other County facilities will proceed as scheduled.
  • DPR Teen after school programs will proceed as scheduled.
  • All Community Centers (including joint use facilities located at Drew, Carver, Gunston, Langston and Thomas Jefferson) will remain open.
  • For information regarding the status of the Arlington Aquatic Centers, please check here.

More via Twitter:

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County Making Progress on Snow Removal, Though Some Icy Patches Linger

Three days out from one of the D.C. region’s biggest snowstorms in years, Arlington officials say they’ve managed to clear most streets and county-controlled sidewalks — but the frigid temperatures of the last few nights have led to some trouble spots.

Since this weekend’s big storm, county workers have been able to clear the vast majority of highly trafficked roads, and many neighborhood streets as well. But Katie O’Brien, a spokeswoman for the county’s Department of Environmental Services, told ARLnow that snow plows are still on the road today (Wednesday) “to address areas that need additional treatment.”

“We have been having a lot of issues with refreezing over the past few days on both streets and sidewalks,” O’Brien wrote in an email. The problem was even significant enough to prompt the county school system to switch from a planned two-hour delay yesterday morning (Tuesday) to a full closure.

When it comes to those troublesome sidewalks, the county puts most of the onus for clearing walkways on residents and businesses. But Arlington crews still have responsibility for sidewalks outside county facilities, like libraries and community centers.

And on that front, O’Brien says that workers have managed to clear all the sidewalks the county is responsible for maintaining. The same goes for the walkways near county parks, according to Department of Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Susan Kalish.

“We’ve got everything cleared at this point, but will continue to monitor things due to snow melt and refreeze,” Kalish wrote in an email.

Of course, some slick spots still linger on trails within the parks themselves. Some walking paths remain iced over in parks around the county, prompting a few complaints from frustrated ARLnow readers. A quick survey of paths in both the James Hunter Dog Park in Clarendon and the Henry Clay Park in Lyon Park showed that ice still coated most of their walkways.

But Kalish says that’s largely because the county prioritizes sidewalks “around our community centers so they can safely open,” then focuses on “clearing safe routes to schools and then the heaviest used sidewalks (normally associated with Metro or busier urban areas).”

Kalish added that parks workers also are responsible for clearing “10 miles of high-volume, multi-use county trails,” and that process is just about wrapped up as well.

Notably, this was the county’s first storm since setting up a temporary salt storage facility to replace the old “Salt Dome” providing road salt for the northern half of the county — a controversial process that rankled neighbors this summer — but O’Brien says there were “no major concerns or unexpected issues” with the new facility.

She added that the county’s “staffing levels for plow operators and snow-clearing personnel have remained steady,” despite Arlington’s recent budget woes, allowing the county to operate its full fleet of 46 snow plow trucks without a hitch.

Going forward, O’Brien says that anyone who notices a street or patch of sidewalk that needs some work can report it for attention through an online form on the county’s website.

And it might be a good idea to give any remaining patches of ice some attention sooner rather than later — forecasters expect a wintry mix to roll back through the area tomorrow night (Thursday).

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Major Road Conditions Improve, But County Urges People to Stay Home As Snow Removal Continues

(Updated at 2:25 p.m.) The snowflakes have finally stopped falling, and now Arlingtonians are starting to dig out from the first big snow storm of the new year.

With county schools and offices all closed (to say nothing of the federal government), traffic is light on area roads and highways. All Arlington Department of Parks and Recreation facilities have also since been closed, and all programs cancelled.

But if you do need to venture out today (Monday), highways and even most highly trafficked roads around the county look pretty clear.

However, crews are still working to reach many neighborhood streets, and county police are urging people to stay off the road, if possible.

Metrorail service is running as normal, but many Metrobus routes are delayed due to icy conditions. WMATA says the 16C, 16E, 16G, 23B and 28A routes could all be affected.

Arlington Transit buses are running on reduced schedules on the 41, 51, 55 and 87 lines, while service on the 77 line is currently suspended. Virginia Railway Express won’t run any trains today.

Be sure to check with the organizers of any events you might’ve planned on attending tonight, as many have already been cancelled. For instance, the county has called off its open house on longe-range planning for new cycling infrastructure, originally set to be held at Phoenix Bikes.

If you are at home today, you might want to break out the snow shovel — a county ordinance calls for all residents and businesses to clear off adjacent sidewalks by 3 p.m. Tuesday.

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UPDATED: County, Federal Governments Closed Monday As Crews Try to Clear Primary Roads

Update at 10:25 p.m. — Arlington County government will be closed Monday. As a result, there will be no curbside trash pickup Monday; service will resume when the county government reopens. Arlington snow crews are also reverting back to “Phase 2” of the county’s snow plan, meaning plows will stop treating neighborhood streets and will resume treating primary and secondary arterial streets only.

The extra burst of snow Sunday evening has caused problems at local airports. There are reports of extensive delays, extended waits on the tarmac and frustrated passengers at Reagan National Airport.

Another impact of the extra burst of snow Sunday evening: Arlington Transit Service.

“Due to inclement weather, ART will begin service on Monday, Jan. 14 at 8:00am with *Severe* service on ART 41, 51, 55 and 87,” ART said Sunday night. “Service on ART 77 will remain suspended until further notice.”

Update at 9:45 p.m. — The federal government — the parts of it that are not furloughed, at least — is closed Monday, according to the Office of Personnel Management. Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall is also closed. Among other closures, earlier today Arlington Public Schools announced that Monday will be a snow day, with all classes and activities cancelled.

Earlier: This weekend’s snowstorm isn’t done yet.

A prolonged period of steady snow is blanketing local roads after an afternoon lull that saw Arlington snow crews move their focus from arterial roads to neighborhood streets. The burst of snow has caused treacherous conditions in parts of the county and prompted a number of road closures.

“Many roads are becoming impassable due to weather conditions,” Arlington’s office of emergency management wrote shortly before 5:30 p.m. “Motorists are urged to stay off the roads to allow crews to treat the roadways. Conditions are expected to deteriorate as temperatures continue to drop.”

Around 7 p.m., all Metrobus service was suspended amid reports of buses getting stuck on hills. An hour and a half later, Arlington Transit announced that it was suspending service for the rest of the night.

Arlington County Police, Arlington’s Dept of Environmental Services and VDOT are all urging residents to stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary tonight into Monday morning.

A Winter Storm Warning remains in effect until midnight tonight.

…WINTER STORM WARNING NOW IN EFFECT UNTIL MIDNIGHT EST TONIGHT… * WHAT…PERIODS OF SNOW. TOTAL SNOW ACCUMULATIONS OF 6 TO 12 INCHES EXPECTED. * WHERE…THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, PORTIONS OF CENTRAL MARYLAND AND NORTHERN AND NORTHWEST VIRGINIA. * WHEN…UNTIL MIDNIGHT EST TONIGHT. * ADDITIONAL DETAILS…TRAVEL WILL BE VERY DIFFICULT DUE TO SNOW COVERED AND SLIPPERY ROADS. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… A WINTER STORM WARNING FOR SNOW MEANS SEVERE WINTER WEATHER CONDITIONS WILL MAKE TRAVEL VERY HAZARDOUS OR IMPOSSIBLE. IF YOU MUST TRAVEL, KEEP AN EXTRA FLASHLIGHT, FOOD AND WATER IN YOUR VEHICLE IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY. THE LATEST ROAD CONDITIONS FOR THE STATE YOU ARE CALLING FROM CAN BE OBTAINED BY CALLING 5 1 1. &&

Arlington appears likely to clock in at around 10 inches of snow accumulation by the time the flakes stop falling, though as much as a foot remains possible.

Among other trouble spots in Arlington, photos and video sent to ARLnow show cars and buses getting stuck on the hills around Rosslyn and Courthouse. And even emergency responders are having trouble; ACFD engine 108 reported around 6:45 p.m. that it had gotten stuck on a hill in the area of Rock Spring Road and 32nd Road N. and needed a tow truck.

Power outages have also been reported in Arlington. As of 6:30 p.m. just over 1,000 Dominion customers were in the dark around the county, primarily in the Tara-Leeway Heights, High View Park and Westover neighborhoods.

Another 1-3 inches of snow is possible through midnight, the National Weather Service said in a Special Weather Statement this evening.

“Icy roads are possible as the snow melts on the roads then quickly refreezes,” the statement notes. “Conditions can deteriorate rapidly in winter weather situations. Be prepared for snow or ice covered roads. Slow down and allow extra time when traveling.”

From midnight through 5:30 p.m. today, troopers from Virginia State Police’s Fairfax Division responded to 68 crashes and 81 disabled vehicles around Northern Virginia. VSP responded to 324 crashes statewide so far today.

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UPDATE: Arlington Public Schools Closed Monday as Snow Continues Falling

Update at 3:30 p.m. — All Arlington Public Schools will be closed Monday, the school system just announced.

Earlier: Arlington County snow removal crews have started plowing neighborhood streets as the snowiest D.C. area storm since 2016 starts to wind down.

The county’s Dept. of Environmental Services announced just before 1 p.m. that it had entered “Phase 3” of its snow response, during which crews are “working to widen passage on primary and secondary arterial” streets while “beginning to treat/plow residential streets.”

Crews across Northern Virginia worked throughout the night to keep roads drivable, though officials cautioned against unnecessary travel due to slick conditions.

Virginia State Police said troopers in its Fairfax Division, which includes Arlington, responded to 34 crashes and 52 disabled vehicles since midnight. Statewide, more than 230 crashes were handled by VSP during that timeframe.

“Drivers be advised — looks can be and are deceiving!” state police said. “Highways may appear to be clear, but slick and icy conditions still exist.”

“On the second day of winter weather across northern Virginia, drivers are asked to continue to avoid unnecessary travel for crews to safely clear accumulating snow,” VDOT urged.

In Arlington, all Dept. of Parks and Recreation classes and activities in county and school facilities were canceled today. All county fields and community centers were closed and all other activities at public schools were canceled. Arlington Transit buses, meanwhile, are operating on a limited schedule.

As of 2 p.m., Arlington Public Schools had not yet announced its status for Monday. Another 2-3 inches could fall between 1 p.m. today and just after midnight, according to the National Weather Service, and a Winter Storm Warning remains in effect.

Despite the hazards, the snow produced picturesque scenes around Arlington. More snowy scenes from around town, via social media:

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Roads Becoming Snow-Covered As Governor Declares State of Emergency

Few crashes or major problems have been reported on Arlington roads so far today (Saturday), but this weekend’s snowstorm is only getting started.

Many streets around the county are becoming increasingly snow-covered, though traffic is light and many seem to be heeding advice to stay at home rather than go out.

Additionally, a number of events were canceled and some facilities closed early tonight. From Arlington County:

  • DPR league games and activities with start times of 5:30 p.m. or later this evening are cancelled.
  • The Family Skate Night and Teen Night at Thomas Jefferson Community Center are cancelled for this evening.
  • All Community Centers will be closing at 6 p.m. this evening.
  • The Arlington Gymnastics Competition scheduled this evening will proceed until completion.

Arlington is currently under a Winter Storm Warning, with 6-12 inches of snow expected through Sunday evening. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, meanwhile, declared a state of emergency Saturday night.

From a press release:

Governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency today in advance of the anticipated effects of winter weather expected this weekend including snow, ice, and high winds throughout much of the Commonwealth. This will likely result in downed trees, power outages, and transportation impacts. The executive order is designed to help Virginia mitigate any damage caused by the winter weather event and to streamline the process that the Commonwealth uses to provide assistance to localities and communities impacted by storm effects.

“I am declaring a state of emergency in order to prepare and coordinate the Commonwealth’s response to anticipated winter storm impacts, including snow and ice accumulations, transportation issues, and power outages,” said Governor Northam. “Virginians should take precautions to stay safe as we begin experiencing winter weather effects.”

Arlington County snow removal crews are currently focusing their efforts on clearing primary roads and secondary arterial streets. After the snow starts tapering off Sunday, those crews will move on to start plowing neighborhood streets.

If more than six inches of snow falls, by county ordinance residents will be expected to clear the sidewalks in front of their homes within 36 hours of the last flakes. If less than six inches fall, that timeframe shortens to 24 hours.

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Flood Watch and Gale Warning Issued Ahead of Wet and Windy Weather Thursday

Arlington County will be under a Flood Watch and nearby bodies of water under a Gale Warning starting Thursday evening.

Heavy rain is expected to fall between Thursday night and Friday afternoon, while strong, gusty winds may fell trees and pose a danger to boaters Thursday night into Friday morning.

More from the National Weather Service:

FLOOD WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM THURSDAY EVENING THROUGH FRIDAY AFTERNOON… FROM THURSDAY EVENING THROUGH FRIDAY AFTERNOON * WIDESPREAD RAIN IS EXPECTED THURSDAY NIGHT AND SHOWERS ARE LIKELY FRIDAY. RAINFALL AMOUNTS AROUND 1-2 INCHES ARE MOST LIKELY, BUT LOCALLY HIGHER AMOUNTS AROUND 3-4 INCHES ARE POSSIBLE. SOILS REMAIN SATURATED DUE TO RECENT RAINFALL, SO EXCESS RUNOFF FROM THE RAIN WILL CAUSE THE POTENTIAL FOR FLOODING OF SMALL STREAMS, CREEKS, AND URBAN AREAS. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… A FLOOD WATCH MEANS THERE IS A POTENTIAL FOR FLOODING BASED ON CURRENT FORECASTS. YOU SHOULD MONITOR LATER FORECASTS AND BE ALERT FOR POSSIBLE FLOOD WARNINGS. THOSE LIVING IN AREAS PRONE TO FLOODING SHOULD BE PREPARED TO TAKE ACTION SHOULD FLOODING DEVELOP. &&

…SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 6 PM TO 8 PM EST THURSDAY… …GALE WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 8 PM THURSDAY TO 6 AM EST FRIDAY… THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON HAS ISSUED A GALE WARNING, WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 8 PM THURSDAY TO 6 AM EST FRIDAY. A SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY HAS ALSO BEEN ISSUED. THIS SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IS IN EFFECT FROM 6 PM TO 8 PM EST THURSDAY. * WINDS…34 TO 47 KNOTS WITHIN THE GALE WARNING. * WINDS…18 TO 33 KNOTS WITHIN THE SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… A GALE WARNING MEANS WINDS OF 34 TO 47 KNOTS ARE IMMINENT OR OCCURRING. OPERATING A VESSEL IN GALE CONDITIONS REQUIRES EXPERIENCE AND A PROPERLY EQUIPPED VESSEL. RECREATIONAL BOATERS SHOULD SEEK SAFE HARBOR PRIOR TO THE ONSET OF GALE CONDITIONS. A SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY MEANS WINDS OF 18 TO 33 KNOTS ARE IMMINENT OR OCCURRING. BOATERS OPERATING SMALLER VESSELS SHOULD AVOID NAVIGATING IN THESE CONDITIONS. &&

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Fire Dept. Urges Caution on Roads As Rain Continues

The Arlington County Fire Department is urging residents to “turn around, don’t drown” when encountering a flooded roadway.

A Flood Warning is in effect for Arlington County until 1:30 a.m. as rain continues to fall. More from the National Weather Service:

…A FLOOD WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 130 AM EST FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA…MONTGOMERY…CENTRAL PRINCE GEORGES… NORTHEASTERN LOUDOUN…ARLINGTON…AND NORTHEASTERN FAIRFAX COUNTIES…THE CITY OF FALLS CHURCH AND THE CITY OF ALEXANDRIA… AT 735 PM EST, EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AND TRANSPORTATION OFFICIALS REPORTED AREAS OF FLOODING ACROSS THE AREA. BRIGHTON DAM ROAD NEAR THE HOWARD COUNTY/MONTGOMERY COUNTY LINE WITHIN THE PATUXENT RIVER WATERSHED HAS WATER FLOWING ACROSS THE ROADWAY, NECESSITATING A WATER RESCUE. ADDITIONAL CLOSED ROADS ARE BEING REPORTED IN GLENN DALE IN PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY MD, AND NEAR PHILOMONT ALONG LIME KILN ROAD IN LOUDOUN COUNTY VA. MOTORISTS USING ROCK CREEK PARKWAY FROM SOUTHERN MONTGOMERY COUNTY INTO NORTHWEST DC SHOULD BE PREPARED FOR FLOODED ROADWAYS. AT 7:15 PM EST, THE GAUGE AT SHERRILL DRIVE ON ROCK CREEK IN NW DC IS WITHIN ONE-HALF FOOT OF FLOOD STAGE, AND IS CONTINUING TO RISE WITH MORE RAIN ON THE WAY OVER THE NEXT FEW HOURS. IT IS EXPECTED FOR ROCK CREEK TO REACH FLOOD STAGE BY 9:00 PM EST. RAIN WILL CONTINUE TO PERSIST THROUGH THE EVENING HOURS, ESPECIALLY IN MONTGOMERY COUNTY, WHERE WE ARE ALREADY SEEING FLOODING. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… TURN AROUND, DON’T DROWN WHEN ENCOUNTERING FLOODED ROADS. MOST FLOOD DEATHS OCCUR IN VEHICLES. BE ESPECIALLY CAUTIOUS AT NIGHT WHEN IT IS HARDER TO RECOGNIZE THE DANGERS OF FLOODING. IF LAW ENFORCEMENT HAS PUT UP BARRICADES ON FLOODED ROADWAYS, DO NOT GO AROUND THE BARRICADES, THINKING YOUR VEHICLE CAN GET THROUGH THE FLOOD WATERS. &&

Numerous flooded roadways and water rescues have been reported in nearby Fairfax County. Arlington County has seen fewer significant problems, but ponding has been reported on some local roads.

Today’s rain helped to make 2018 the wettest year on record for the D.C. area. More showers and drizzle are expected Sunday.

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Flood Watch Issued for Arlington

A Flood Watch will be in effect starting at 6 p.m. tonight as Arlington and the D.C. area is in for a heavy dose of rain through Saturday evening.

The National Weather Service says 1-2 inches of rain is likely, raising the possibility of flooding along creeks, streams and in urban areas.

More from NWS:

…FLOOD WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM THIS EVENING THROUGH
SATURDAY AFTERNOON…

 

* From this evening through Saturday afternoon

* Moderate rainfall is expected with locally heavy rain possible. Rainfall amounts around 1 to 2 inches are most likely with locally higher amounts around 3 inches possible. Runoff from the rainfall may cause creeks and streams to rise out of their banks as well as the potential for flooding in urban areas.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

A Flood Watch means there is a potential for flooding based on current forecasts.

You should monitor later forecasts and be alert for possible Flood Warnings. Those living in areas prone to flooding should be prepared to take action should flooding develop.

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Arlington Under Wind Advisory Wednesday

Arlington and surrounding areas will be under a Wind Advisory for much of Wednesday.

Gusty winds could result in downed tree limbs and power outages, forecasters say.

More from the National Weather Service:

…WIND ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 6 AM TO 4 PM EST WEDNESDAY…

The National Weather Service in Baltimore MD/Washington has issued a Wind Advisory, which is in effect from 6 AM to 4 PM EST Wednesday.

* TIMING…6 AM to 4 PM Wednesday.

* WINDS…West 20 to 25 mph with gusts up to 45 mph.

* IMPACTS…Gusty winds will blow around unsecured objects. Tree limbs could be blown down and a few power outages may result.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

A Wind Advisory means that winds of 45 to 55 mph are expected. Winds this strong can make driving difficult, especially for high profile vehicles.

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Icy Conditions Possible Saturday Morning

The National Weather Service is warning of the potential for icy roads Saturday morning.

Rain falling on sub-freezing pavement — the raindrops are expected to start falling around 8-9 a.m. — may turn to ice and make driving hazardous.

More from an NWS Special Weather Statement:

…POTENTIAL FOR PATCHY ICY CONDITIONS EARLY SATURDAY MORNING ALONG AND WEST OF INTERSTATE 95 IN THE BALTIMORE METROPOLITAN AREA AND NEAR INTERSTATE 95 AROUND WASHINGTON DC AND SPOTSYLVANIA COUNTY IN VIRGINIA… RAINFALL IS EXPECTED TO START AROUND DAYBREAK SATURDAY MORNING IN THE GREATER BALTIMORE/WASHINGTON VICINITY. THE RECENT COLD SNAP HAS CAUSED ELEVATED ROADWAYS, BRIDGES, AND OVERPASSES TO BE AT OR BELOW FREEZING FOR AN EXTENDED PERIOD OF TIME. DESPITE FORECAST AIR TEMPERATURES BEING ABOVE FREEZING EARLY ON SATURDAY MORNING IN DOWNTOWN BALTIMORE AND WASHINGTON, THERE MAY BE RESIDUAL AREAS AT GROUND LEVEL WHICH WILL CONTINUE TO BE BELOW FREEZING. THIS WILL CREATE THE POTENTIAL FOR PATCHY AREAS OF ICE TO ACCUMULATE BETWEEN DAWN AND 10 AM ON SATURDAY MORNING. THE GREATEST POTENTIAL FOR THIS PATCHY ICE WILL BE IN THE NORTHWEST SUBURBS OF BALTIMORE, NEAR WASHINGTON DC AND SPOTSYLVANIA COUNTY IN VIRGINIA. PLEASE CHECK BACK OVERNIGHT FOR UPDATED FORECASTS, INCLUDING THE POTENTIAL EXPANSION OF WINTER WEATHER ADVISORIES FURTHER EAST INTO MAJOR METROPOLITAN AREAS.

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Poll: When Do You First Voluntarily Listen to Christmas Music?

The first TV commercials started around Halloween. Mall storefronts began to change over around the same time.

Yes, Christmas starts early these days. But not everyone likes the mid-autumn kickoff to the holiday season.

One sure sign of having the holiday spirit is when one starts listening to holiday music. Locally, WASH-FM switched to all Christmas music on Nov. 16, while SiriusXM turned on its Holiday Traditions channel on Nov. 1.

With Thanksgiving just one day away, and Christmas tree sales two days away, we were wondering when Arlingtonians decide it’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year to tune in to holiday tunes.

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APS Cancels After-School Activities as Snow and Sleet Turn to Rain

(Updated at 3:35 p.m) After a controversial on-time start that led to a treacherous morning on local roads and sidewalks, Arlington Public Schools is not taking any chances tonight.

Both parents and school bus drivers had trouble getting to school this morning on the roads. According to an APS spokesman, 12 out of around 160 school buses became stuck due to slippery road conditions, and one bus was involved in a “very minor” crash. The spokesman did not have an exact tally of how many buses were late arriving to school

“Our drivers are instructed to drive slow and take all precautions when driving,” said Frank Bellavia.

Following the morning mess, APS canceled all after school and evening activities. The school system announced the cancellations in a tweet just after 1:30 p.m.

 

Marymount University, meanwhile, is also closing early because of the weather.

While most of the frozen precipitation is over for Arlington, there are still a number of concerns for this evening, including remaining snow on local roads and a possible re-freeze overnight.

More from VDOT:

A mixed bag of precipitation is affecting much of the Commonwealth Thursday, and Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) crews are responding to adverse road conditions where needed. Snow, sleet, and heavy rain are expected across Virginia through the afternoon and overnight hours.

Some portions of Virginia are experiencing the first taste of winter in the 2018-2019 season. In affected regions, VDOT crews are deployed to treat roads to melt icy areas. Icy conditions could cause downed trees and debris in roadways. Travelers should exercise caution during the afternoon rush hour and overnight, as road conditions may be wet and slushy.

Portions of the state are experiencing heavy rain. Crews are monitoring road conditions and responding to reports of high water and debris in roadways.

Motorists are encouraged to closely monitor travel conditions in local areas and adjust travel as needed. In wet and icy conditions, allow extra time to reach destinations, lower speed and keep a safe distance from other vehicles.

Another concern: the potential for flooding as a result of melting snow and heavy rain. Arlington and much of the rest of the region is currently under a Flood Watch.

From the National Weather Service:

…FLOOD WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS EVENING… THE FLOOD WATCH CONTINUES FOR * PORTIONS OF MARYLAND, THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, AND VIRGINIA, INCLUDING THE FOLLOWING AREAS, IN MARYLAND, ANNE ARUNDEL, CALVERT, CENTRAL AND SOUTHEAST HOWARD, CENTRAL AND SOUTHEAST MONTGOMERY, CHARLES, PRINCE GEORGES, SOUTHEAST HARFORD, SOUTHERN BALTIMORE, AND ST. MARYS. THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. IN VIRGINIA, ARLINGTON/FALLS CHURCH/ALEXANDRIA, FAIRFAX, KING GEORGE, PRINCE WILLIAM/MANASSAS/MANASSAS PARK, SPOTSYLVANIA, AND STAFFORD. * THROUGH THIS EVENING * A PERIOD OF MODERATELY HEAVY RAIN IS EXPECTED THIS AFTERNOON AND EVENING. ONE AND A HALF TO TWO INCHES OF RAIN IS EXPECTED WITH ISOLATED HIGHER AMOUNTS POSSIBLE. THIS MAY LEAD TO FLOODING OF AREA CREEKS AND STREAMS AS WELL AS IN URBAN AND POOR DRAINAGE AREAS. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… A FLOOD WATCH MEANS THERE IS A POTENTIAL FOR FLOODING BASED ON CURRENT FORECASTS. YOU SHOULD MONITOR LATER FORECASTS AND BE ALERT FOR POSSIBLE FLOOD WARNINGS. THOSE LIVING IN AREAS PRONE TO FLOODING SHOULD BE PREPARED TO TAKE ACTION SHOULD FLOODING DEVELOP. &&

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UPDATED: APS Open on Time Despite Snow, Treacherous Roads

(Updated at 9:55 a.m.) While Fairfax County cancelled school today, Arlington Public Schools opened on time despite the snow.

About an inch of wet snow has fallen, covering roads and sidewalks. A number of crashes have been reported around the county, per scanner traffic, and at least one school bus has gotten stuck on a snow-covered street. Another crash involving a bus has been reported on S. George Mason Drive in front of the National Guard center.

Several streets have been closed due to slick conditions, including N. Harrison Street at Little Falls Road, near Yorktown High School, the large S. Walter Reed Drive hill north of S. Four Mile Run Drive, N. George Mason Drive at Park Drive and N. George Mason Drive at Wilson Blvd.

ART buses, meanwhile, have been delayed due to the winter precipitation. Per ART:

ART Routes 41,45,62,75,77,and 84 are experiencing delays/operating issues due to icy/slippery road conditions.  Road Supervisors, Safety and Maintenance Technicians are assisting Operators. We apologize for the inconvenience.

The federal government is also open on time today, with the option for some employees to telework.

Arlington County Police and other agencies are urging drivers to be careful on the road.

More from social media:

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Winter Weather Advisory Issued for Arlington

Arlington County will be under a Winter Weather Advisory Thursday as a mix of snow, sleet, rain and freezing rain fall, causing a potentially slippery morning commute.

The National Weather Service says residents should “be very careful if you venture outside tomorrow.”

More from NWS:

…WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 4 AM TO 1 PM EST THURSDAY… * WHAT…MIXED PRECIPITATION EXPECTED. TOTAL SLEET AND SNOW ACCUMULATION OF UP TO ONE INCH, AND ICE GLAZE ACCUMULATIONS OF UP TO A TENTH OF AN INCH EXPECTED. * WHERE…PORTIONS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, CENTRAL MARYLAND AND NORTHERN AND NORTHWEST VIRGINIA. * WHEN…FROM 4 AM TO 1 PM EST THURSDAY. * ADDITIONAL DETAILS…PLAN ON SLIPPERY ROAD AND SIDEWALK CONDITIONS IN SOME AREAS. THE HAZARDOUS CONDITIONS COULD IMPACT THE MORNING COMMUTE. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… BE VERY CAREFUL IF YOU VENTURE OUTSIDE TOMORROW. WATCH YOUR FIRST FEW STEPS IN PARTICULAR AS YOUR STEP OR PATH MAY BE COATED WITH ICE. A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY MEANS THAT PERIODS OF SNOW, SLEET OR FREEZING RAIN WILL CAUSE TRAVEL DIFFICULTIES. EXPECT SLIPPERY ROADS AND LIMITED VISIBILITIES, AND USE CAUTION WHILE DRIVING. THE LATEST ROAD CONDITIONS FOR THE STATE YOU ARE CALLING FROM CAN BE OBTAINED BY CALLING 5 1 1. &&

AAA Mid-Atlantic is also cautioning motorists to take it easy on local roads and consider delaying non-essential trips.

Brace yourselves. We are likely in for a slippery commute tomorrow morning. People in the Washington, D.C. metro area will be waking up to a wintry mix Thursday morning, the National Weather Service and area meteorologists are forecasting. The forecast calls for a mix of “sleet, snow, and rain, and freezing rain.” Motorists and commuters should be especially careful on their morning commute and throughout the day, AAA Mid-Atlantic is urging, as the precipitation is expected to continue, either changing to rain or snow in the region.

Winter doesn’t officially arrive until the “Winter Solstice,” which falls on Friday, December 21, 2018. Although the Washington metro averages a blizzard “once every four to six years,” the District has an annual snowfall average of 15.5 inches, and we had snow in the forecast on the first day of Spring this year. Yet when it comes to rainfall, the city experiences an average of 115 days per year with precipitation. A “wintry mix” of precipitation can cause a big mess and pose special problems for area commuters.

“Thursday morning’s predicted wintry mix of precipitation will make for slippery conditions on roadways in our region,” said John B. Townsend II, Public and Government Affairs Manager for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Roads that are slick or ice-covered can create a worst-case scenario for commuters. The first rule of safe driving during wet weather is to slow down to improve tire traction. Plus, given the darker morning and evening commutes, be especially cautious and look out for pedestrians.”

Hazardous storms and inclement weather are a factor in more than half a million crashes and more than 2,000 road deaths every winter, according to research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Given the weather forecast, AAA Mid-Atlantic is encouraging drivers to be prepared and offers the below tips:

Avoid braking and turning at the same time. Brake first, then turn, then accelerate. Accelerate and decelerate more slowly than you would on dry roads.

  • Leave plenty of space between your car and the car ahead of you. Increase following distances to at least 6 seconds.
  • Drive with your low-beam headlights on, even during daylight.
  • Be predictable. Use turn signals, make sure lanes are clear before changing and leave plenty of time to stop.
  • Avoid using cruise control, which can reduce traction.
  • If you start to skid, don’t slam on the brakes. Continue to look and steer in the direction you want the car to go.
  • Avoid puddles when it’s safe to do so.
  • Always wear your seat belt.
  • Stay alert and minimize distractions. Don’t text, talk on the phone or drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • In snow and ice, try not to stop when heading up a steep hill. After you’ve stopped, applying extra gas to get started again may only spin your wheels. Get some momentum going on a flat road as you approach the hill to help you reach the top, then reduce your speed and drive down the hill slowly.
  • If your visibility is so limited you can’t see in front of you, carefully pull off to the side of the road and stop completely.

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