The impacts from Saturday’s severe storms were so widespread that Arlington County is still assessing damage.
Power has since been restored to the more than 34,000 Dominion customers in the dark after the storms, and the GW Parkway completed its reopening yesterday after crews removed hundreds of fallen and potentially hazardous trees. But other damage to both private and county property is still being addressed in Arlington.
“The storms on Saturday, July 29, caused widespread damage, resulting in power outages (both public and private buildings) and travel disruptions (caused by fallen trees),” Arlington County spokesman Ryan Hudson recounted to ARLnow. “As staff continue to assess damage, it might be some time before the ultimate impact of the storm is known.”
“County crews continue to investigate and address the tickets submitted to the online Request for Service tool,” Hudson said. “Much of the clean-up focuses on debris blocking roadways and waterways, and tree removal.”
The scale of the damage is reminiscent of the 2012 derecho, though the latter was even more widespread. Saturday’s storms concentrated more of the damage near the river and in north-central portions of Arlington, roughly between Route 50 and Langston Blvd, including the Orange Line corridor.
Still, there remains plenty to clean up.
“The Solid Waste Bureau has collected 246 tons of brush so far since Saturday,” Peter Golkin, spokesman for ARLnow’s Dept. of Environmental Services, tells ARLnow. “The average number of scheduled brush pick-ups is about 70 per day out of a max of 150 available. They’ve hit the max for Tuesday, [Wednesday and Thursday].”
Arlington residents can schedule brush pickups online.
Hudson said Arlington’s 911 call center received a total of 1,618 calls for service on Saturday between 5 p.m. and midnight, a 225% spike in call volume. The Arlington County Emergency Communications Center received a peak volumes of nearly 500 calls between 5-6 p.m.
County employees have inspected 16 homes damaged by the storm, by some combination of strong winds and falling trees, branches, and power lines. Of those, four were determined to have major or severe damage, Hudson said.
Arlington’s Dept. of Parks and Recreation has also been busy since the storm, with lots of fallen trees and branches in local parks and along busy trails.
Storm damage closed Rocky Run Park near Courthouse until it reopened yesterday. The storm also damaged power lines at Gulf Branch Nature Center, leading to a power outage and closure today.
Rocky Run is back open for use!
— ARL VA Parks & Rec (@arlparksrec) August 2, 2023
Gulf Branch Nature Center will be closed for the remainder of the day & tomorrow, Thurs., Aug. 3 due to a power outage.
— ARL VA Parks & Rec (@arlparksrec) August 2, 2023
(Updated at 4:05 p.m.) The herculean effort to clean up from Saturday’s storms and restore power to tens of thousands is continuing Monday morning.
The GW Parkway remains closed to most traffic between Spout Run Parkway and the Beltway — and is expected to remain closed until later this week, as crews work to clear a large number of downed trees and branches.
The southbound lanes of Spout Run Parkway, where at least one car was damaged by a fallen tree Saturday, also remain closed.
From a press release issued Monday afternoon:
The George Washington Memorial Parkway is currently experiencing closures due to the aftermath of Saturday’s storm. Crews are diligently working to clear fallen trees from the roadway, and these closures are expected to last for the next few days.
To enhance and expedite the restoration process, George Washington Memorial Parkway has deployed a total of five crews, including its own team, assistance from the National Capital Parks-East (NACE), and three additional emergency contracting crews.
The North Parkway, from Spout Run Parkway to I-495, remains closed, except for the northbound lanes from Route 123 to I-495. Additionally, the southbound lanes of the Spout Run Parkway are also closed.
These closures are necessary to ensure the removal of hazardous trees, including those that have fallen across the roadway and broken limbs that pose a risk to travel lanes. The recovery work is estimated to be completed within three to four days.
Round-the-clock power restoration work whittled down the peak of more than 34,000 without electricity in Arlington — half that of the 2012 derecho — to 3,154 as of 11:15 a.m. Monday, according to Dominion’s website.
The remaining small outages are scattered throughout the county, though most are concentrated in north-central Arlington — between Route 50 and Langston Blvd — including the Orange Line corridor, which was particularly hard hit.
Throughout Northern Virginia, 4,732 Dominion customers remained in the dark this morning, according to the power company. Crews have been working long shifts and overnight to restore power, with much of that effort happening in Arlington.
As of 4 p.m., the outages were down to 2,029 in Arlington and 2,338 throughout Northern Virginia.
So what’s @DominionEnergy doing to get the power back on?
Steve explains much better than me… pic.twitter.com/jDrJfiwOur
— Peggy Fox (@PeggyDomEnergy) July 30, 2023
More storm stories are emerging as the cleanup continues.
In Courthouse, a heavy metal table was blown off a condo patio during the storm’s intense winds and is now stuck high in a tree, above a sidewalk.
“The tree is right across the street from the entrance of the Palatine apartment building,” a tipster told ARLnow on Sunday. By Monday morning, however, the table had been removed by a tree maintenance crew, the tipster said.
Trees came down throughout Arlington, taking down utility lines, blocking roads, and in at least eight known cases falling onto houses. One unlucky family was on their way to Walt Disney World in Orlando when a huge tree smashed into their stately brick house near Lacey Woods Park, we’re told.
For those on the go, it’s not just drivers who have to deal with fallen trees and other debris. A trail cleanup is planned for 5:30 p.m. today on the Mount Vernon Trail near Rosslyn, which “got hit particularly hard,” according to a social media post.
The MVT got hit hard yesterday particularly near @rosslynva. Join us for a post storm cleanup at the southern end of Trollheim Bridge/Bridge 31. We will be removing branches and debris.
— Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail (@MtVernonFriends) July 30, 2023
Additionally, numerous trees are reported to be down on the Custis Trail and at least one park is closed due to storm damage.
“Rocky Run Park is closed for maintenance due to damages caused by the July 29 storms,” said Arlington’s Dept. of Parks and Recreation. “Please do not go onto the park grounds.”
Arlington National Cemetery, meanwhile, is also closed today except for funerals amid widespread tree damage at the nation’s most hallowed ground.
⚠️UPDATE: ANC closed to visitors and pass holders on Monday, July 31 ⚠️
Funerals will still be conducted as scheduled and open to attendees.
Our crew needs a little more time to return ANC to its proper condition before we welcome visitors. We apologize for the inconvenience. pic.twitter.com/3uPTMDjLI5
— Arlington National Cemetery (@ArlingtonNatl) July 30, 2023
More storm damage photos from social media, below.
Following the July 29 storms, there are many downed trees on the County’s trails (like these images from the Custis Trail). We appreciate your patience as crews work to survey and address these areas. Please use caution when using the trails as cleanup will take some time. pic.twitter.com/s8WXxxYIPU
— ARL VA Parks & Rec (@arlparksrec) July 30, 2023
— Elizabeth Hartig Schneider (@Beth867_539) July 30, 2023
— Claudia Bermudez Buttine (@LoBer81) July 30, 2023
— Kymberly Escobar (@kymesco) July 30, 2023
— HennaThis (@HennaThis) July 30, 2023
The cleanup from Saturday’s severe storms is continuing into Sunday.
As of 9 a.m., Dominion is reporting 20,394 customers still without power in Arlington. That’s down from more than 34,000 immediately after the storm. Arlington makes up about two thirds of the 31,603 outages Dominion is reporting across Northern Virginia.
Dominion says it has 170 bucket trucks deployed and is working “as safely and quickly as possible to restore service.” Due to the large volume of trees and utility lines down across the region — particularly in Arlington — Dominion has not yet been able to provide estimates for when power will be restored.
32,443 outages in Northern Va.
Our patrols continue to gather info on outages so we can set ETRs (estimated time of restoration)
170 bucket trucks are headed to damage locations. Our crews will work as safely & quickly as possible to restore service. pic.twitter.com/5NXKuTWa0m
— Peggy Fox (@PeggyDomEnergy) July 30, 2023
Along with power outages, readers have reported Xfinity TV and internet service outages in parts of the county. The trees that brought down power lines also brought down cable lines in many locations.
The GW Parkway remains closed in both directions between the Beltway and Spout Run in Arlington due to a large number of downed trees.
From parkway spokesman Mark Maloy:
Due to the storm that moved through the northern Virginia area on Saturday afternoon, numerous trees fell across the travel lanes of the George Washington Memorial Parkway. Currently, the northern section of the George Washington Memorial Parkway (from Spout Run Parkway to the Capital Beltway) is closed as tree crews work to remove trees from the roadway. This closure will remain in place on Sunday until an assessment has been completed and all hazardous trees removed. There are numerous other trees downed in areas of the George Washington Memorial Parkway and the Clara Barton Parkway and the National Park Service is continuing to assess the damage and clear trees. We encourage drivers to use caution in the area and if they encounter any downed trees on the George Washington Memorial Parkway to call US Park Police at 202-610-7500.
Tree blocking road on GW Parkway north of Spout Run exit. 2 way traffic pic.twitter.com/axkotniAx5
— Holly Joers (@hokiehol) July 29, 2023
Among the more dramatic storm impacts was a large window that blew out of an apartment building in Clarendon amid the damaging wind gusts.
Witnesses tell ARLnow that the window came from the top of The Reserve at Clarendon building along Washington Blvd, between N. Highland and N. Garfield street.
“Windows missing from 11th floor unit at the Reserve, window frames and glass all over Washington Blvd, dented and damaged parked car [with] window frame next to it,” a reader tells ARLnow. “[The damaged] car was parked outside of Clarendon 1021, a block away. Cracked windows in the building where the Clarendon Orange Theory is (across the street from Reserve). Crazy!”
Police closed streets around the building due to the falling glass, though the roads have since reopened.
“At 7:05 p.m., police were dispatched to the 3000 block of Washington Boulevard for the report of two windowpanes that had fallen,” Arlington County police spokeswoman Ashley Savage confirmed to ARLnow. “No injuries were reported and the roads closed in the area have reopened.”
Videos posted online, below, show the intensity of the wind from Saturday’s storms.
Watch: Many #Arlington neighborhoods had an intense 2 or 3 mins during today's storm around 5:00. Watch these 30 secs in Va Square area. More tomorrow. Check the white sign in the median. From #SafetyVid. @capitalweather @dougkammerer @ARLnowDOTcom @StormHour #weather #stormhour pic.twitter.com/i2Z7tlC0Az
— Dave Statter (@STATter911) July 30, 2023
We couldn't be prouder of the @USArmyOldGuard Soldiers who watch over the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Winds reached 60-85 mph in the DC region. This sentinel leans into it and continues marching.
— Arlington National Cemetery (@ArlingtonNatl) July 30, 2023
Update at 11:20 a.m. on 7/31/23 — The number of outages in Arlington is down to 3,154. The GW Parkway remains closed.
Update at 3:45 p.m. — Outages are now down to 14,313. Arlington County, meanwhile, is warning people to stay out of Gulf Branch downstream from Military Road due to sewage in the water from a pump failure.
AVOID Gulf Branch downstream of Military Road through Monday due to wastewater contamination from a failed pump caused by Saturday's storm. Trail access in the area is also temporarily closed until further notice. Seek alternate route. pic.twitter.com/BWZkSDp6ZU
— Arlington Department of Environmental Services (@ArlingtonDES) July 30, 2023
Update at 1:25 p.m. — The number of outages in Arlington has ticked down to 17,811, according to Dominion. The power company is hoping to have power restored to “most customers” later tonight.
Arlington County says the curbside collection of storm debris may take “weeks.”
Outage Update:@DominionEnergy crews are out in force assessing damage, making repairs & working as safely & quickly as possible to restore power.
Most customers will have power restored by 11 p.m.
In some areas with significant damage, restoration will continue into Monday.
— Peggy Fox (@PeggyDomEnergy) July 30, 2023
🍃Curbside debris removal is ongoing and could take weeks; thanks in advance for your patience. https://t.co/GiA5KJ0Itn
📱Find other helpful resources including utilities and weather hotlines: https://t.co/ILmDvfhFmQ
🚨Subscribe to @ArlingtonAlert: https://t.co/p1E9yfEHyq
— Arlington County (@ArlingtonVA) July 30, 2023
Crews are out surveying damage due to yesterday’s storm— prioritizing critical infrastructure. Please use caution when visiting parks and trails and report any downed trees or other maintenance needs through Report a Problem: https://t.co/n8lvg5HltM
— ARL VA Parks & Rec (@arlparksrec) July 30, 2023
Map via Google Maps
The National Landing Business Improvement District and the group Friends of Mount Vernon Trail are teaming up to help maintain the heavily-used trail.
This includes financial support from the BID for supplies and equipment, and a series of Saturday clean-up events through Jan. 22.
“We are really excited to partner with the National Landing BID to achieve our common goal of making the Mount Vernon Trail a safe and pleasant doorway to National Landing,” Judd Isbell, president of the Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail, wrote in a press release. “The BID’s sponsorship of our 2022 trail improvement events is providing vital support to purchase equipment and supplies for our volunteers.”
“We’ve had over 800 volunteers so far in 2021 and there have been times where we’ve had more volunteers than tools at our events,” Isabell added.
The sponsorship will provide resources to “better connect trail users to facilities, events and businesses in National Landing,” the nonprofit organization wrote in a blog post on Friday.
The BID declined to comment on exacts in terms of resources and funding. The sponsorship deal does appear to come with some swag, however.
— Judd Lumberjack (@JuddLumberjack) December 10, 2021
The BID said the partnership will further its mission of making the Crystal City, Pentagon City and Potomac Yard neighborhoods a better place.
“Our wealth of green spaces and access to regional trails like the Mount Vernon Trail which boasts uninterrupted views of the D.C. skyline and stunning nature preserves, is part of what makes National Landing such an active, vibrant community,” National Landing BID president Tracy Sayegh Gabriel said.
The clean-up events began this past Saturday and will continue every week until Jan. 22. Each event will focus on a different section of the trail. For example, on New Year’s Day, volunteers will meet on the trail near the Crystal City Connector to help prune vegetation, cut tree branches, and pick up trash. Volunteers don’t need any special training and all tools will be provided.
There will also be a day of service on Jan. 17, Martin Luther King Day, in Alexandria.
“National Landing’s green spaces and direct access to trails like Mount Vernon are an integral part of our community,” wrote a National Landing BID spokesperson to ARLnow. “The National Landing BID’s mission is to support and complement our community’s exciting transformation, and that involves working with local groups, like the Friends of Mount Vernon Trail, to preserve our natural surroundings for years to come.”
The 18-mile Mount Vernon Trail runs from Mount Vernon in Fairfax County to Roosevelt Island near Rosslyn, passing by Crystal City as it parallels the GW Parkway. The trail is controlled by the National Park Service but volunteers have stepped up to keep it clean and safe for users amid sparse maintenance from the park service.
By Lindsey Wray
Whether you’re spring cleaning or applying the popular KonMari method to your home, think twice before overloading your trash can with unwanted items. Arlington offers lots of options for disposing of things that no longer spark joy, and they have nothing to do with the landfill.
Marie Kondo’s popular KonMari tidying process suggests keeping only items that “spark joy,” as described in her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and in the recent Netflix series, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.
But just because items don’t work for you anymore doesn’t mean you can’t find another use for them somewhere else.
Dispose of cellphones, computers, printers, keyboards, etc., at Arlington’s Environmental Collection and Recycling Event (E-CARE), held twice each year. The next E-CARE is this coming Saturday, May 4, 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. at 1425 N. Quincy Street. The event is free, but there is a charge to recycle televisions and computer monitors.
Rather than taking all of your excess closet items to the Goodwill, consider finding other homes for them — and maybe making a bit of cash in the process. List newer items on Nextdoor to keep them right in your neighborhood, eliminating the cost and environmental impact of shipping. Not up for the hassle of managing the sales yourself? Get a free Clean-Out Kit from the virtual thrift store ThredUp, and mail in gently used items for resale or donation.
If your bookshelves are buckling, find a few books you’re ready to part with and drop them at an Arlington library. Libraries also accept CDs, DVDs, and board games.
Although mixed paper (cardboard, magazines, newspapers, office paper, etc.) is collected in Arlington County’s curbside recycling program, if you’re getting rid of a lot at once, you may want to consider taking a load to a drop-off center. Find these at Quincy Park, N. Quincy Street and Washington Blvd, or Trades Center, 2700 S. Taylor Street.
If your hard-copy files from 10 years ago no longer spark joy, let Arlington shred them for you. The County offers limited paper shredding for residents on the first Saturday of each month at 4300 29th Street S. For the website details and allowable items.
Volunteers with Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment (ACE) will help pick up trash from the stream during the organization’s annual cleanup at Barcroft Park on Saturday, Sept. 17.
Those who sign up for the event will be tasked with removing debris from Barcroft Park and along the banks of Four Mile Run.
The cleanup is being held in conjunction with Clean Virginia Waterways Day and the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup. As part of its collaborative efforts, ACE will collect data on the garbage its volunteers remove from the stream.
“We will submit the data to both groups to contribute to an understanding of how litter is impacting our waterways and the wildlife that depends on our waterways,” said Elenor Hodges, executive director at ACE.
Those interested in helping out should bring along sturdy shoes they don’t mind getting wet, work gloves and a water bottle and wear long pants and sleeves to protect against poison ivy, Hodges said.
The Office of Personnel Management announced Monday night that federal offices would remain closed Tuesday, though “emergency and telework-ready employees required to work must follow their agency’s policies.”
Arlington County government offices, facilities and courts — with the exception of General District Court — are scheduled to reopen at noon on Tuesday.
“Unscheduled leave and telework options are encouraged for County employees, with supervisor’s approval,” the county noted in a press release.
Arlington public libraries will open at noon on Tuesday, but children’s programs are cancelled. Many Arlington parks and recreation programs are also cancelled. Schools remain closed.
Trash and recycling collection, meanwhile, is also still suspended, but may resume on Wednesday.
County snow crews and contractors are continuing to work around the clock to clear snow and ice from local streets.
“County crews are now deep into Phase 3 of snow cleanup operations, focusing on residential streets,” the press release said. “In many areas, crews have had to bring in heavy construction equipment to break through snow/ice banks at the ends of streets so plows can get in.”
“The goal is to get to all neighborhood streets by Tuesday night but it may take until Wednesday, Jan. 27, to reach some sections given the amount of snowfall and related conditions, including buried parked cars,” the press release continues. “County officials are asking residents for continued patience as enormous amounts of snow are removed from roadways and, in many cases, transported miles away.”
The county’s snow removal ordinance remains suspended “because of the massive amounts of snow that fell on area sidewalks.”
“No citations will be issued during the cleanup,” the county said. “However, the goals behind the ordinance remain… so all efforts to clear sidewalks for the community are appreciated.”
Arlington’s Office of Emergency Management warned that an overnight refreeze could make for treacherous driving early Tuesday morning. “Please use extra caution,” OEM urged in an Arlington Alert.
Among the county officials getting back to work on Tuesday will be members of the Arlington County Board.
“The Arlington County Board will convene as scheduled Tuesday, Jan. 26, at 3 p.m.,” said the county press release. “It will defer consideration of both the January Consent and Regular Agendas to the Recessed Meeting now scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 28.”
Photo courtesy James Mahony
Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment are organizing their annual Potomac River watershed cleanup next weekend, and are looking for a few extra pairs of hands.
This is the 27th year of the annual watershed cleanup. It’s coordinated all along the river, from West Virginia to the Chesapeake, by the Alice Ferguson Foundation. Last year, the cleanup day recovered 576,000 pounds of trash at 671 different sites. More than 14,000 volunteers participated.
Arlington’s contingent will meet Saturday, April 11 at 9:00 a.m. at the intersection of N. Glebe Road and Chain Bridge Road. The area is steep and rocky in spots, so ACE advises children younger than 10 years old to be left at home, and children younger than 16 to be accompanied by a parent.
Interested volunteers can sign up here. Next Saturday, they should wear long sleeves and pants, sturdy shoes that can get wet, work gloves, sunscreen and bottled water. All cleanup materials will be provided.
File photo courtesy Rob Laybourn
A week after the powerful storms that left 68,000 Dominion customers in the dark in Arlington, all but four dozen have had their power restored.
As of 2:00 this (Friday) afternoon, 48 Dominion customers were without power. The company says that it expects all known power outages in the area to be restored by later tonight. According to Arlington officials, all county traffic signals are now functioning. Some 96 traffic signals were knocked out by Friday’s storms, largely due to power outages.
In a press release, the county noted that one of Arlington’s most historic trees was a victim of the storms. The Revolutionary War-era Post Oak (pictured), in the Westover area, is set to be cut down due to wind damage.
“On Monday, County crews plan to remove the ancient Post Oak, believed to be the oldest tree in Arlington and perhaps in the Commonwealth, that was severely damaged during the storm,” the county said.
Dominion and Arlington County crews are continuing to clear downed trees, power lines and debris from around the county. As of this afternoon, 10 county roads are still completely blocked. Arlington officials released the following statement about the continued clean-up efforts.
The County’s Dept. of Parks and Recreation continues to clear partially and completely blocked roads of debris and downed trees. Operations have been complicated by piles of debris unavoidably pushed into some roads during clearing operations by County crews, utility companies and residents. The County’s priority, in clearing debris, is to make it possible for residents, emergency equipment and utility companies to use the streets. We also clear County buildings, sidewalks along heavily traveled roads, and “safety zones” around high-use recreational facilities, such as parks. Once all these priorities are met, crews focus on the clean-up phase.
Five Dept. of Parks and Recreation crews continue to work solely on road-clearing operations, and will continue through the weekend. … The County’s Solid Waste Bureau Earth Products Recycling Yard, located at 4300 29th St. S, will be open Saturday, July 7 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. for residents to drop off brush. County crews have collected 768 tons of debris. The County will suspend debris collection on Sunday, to rest crews, some of whom have worked 13 days straight. Cooling centers still available to residents without power.
Even though the vast majority of homes now have power, the county is continuing to advise residents to utilize Arlington’s libraries, community centers, pools and shopping malls in the event that they need to seek relief from this weekend’s expected extreme heat.
New Bikeshare Stations Coming to Pike, Trails — A new “Transit Development Plan” for Capital Bikeshare calls for new stations to be installed along Columbia Pike, in Shirlington, at the Pentagon, at Arlington National Cemetery and along the W&OD and Four Mile Run trails. Installation of most of the planned stations is expected to take place in 2013. [The Wash Cycle]
Southwest Comes to DCA — Southwest Airlines will begin operating its first scheduled service from Reagan National Airport on Sunday (July 8). The airline will be flying between DCA and Austin, Texas. [Sun Gazette]
Media Inquiries Prompt Storm Clean-up Work — In at least two instances, calls from media outlets apparently prompted Dominion and Arlington County to send crews to areas of Arlington where trees and wires had been down for days and residents were growing restless. [Washington Post, WJLA]
Resident Uses Girl Scout Skills to Brave Outages — Arlington resident Mary Bielefield says living in a home without power is sort of like camping. The former Girl Scout has been relying on matches, bags of ice, flashlights and a battery-powered radio. [WUSA 9]
As of 2:30 p.m., Dominion’s outage website showed 1,438 customers without power. That’s down from 3,960 at the same time yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon. Dominion reports it’s on track to have electricity restored to nearly all customers by Friday night.
“In a few instances, work in Northern Virginia may continue into Saturday where there was extreme damage,” said Rodney Blevins, Dominion vice president of Electric Distribution Operations, in a statement.
Arlington County says 11 roads remain blocked by trees and wires, down from 17 yesterday. Workers have collected and processed 646 tons of brush since Saturday. Collection efforts are expected to continue for the next two to three weeks.
Due to the power outages and closures, the Arlington Public Library has adjusted due dates for some users. Any checked out materials that were due back between June 30 and July 4 are now due this Saturday, July 7. Materials with any other due date must be returned at the originally designated time.
Flickr pool photo by ddimick