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Morning Notes

Wreaths being removed from Arlington National Cemetery on Saturday (Photo by Staff Sgt. Priscilla Desormeaux/U.S. Army National Guard)

Beyer Running for Reelection — “U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D) made it official on Monday. He will be running again to represent the Virginia’s 8th Congressional District, according to a statement released Monday. Victoria Virasingh, who launched her campaign back in August, will face Beyer in the Democratic Party Primary on June 21. So far, two GOP candidates have thrown their hats in the ring for the 8th Congressional District seat, Monica Carpio and Heerak Christian Kim.” [Patch]

Fate of Police Auditor Bill Uncertain — “Legislators working on behalf of a request from the Arlington County government are shepherding measures through the General Assembly providing for creation of an independent police auditor for the county… an enabling measure by Sen. Barbara Favola (D-Arlington-Fairfax-Loudoun) cleared the Committee on Local Government 10-5, but passed the state Senate on a slim party-line 21-19 vote. That could spell trouble in the House of Delegates, where Republicans now hold the majority.” [Sun Gazette]

Tires and Rims Stolen in Crystal City — “2100 block of Richmond Highway. At approximately 1:34 p.m. on January 23, police were dispatched to the report of a larceny from auto. Upon arrival, it was determined that between 2:00 p.m. on January 22 and 1:23 p.m. on January 23, the unknown suspect(s) stole tires and rims from four vehicles. There is no suspect(s) description. The investigation is ongoing.” [ACPD]

Rainy Snow Day Was Forecast Failure — “It wasn’t quite a mea culpa, and there was a lot of shade cast in other directions, but Superintendent Francisco Durán kinda, sorta intimated that school officials blew the call in closing schools on Jan. 20 for what turned out to be… rain. ‘This one was very difficult,’ Dúran told School Board members at their meeting later that night. ‘The forecast we had… did not pan out as expected from what we received from our local weather and national weather sources.'” [Sun Gazette]

It’s Tuesday — Today will be mostly cloudy, with a high near 44 and wind gusts as high as 22 mph. Sunrise at 7:19 a.m. and sunset at 5:22 p.m. Tomorrow will be sunny, with a high near 30 and wind gusts as high as 18 mph. [Weather.gov]

Photo by Staff Sgt. Priscilla Desormeaux/U.S. Army National Guard

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This week was yet another filled with plenty of news about snow, but unlike previous January weeks not a lot of actual snow.

Using its last traditional snow day allotment, Arlington Public Schools closed Thursday for what turned out to be a bust — a rainy, cold day. Lucky for students looking to enjoy the weather when school’s closed, this weekend should at least be sunny, albeit a little cold, in Arlington.

Now, here are the most-read Arlington articles of the past week.

  1. Feds release new details about Jan. 6 weapons cache at Arlington hotel
  2. JUST IN: Winter Weather Advisory issued ahead of Thursday morning snow
  3. BREAKING: APS closes schools Thursday due to expected snow
  4. Morning Poll: Should APS continue to require masks in schools?
  5. The shift from rain to snow delayed in Arlington, NWS decreases possible accumulation
  6. Guaranteed income pilot program moves forward without any county funding
  7. NEW: Covid cases falling in Arlington, following regional trends
  8. Winter Restaurant Week to feature 18 Arlington restaurants
  9. ‘Old Lee Highway’ gets new name: Cherry Hill Road
  10. JUST IN: APS says masks still required for students, despite Youngkin’s order

Feel free to discuss those stories or anything else of local interest in the comments. Have a great weekend!

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Arlington school bus on a snowy morning

Arlington Public Schools and offices will be closed Thursday due to the expected snow and messy commute.

“Extracurricular activities, games, team practices, field trips, adult education classes, and programs in schools and on school grounds are canceled,” the school system announced today (Wednesday).

The National Weather Service issued a Winter Weather Advisory between 6 a.m. and 1 p.m., predicting there could be an accumulation of up to 2 inches.

The Capital Weather Gang says the timing could lead to a bad morning commute.

In November, APS modified its snow procedures to include six traditional snow days, and when all those are used, it is expected to revert to virtual days. At the beginning of January, students were set to return to classrooms from winter break but got an additional week off school due to snow — using all but one of the traditional snow days.

Superintendent Francisco Durán sent an update to the school system Wednesday before the closure announcement, stating staff are preparing for how teachers and students can transition to synchronous, virtual learning on future inclement weather days. He said he would share a full plan on virtual learning in his Wednesday, Jan. 26 message and recommended several ways children can be ready for virtual learning.

“Remind your student(s) to bring their devices and charging cords home daily in preparation for a closure due to inclement weather. Teachers will also remind students,” he wrote. “Notify your child’s teacher if your child does not have access to reliable internet so that the school can help connect you to this resource. More information is available online.”

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A snow plow driving down Columbia Pike (staff photo by Matt Blitz)

The National Weather Service issued a Winter Weather Advisory for Thursday morning, saying it expects between up to 2 inches of snow.

The advisory is set for between 6 a.m. and 1 p.m. NWS forecasts rain and snow before noon, followed by a chance of snow between noon and 3 p.m. as temperatures fall to around 30 by 5 p.m.

The snowfall could bring closures, as Fairfax County schools already announced a virtual learning day.

The Capital Weather Gang says the timing of the expected snow could lead to a bad morning commute.

“As a strong cold front pushes south, rain will change to snow, which could be heavy for a time between about 7 and 10 a.m.,” according to the Capital Weather Gang. “It will probably too warm for the snow to stick at first. But, as temperatures fall, slick spots could develop, especially in our colder areas north and west of the Beltway.”

See the full advisory below.

…WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 6 AM TO 1 PM EST
THURSDAY…

* WHAT…Snow. Snow accumulations of up to two inches with locally
higher amounts around three inches possible.

* WHERE…The District of Columbia, portions of central, northern
and southern Maryland, and central and northern Virginia.

* WHEN…From 6 AM to 1 PM EST Thursday.

* IMPACTS…Plan on slippery road conditions. The hazardous
conditions will impact the morning commute.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS…Precipitation will start as rain and then
switch over to snow during the Thursday morning commute.
Instructions: Slow down and use caution while traveling. When venturing outside, watch your first few steps taken on steps, sidewalks, and driveways, which could be icy and slippery, increasing your risk of a fall and injury.
Target Area:
Arlington, Falls Church, Alexandria
Fairfax
Prince William, Manassas, Manassas Park
Southern Fauquier
Spotsylvania
Stafford

 

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Washington-Liberty High School in the snow (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Your kids and your trash will be staying at home until next week.

Arlington Public Schools just announced that it will be closed for the fifth school day in a row, in anticipation of 2-4 inches of snow overnight. Students have not been in class since before the winter break.

More from APS:

Due to the winter weather advisory issued for Arlington, all schools and offices will be closed on Friday, January 7, 2022. Unless otherwise directed by their supervisors, maintenance staff should report to work at their scheduled time, and all custodians should report to work at 6 a.m. Extracurricular activities, games, team practices, field trips, adult education classes, and programs in schools and on school grounds are canceled. For updates about Pool Operations, go to www.apsva.us/aquatics. For information about Arlington County programs and operations go to www.arlingtonva.us.

The announcement follows closure announcements from Fairfax County Public Schools at 4 p.m. and Alexandria City Public Schools at 5 p.m.

Schools are not the only local closure of note tomorrow. Arlington County has already cancelled curbside trash and recycling collection.

Friday will be the third collection day this week — in addition to Monday and Tuesday — to be cancelled. Residents whose trash was not collected this week will have to wait until their next scheduled collection date next week.

In other words, prepare to see trash piling up in roughly three-fifths of Arlington’s single-family-home neighborhoods.

The special Christmas tree pickup, meanwhile, has been delayed by a week and is now set to start on Monday. From Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services:

Curbside recycling/trash/organics collection is cancelled for Friday, Jan. 7 due to the expected overnight storm.

There will be no make-up collection days for this week.

Weather- and safety-permitting, curbside collections will resume Jan. 10 with regular Monday routes plus special Christmas tree collection. Free paper shredding and inert material drop-off scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 8 at the Trades Center has been postponed until Saturday, Jan. 15.

After being short-handed for Monday’s winter storm, Arlington snow crews are now working to pre-treat roads and prepare for tonight’s snowfall. About 2-4 inches of accumulation are expected, though the forecast has been trending toward the lower half of that range.

Arlington and much of the D.C. area is under a Winter Weather Advisory starting at 9 p.m. From the National Weather Service:

328 PM EST Thu Jan 6 2022

…WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY NOW IN EFFECT FROM 9 PM THIS EVENING TO 7 AM EST FRIDAY…

* WHAT…Snow accumulations of 2 to 4 inches.

* WHERE…The Washington and Baltimore Metropolitan areas, portions of central and southern Maryland, and portions northern Virginia.

* WHEN…From 9 PM this evening to 7 AM EST Friday.

* IMPACTS…Plan on slippery road conditions. The hazardous conditions could impact the morning commute.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS…The heaviest snow is expected overnight when snowfall rates of 1 inch per hour are possible. Visibility will be reduced to near or less than one-half mile.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

Slow down and use caution while traveling.

When venturing outside, watch your first few steps taken on steps, sidewalks, and driveways, which could be icy and slippery, increasing your risk of a fall and injury.

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Crossing the street at Washington Blvd. and George Mason Dr. after the snow (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

(Updated at 8:55 p.m.) Arlington Public Schools will be closed tomorrow because, according to APS, other school systems are also closed.

In an email to families, APS said that local streets are clear of snow and school could open, but the already-announced closure of other Northern Virginia school systems — like Fairfax County, Alexandria and Prince William County — would have an impact on staffing.

Thursday’s closure could mean an entire week of snow days for students and beleaguered parents, immediately following the winter break. Forecasters say 2-4 inches of snow is expected Thursday night and Friday morning, which will likely result in more closures.

More from APS:

All APS schools and offices will be closed on Thu, Jan. 6. The primary and neighborhood roads in Arlington are clear and our schools are ready; however, due to the closure of most neighboring school divisions and the impact of those closures on our staffing, APS will also be closed on Thu, Jan. 6, 2022.

Unless otherwise directed by their supervisors, custodial and maintenance staff should report to work at their scheduled time. Extracurricular activities, games, team practices, field trips, adult education classes, and programs in schools and on school grounds are canceled. For updates about Pool Operations, go to www.apsva.us/aquatics. For information about Arlington County programs and operations go to www.arlingtonva.us.

Earlier today, around 4:45 p.m., APS announced via social media that it would be back open Thursday. After tonight’s announcement it apologized for jumping the gun.

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Snowy Clarendon on Monday (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

For the third day in a row, Arlington Public Schools students — and those that follow APS closures, like local preschools — will get another snow day.

The school system announced the closure shortly after 5 p.m., with the possibility of freezing rain in the forecast and with many neighborhood streets still covered in snow and ice.

From APS:

Due to current neighborhood road and sidewalk conditions, all schools and offices will be closed on Wed, January 5, 2022. APS is working with Arlington County to clear all roads as quickly as possible, and while most primary and secondary roads are clear, many neighborhood roads have not been plowed and are not passable by buses. Many sidewalks are still not safe for pedestrians. Crews are working extended shifts, with limited staffing available, to clear all roadways as quickly as possible.

Unless otherwise directed by their supervisors, custodial and maintenance staff should report to work at their scheduled time, and all custodians should report to work at 6 a.m. Extracurricular activities, games, team practices, field trips, adult education classes, and programs in schools and on school grounds are canceled. For updates about Pool Operations, go to www.apsva.us/aquatics. For information about Arlington County programs and operations go to www.arlingtonva.us.

Fairfax County, Alexandria, Prince William County and other public school systems have also already announced closures for Wednesday.

Arlington County’s snow plow map shows that only a portion of local roads have been cleared as of Tuesday evening. Many haven’t seen a single plow since the start of Monday’s winter storm. (The county prioritizes primary and secondary roads as part of its snow removal plan.)

“Hours of sun and temps above freezing today helped crews with the storm cleanup but work will continue on refreezing roads into the morning,” Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services tweeted tonight. “Avoid unnecessary travel, giving plows the needed space and time.”

Previously, the county said its plow crews were experiencing staffing shortages due to Covid cases.

Arlington snow plow map as of 6 p.m. on Tuesday. Uncleared streets are in red. (via Arlington County)
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For the first time in nearly three years, Arlington experienced a significant snowfall.

Starting very early yesterday morning and finally tapering off in afternoon, preliminary estimates suggest that the county got close to seven inches of snow.

The storm brought power outages, closures, the suspension of bus service, cancellation of trash pick-up, and numerous skidding cars.

It was a very bad day to be on the roads, with the Arlington and VDOT crews unable to pre-treat the streets because the storm started off as rain.

As of Tuesday morning, Arlington County snow crews — their ranks thinned by Covid absences — were tackling neighborhood streets after spending most of Monday treating and clearing main roads.

Despite the challenges, with everything that the region has been dealing with lately, the snow also brought a considerable amount of joy to some.

“I love it,” Javed Malik told ARLnow, peering up at the falling flakes at Penrose Square. “It’s a beautiful, gorgeous day.”

In Ballston, kids and adults alike were spotted pulling sleds to the nearest hill. Pedestrians were reclaiming the covered streets as their own, snapping selfies and looking up at the snowy sky.

Persi George, from California, had never seen anything like it in person before.

“I’ve seen it before in the movies,” she said with a laugh standing in front of her apartment building along Columbia Pike. It’s a little softer than she expected, but that doesn’t dampen her enthusiasm as she prepares to make her first snow angel. “I’m in love with it.”

Yesterday was also set to be the first day back to school after the long holiday break with Arlington Public Schools continuing to commit to in-person instruction. That didn’t happen because the storm cancelled classes across Arlington and the region. School is cancelled today, too, with an expected refreezing overnight.

At least one teacher is breathing a sigh of relief. With Covid cases on the rise, likely due to holiday gatherings, the two extra days off provides more time for students to get tested.

“This couldn’t have been more well-timed. Coming back from the break, we are all worried about the rising case numbers,” Arlington high school teacher Josh Folb told ARLnow. “Hopefully, this gives people more time to get tested and… isolate, if needed. I haven’t talked to a teacher yet, and I’ve talked to a lot today, that isn’t grateful [about the snow days].”

There remains a chance it will snow again this week, Thursday night to Friday morning, though it’s not expected to dump as much snow as Monday’s storm.

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Snow in Westover (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

(Updated at 3:30 p.m.) Students at Arlington public schools will have another snow day on Tuesday.

School was also cancelled today, which would have been the first day back from the winter break, due to the winter storm. Unlike students in Alexandria, Arlington students are so far not being required to attend virtual classes.

More from Arlington Public Schools:

All APS schools and offices will be closed Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022. Both in-person and Virtual Learning Program classes are canceled. Unless otherwise directed by their supervisors, custodial and maintenance staff should report to work at their scheduled time, and all custodians should report to work at 6 a.m. Extracurricular activities, games, team practices, field trips, adult education classes, and programs in schools and on school grounds are canceled. For updates about Pool Operations, go to www.apsva.us/aquatics. For information about Arlington County programs and operations go to www.arlingtonva.us.

An expected refreeze overnight could make for hazardous driving conditions. Plow crews in Arlington continue to work to clear snow from local roads, focusing for now on primary and secondary roads while neighborhood streets remain snow-covered.

APS joins Fairfax County, Prince William County and a number of other major D.C. public school systems in announcing Tuesday closures this afternoon. In Alexandria, schools will be closed but the district will again be providing virtual classes.

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Morning Notes

Air Force Memorial on a snowy night (Flickr pool photo by Nathan Jones)

Local Closures Due to Winter Storm — In addition to Arlington Public Schools being closed due to today’s winter storm, Arlington County government has shifted to virtual operations, recreation centers and libraries are closed, and ART buses are operating on a severe service plan.

Federal Offices Are Closed, Too — From the U.S. Office of Personnel Management: “Federal offices in the DC area are CLOSED. Emergency and telework-ready employees must follow their agency’s policies.” [Twitter]

Metro on ‘Severe Snow Service Plan’ — “Metrobus will operate on a severe snow service plan [on] Monday, January 3. Bus service will be limited to major roads only. Delays and increased wait times are likely, and travel is strongly discouraged unless absolutely necessary.  Customers traveling when a severe snow service plan is in place should be aware that Metrobus may have to suspend all service if road and weather conditions worsen and travel becomes unsafe. Consider Metrorail as an alternative when possible.  No weather-related impacts to Metrorail are anticipated at this time.”  [WMATA]

ACFD Asks for Help With Hydrants — “Ahead of our first anticipated snowfall of 2022 (didn’t take long) we are asking for your help this season to keep fire hydrants clear. When seconds count, having a clear hydrant allows our firefighters to quickly get additional water to the scene.” [Twitter]

Big Response to NYE Chain Bridge Standoff — From Alan Henney, early Saturday morning: “Person threatening to jump from bridge being held by father. Lots of police, fire and EMS on scene, boats and Eagle helicopter. Negotiations in progress… update: The person threatening to jump is safely in custody. Bridge should be reopened to traffic.” [Twitter, Twitter]

Amazon Building New Tech Team at HQ2 — “Amazon.com Inc. is recruiting a new software and tech development team to its second headquarters to flesh out the technical backbone for its global delivery operations. The new team, dubbed Project Nazaré, will build systems to manage the financial processes for Amazon’s Global Engineering Service, which oversees its global network of fulfillment-related facilities, according to a job posting for the team’s senior product manager, set to be based in the company’s HQ2 campus in Arlington.” [Washington Business Journal]

Barcroft Apartment Purchase Complete — “Jair Lynch Real Estate Partners, a leading owner and developer of mixed-use properties and attainable housing in the DC metro area, today announced the acquisition of Barcroft Apartments, the 1,334-unit, garden style apartment complex located along Columbia Pike in Arlington, VA. Jair Lynch purchased the 60-acre site, including two commercial parcels with 34,000 square feet of retail from the DeLashmutt family who built the complex in 1939 and have owned it since.” [PRNewswire]

It’s 2022 — The first weekday of the new year will also be first snow day of the season. The storm, which started out as rain, will transition to snow, possibly mixed with sleet after 5 a.m. Low around 30. Any mixed precipitation should become all snow after 7 a.m. The snow could be heavy at times, before tapering off in the late morning to afternoon. High near 35, with a north wind 10 to 14 mph, and gusts as high as 28 mph. Snow and sleet accumulation of 3 to 7 inches is expected today. Sunrise at 7:27 a.m. and sunset at 4:58 p.m. Tomorrow it will be sunny, with a high near 37. [Weather.gov]

Flickr pool photo by Nathan Jones

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Arlington school bus on a snowy morning

Arlington Public Schools will be capping the number of traditional “snow days” students get this winter.

Once the school system calls six snow days, APS will revert to remote learning for students who are attending school in-person this year.

“We have updated our winter weather procedures, including a return to traditional snow days and a code system,” Superintendent Francisco Durán said in a School Talk email sent last Wednesday. “The first six inclement weather days will be treated as traditional ‘snow days.’ These six days may occur consecutively as part of a single major event or at different times during isolated weather events.”

Starting with the seventh snow day, APS will call distance-learning days so that learning can continue and to avoid scheduling makeup days.

“APS will announce decisions impacting the following day by 6 p.m. whenever possible,” Durán said. “Morning decisions will be announced by 5 a.m., as needed, based on conditions overnight.”

He encouraged families to update their emergency contacts and have a plan in place for snow days.

APS also reintroduced the five weather codes, which each signify a different level of closures depending on the severity of the weather:

  • Code 1: All Schools and Offices Closed
  • Code 2: Two Hour Delay
  • Code 3: Early Release
  • Code 4: After School Activities Canceled
  • Code 5: Weekend Activities Canceled
Winter weather procedures (via APS)
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