(Updated at 5:15 p.m.) A Winter Storm Watch has been issued for the D.C. area as Arlington County crews prepare for several inches of snow.
The storm is expected to start as rain tomorrow, the first day of spring, before transitioning to snow. The National Weather Service noted on its Twitter page that there is “lots of uncertainty” in terms of the type of precipitation.
More from NWS:
…WINTER STORM WATCH IN EFFECT FROM LATE TUESDAY NIGHT THROUGH WEDNESDAY EVENING…
* WHAT…Heavy wet snow possible, with a total wet snow accumulation of 5 inches or more.
* WHERE…Metropolitan Baltimore and Washington areas, as well as the northern and central Shenandoah Valley.
* WHEN…From late Tuesday night through Wednesday evening.
* ADDITIONAL DETAILS…Plan on difficult travel conditions. Significant reductions in visibility are possible.
A Winter Storm Watch means there is potential for significant snow, sleet or ice accumulations that may impact travel. Continue to monitor the latest forecasts.
Via Twitter, the Virginia Department of Transportation said crews will not be pretreating the roads because of the expected rain on Tuesday. An Arlington Department of Environmental Services representative confirmed that the county will not be pretreating for the same reasons, but added that trucks are “ready to treat arterials and any trouble spots should they appear overnight.”
More from VDOT:
The first day of Spring in northern Virginia is forecast to bring snow and sleet and Virginia Department of Transportation crews will be ready. The National Weather Service has already issued a Winter Weather Advisory and Winter Storm Watch for the area. Drivers should continue to monitor the weather and be prepared to stay off the roads if the timing and intensity of this storm impacts rush hours.
Overnight Monday, plow trucks will be staged and ready to treat roads with salt and sand at the beginning of the storm. After two inches have fallen, crews will be able to begin to push snow and/or continuously treat affected areas.
Drivers are asked to:
- Stay closely tuned to weather forecasts (see National Weather Service) throughout the day Tuesday and Wednesday.
- Consider adjusting trips around the forecast for safety.
- Assume any “wet” pavement to be slick. Bridges, ramps, overpasses and lower-volume roads may get slippery first, and even previously treated roads will become slick quickly with the low pavement temperatures.
- Ensure gas and wiper fluid tanks are full, and have a good emergency kit. Here’s how: www.ready.gov/car.
- Be aware that low temperatures will mean continued potential for refreeze and slick road conditions.
Via social media:
NEW: NWS has issued a winter storm watch for most of DC area late Tues night through Wed evening for the * potential * of 5"+ snow. It has also issued a winter weather advisory during the day Tues for our far north & northwest areas due to ice. More info: https://t.co/jwsjk8zUSI pic.twitter.com/8GKJN5QDSA
— Capital Weather Gang (@capitalweather) March 19, 2018
Crew shifts begin around midnight for any potential snow in the area but temperatures are still tricky. Rain will likely be part of the mix so pretreating at this point doesn't do much. At the least, expect a slower morning commute. https://t.co/HdhoMPlr9g #ARLWx pic.twitter.com/0o5KBDze2d
— Arlington DES (@ArlingtonDES) March 19, 2018
Friends– there is uncertainty with the forecast for Tues/Wed, but one thing that is *certain* is the readiness level of our crews. (FYI: very ready!) Pls keep monitoring the weather & check back here for updates. Be safe!
— VDOT Northern VA (@VaDOTNOVA) March 19, 2018
`(Updated at 8:40 a.m.) Very spotty frozen precipitation fell overnight in Arlington, leading to some slick spots but no serious issues.
Concerns about an icy commute, however, led Arlington Public Schools to delay the start of school.
More from APS:
All APS schools and offices will open two hours late today. The Extended Day program will also open two hours late and morning field trips are canceled. Essential employees and food service workers should report to work at their regularly scheduled time. All other employees should report to work two hours past their usual start time.
— Arlington DES (@ArlingtonDES) February 7, 2018
The school system’s decision, in turn, prompted Arlington’s Dept. of Parks and Recreation to also delay or cancel some of its programs.
Due to an Arlington Public School two-hour delayed opening, DPR will proceed as follows:
- All congregate meal programs are cancelled.
- All Early Childhood Programs (Preschool and Co-ops) are cancelled.
- All Enjoy Arlington classes, 55+ classes, trips, nature center programs and sports league activities scheduled to start prior to 11:59 a.m. are cancelled in all buildings.
- All Enjoy Arlington classes, 55+ classes, trips, nature center programs and sports league activities with scheduled start times of NOON or later will proceed as scheduled.
- All evening Enjoy Arlington classes, sports league activities and nature center programs will proceed as scheduled.
- All Community Centers (including the five joint use centers at Langston, TJ, Gunston, Carver and Drew will open on time as schedule.
- APS Pools are open on time.
Arlington County government is expected to open on time.
Other delays and closures of note around the region this morning:
- Federal government: Two hour delay
- Fairfax County Public Schools: Closed
- Loudoun County Public Schools: Closed
- Prince William County Schools: Closed
- Falls Church City Public Schools: Two Hour Delay
- Alexandria City Public Schools: Open on time
- Montgomery County (Md.) Public Schools: Closed
- D.C. Public Schools: Open on time
Wednesday morning’s commute may be icy inside and outside the Beltway, forecasters are warning.
A Winter Weather Advisory will be in effect from 3-10 a.m., with sleet and freezing rain expected to fall in Arlington and much of the D.C. region.
More from the National Weather Service:
…WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 3 AM TO 10 AM EST WEDNESDAY… * WHAT…MIXED PRECIPITATION EXPECTED. A COATING OF SLEET WITH A FEW HUNDREDTHS TO UP TO ONE TENTH OF AN INCH OF ICE IS EXPECTED. THE HIGHEST ICE ACCUMULATIONS WILL BE NORTH AND WEST OF THE CITIES OF WASHINGTON AND BALTIMORE AND NORTH AND WEST OF INTERSTATE 95. * WHERE…THE WASHINGTON AND BALTIMORE METROPOLITAN AREAS AS WELL AS PORTIONS OF THE VIRGINIA PIEDMONT. * WHEN…FROM 3 AM TO 10 AM EST WEDNESDAY. * ADDITIONAL DETAILS…LIGHT SLEET AND FREEZING RAIN WILL OVERSPREAD THE AREA BETWEEN 2 AM AND 5 AM EARLY WEDNESDAY MORNING. PRECIPITATION WILL CHANGE TO RAIN BY 10 AM WEDNESDAY MORNING WITH TEMPERATURES RISING WELL ABOVE FREEZING. THE ICE MAY RESULT IN SLIPPERY CONDITIONS…ESPECIALLY ON ELEVATED SURFACES DURING THE MORNING COMMUTE WEDNESDAY. BE PREPARED FOR REDUCED VISIBILITIES AT TIMES. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY MEANS THAT PERIODS OF SNOW, SLEET OR FREEZING RAIN WILL CAUSE TRAVEL DIFFICULTIES. BE PREPARED FOR 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. &&
Arlington and Virginia Dept. of Transportation crews have been preparing to treat roadways overnight. VDOT issued a press release urging drivers to delay trips in the event of slippery conditions and be extra careful if they must hit road early Wednesday.
The Virginia Department of Transportation is treating roads in advance of a wintry mix forecasted to arrive during the early morning hours Wednesday. Drivers are asked to monitor the weather closely (see National Weather Service forecast), and adjust their trips as needed to avoid driving in icy conditions.
Overnight tonight, crews will load and stage trucks in northern Virginia, ready to treat roads with salt and sand through the the morning as needed.
Drivers are asked to:
- Stay closely tuned to forecasts (see National Weather Service)
- If conditions are icy, delay trips for safety.
- Assume any “wet” pavement to be icy. Bridges, ramps, overpasses and lower-volume roads will freeze first, and even previously treated roads become slick quickly with low pavement temperatures.
- Ensure gas and wiper fluid tanks are full, and have a good emergency kit:www.ready.gov/car.
Some updates via Twitter:
Winter Weather Advisory expanded slightly to include Spotsylvania, Stafford and Charles Counties. Main issue remains glaze ice from freezing rain late tonight and early Wednesday. pic.twitter.com/obm6nQ5AM4
— NWS DC/Baltimore (@NWS_BaltWash) February 7, 2018
9:55p: Temperatures around DC area are generally COLDER than they were expected to be at this time. This might mean conditions are also ICIER in the morning. Please check conditions before heading out in the AM and use caution. More info: https://t.co/26LTmIm5uG pic.twitter.com/sCGN37c2hb
— Capital Weather Gang (@capitalweather) February 7, 2018
Expecting a mix of rain and snow falling on area roads overnight. Rain makes pretreatment tricky – and often a waste. It washes away. So with a messy morning likely, plan to give yourself at least an extra 20-30 minutes to get where you're headed. #ArlWX https://t.co/JnvPU3tlvu pic.twitter.com/OWVolXfuNX
— Arlington DES (@ArlingtonDES) February 6, 2018
The early dismissals did create an early rush hour on local highways, as workers and students headed home, but here in Arlington roads and sidewalks remained passable and largely free of slick spots, despite a wave a sleet earlier this afternoon.
The precipitation is over for now, but more is possible this evening. A re-freeze is also threatening to make tomorrow’s morning commute treacherous.
The following tweets show activity during the two-hour-or-so span from the start of the sleet to the heaviest of the traffic.
Due to inclement weather, Marymount will close at 2 p.m. on Monday, January 8. Shuttle service will run on a regular weekend schedule until 5 p.m.
— Marymount University (@marymountu) January 8, 2018
Trucks throughout the district have begun patrolling and treating roads (where needed). People have also headed home from work early. Factor in extra time to get home and pls be patient.
— VDOT Northern VA (@VaDOTNOVA) January 8, 2018
— Doug Kammerer (@dougkammerer) January 8, 2018
Rain and sleet in Clarendon as well. So far, sidewalks are wet but not slippery. https://t.co/M3NUeIee3f
— Arlington Now (@ARLnowDOTcom) January 8, 2018
Runways remain open for landing/takeoff, and airfield surfaces have been treated in advance of possible freezing rain. Airlines are deicing planes. Expect some flight delays and cancellations. https://t.co/tYs3n9HI8p
— Reagan Airport (@Reagan_Airport) January 8, 2018
Traffic not too bad in Arlington as sleet arrives and workers head home, with the exception of heavy westbound traffic on I-66 pic.twitter.com/Pm16A1ftyV
— Arlington Now (@ARLnowDOTcom) January 8, 2018
For those trying to decide whether to leave now — it might actually be a good idea to just stay and work the day. As sleet exits, temperatures will warm. Refreeze possible later after the sun sets, but evening commute should be okay on treated main roads.
— Capital Weather Gang (@capitalweather) January 8, 2018
Commuters can expect Heavy Traffic conditions/Early Rush Hour due to Weather-Related Advisory/ Early dismissals. Slow Dow and use Caution
— DC Police Traffic (@DCPoliceTraffic) January 8, 2018
Arlington Public Schools will be closing two hours early due to the threat of freezing rain during the evening commute.
More from APS:
All APS schools and offices will close two hours early today. The Extended Day Program will stay open until 4 p.m. Extracurricular activities, interscholastic games, team practices, field trips, adult education classes, and programs in schools and on school grounds are canceled.
APS made the announcement around 10 a.m., as county crews were gearing up to pretreat local roadways.
— Arlington DES (@ArlingtonDES) January 8, 2018
Ice Training for ACFD Water Rescue Team — While you were enjoying your weekend, snug in your warm home amid 10 degree weather, the Arlington County Fire Department’s water rescue team was using a chainsaw to cut holes in the ice on the Potomac and then jumping in. [Washington Post]
Freezing Rain Still Expected Tonight — A Winter Weather Advisory remains in effect tonight, as forecasters expect freezing rain to fall this afternoon and potentially make for a very messy evening commute. [Capital Weather Gang, Twitter]
Civic Federation Seeking County Event Help — The Arlington County Civic Federation is asking county government to help make it more affordable for civic associations to hold events on county property. Currently, there are insurance requirements that eat into civic associations’ meager budgets. [InsideNova]
Metro Proposes Refunds for Delays — “Under the proposal, riders would receive an automatic credit on their SmarTrip card if their trip is delayed by 15 minutes or more. Staff will ask Metro’s board to approve the change this week… The refunds would only be given during the weekday rush period.” [NBC Washington]
Crystal City Startup Scores $3 Million — Stardog Union, a “Enterprise Knowledge Graph startup” based in Crystal City, has added $3 million to its Series A venture funding round. The funding will be used for “marketing, sales and speeding up product development.” [Technically DC]
Notable Local Runner Publishes Novel — “Arlington marathon champion Jay Jacob Wind has published his first novel, a techno-thriller entitled The Man Who Stole the Sun, available now on Amazon Kindle and hand-printed by mail-order. ‘It is the first marathon terror fiction novel, based on the Marine Corps Marathon though Washington, DC, since the very real Boston Marathon bombing nearly five years ago, in April, 2013,’ Wind said.” [PRNewswire]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
County and VDOT crews are already pretreating roads ahead of the potentially snowy and slippery weather.
WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT TONIGHT TO 6 PM EST SATURDAY… THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON HAS ISSUED A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY FOR SNOW… SLEET AND FREEZING RAIN… WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT TONIGHT TO 6 PM EST SATURDAY. * PRECIPITATION TYPE… SNOW… SLEET… AND FREEZING RAIN. * ACCUMULATIONS… SNOW ACCUMULATION OF UP TO 1 INCH… ALONG WITH AROUND A TRACE OF ICE. * TIMING… LATE TONIGHT THROUGH SATURDAY. * IMPACTS… ICY PATCHES ON ROADS AND BRIDGES WILL MAKE TRAVEL DIFFICULT. * WINDS… EAST 5 MPH OR LESS. * TEMPERATURES… IN THE LOWER 30S. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY MEANS THAT PERIODS OF SNOW… SLEET… AND FREEZING RAIN WILL CAUSE TRAVEL DIFFICULTIES. BE PREPARED FOR SLIPPERY ROADS AND LIMITED VISIBILITIES… AND USE CAUTION WHILE DRIVING.
(Update at 2:15 p.m.) Arlington County is preparing for the possibility of snow, sleet and freezing rain on Saturday, though the exact forecast is still far from certain.
“Crews began pretreating roads yesterday and will continue today to prepare for the expected icy weather conditions on the roadways,” Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Katie O’Brien told ARLnow.com Friday morning.
“Due to the low confidence of this forecast, we are still analyzing the level of response that will be required” on Saturday, O’Brien continued. “A determination of resource levels and time of activation will be made this afternoon.”
VDOT, meanwhile, is encouraging drivers to stay off the roads in Northern Virginia on Saturday.
Virginia Department of Transportation and contract crews are preparing for plummeting temperatures and a gamut of winter weather forecast for northern Virginia this weekend, from early Saturday morning through Sunday morning.
Drivers are asked to monitor weather reports for the latest updates to avoid being on the road during periods of limited visibility or icy conditions. Stay off roads Saturday or delay trips until Sunday if possible, to avoid being caught in deteriorating conditions as weather transitions between snow, sleet and freezing rain through the day.
Crews began pretreating roads yesterday and will be staged roadside in the region by 10 p.m. tonight. Throughout Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William and Arlington* counties (*Arlington maintains own secondary roads) crews treat about 5,200 lane miles of interstates and other high-volume roads with liquid magnesium chloride or brine when conditions allow for winter weather. Learn more about northern Virginia’s snow preparations.
Why does VDOT ask drivers to stay home?
- Visibility will be limited during periods of snow.
- Freezing rain causes an ice glaze that is difficult to see. Black ice often looks like pavement that is simply wet, making it extremely hazardous for driving or walking.
- Four-wheel drive vehicles cannot stop any better than two-wheel drive vehicles on ice.
It could be deja vu if the weather does trend toward more freezing rain. Icy weather caused a number of crashes and other problems on the roads in Arlington less than a month ago, on Saturday, Dec. 17.
One day ago, Arlington was a frigid winter wonderland, with several inches of snow on the ground. There were dogs playing and kids sledding during the day, and a dangerous glaze of ice courtesy of freezing rain at night.
Today, as of Tuesday afternoon, the temperature was in the mid-40s, most of the snow and ice is gone or turned to slush, and some blue sky can even be seen outside.
In memory of the short-lived Presidents Day winter blast, here are some photos from our Flickr pool contributors, and some tweets from our Twitter followers.
— Russell Imrie (@tweedyBard) February 15, 2016
— Sarah Schoenfelder (@sarah_sojo) February 15, 2016
— Katie (@KatieKkb) February 16, 2016
— Andrea Wilkinson (@adubyailkinson) February 16, 2016
APS announced the cancellation decision around 4:30 a.m, as most roads and sidewalks were still icy from freezing rain. Fairfax County Public Schools and many other local school systems made the same call, although D.C. Public Schools are only on a two hour delay.
All APS Schools will be closed and offices will open at Noon. Essential personnel should report to work at their scheduled time. Extracurricular activities, interscholastic 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 operations go to www.arlingtonva.us.
As of 7:30 a.m., some streets and sidewalks were still treacherous, even as the freezing rain had changed over to plain rain earlier in the morning. As the temperature quickly warms into the 50s, the slick spots are becoming slushy and then melting completely.
The rain will be heavy at times today and some localized flooding is expected. The National Weather Service has issued.
* THROUGH THIS EVENING
* A LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM WILL MOVE ACROSS THE REGION TODAY. THIS WILL RESULT IN RAIN… WHICH WILL BE HEAVY AT TIMES DURING THE FIRST HALF OF THE DAY. RAINFALL TOTALS ACROSS THE WATCH AREA ARE EXPECTED TO RANGE BETWEEN 0.50 TO 1.0 INCHES ACROSS SOUTHERN MARYLAND TO THE INTERSTATE 95 CORRIDOR TO 1.00 TO 1.50 INCHES WEST OF THE INTERSTATE 95 CORRIDOR. THE HEAVIEST RAINS ARE EXPECTED OVER THE BLUE RIDGE MOUNTAINS AND NORTH CENTRAL AND WESTERN MARYLAND. THIS HEAVY RAINFALL COUPLED WITH SNOW MELT WILL LEAD TO THE POTENTIAL OF SMALL STREAMS AND TRIBUTARIES IN THE WATCH AREA TO OVERFLOW THEIR BANKS.
* SMALL STREAMS AND TRIBUTARIES MAY OVERFLOW THEIR BANKS. ADDITIONALLY… URBAN AREAS PRONE TO POOR DRAINAGE WILL BE SUSCEPTIBLE TO FLOODING. THE TIME FOR THE GREATEST THREAT OF FLOODING WILL BE FROM TUESDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH TUESDAY EVENING.
The federal government is under a three hour delay today, with an unscheduled telework option for employees, the Office of Personnel Management announced. Arlington County government and courts, however, are opening on time, with unscheduled leave and telework options for employees, with a supervisor’s approval.
The county’s Dept. of Parks and Recreation, meanwhile, announced the following cancellations and delays.
- Congregate meal programs located at Arlington Mill, Langston and Walter Reed are canceled.
- All Early Childhood Programs (Preschool and Co-ops) are canceled.
- DPR elementary or teen afterschool programs are canceled.
- All Enjoy Arlington classes, 55+ classes, trips and nature center programs are canceled.
- Sports league activities in APS standalone buildings are canceled.
- Sports league activities in County facilities will proceed as scheduled based on weather conditions and the status of snow removal.
- Gunston Community Center will open at 2 p.m. for normal operating hours.
- Madison Center will open at 5 p.m. for normal operating hours.
- Carver and Drew Community Centers will open at 6 p.m. for normal operating hours.
- All other community centers, including joint use facilities located at Arlington Mill, Carver, Langston and Thomas Jefferson will open at noon.
County and state road crews are working to keep main roads clear as the snow falls today, but VDOT says conditions may get worse tonight when snow changes to sleet and freezing rain.
VDOT is advising drivers to stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary, particularly this afternoon. From a press release:
Virginia Department of Transportation crews continue to plow snow and treat roads across northern Virginia. Drivers are urged to stay home, as snow bursts quickly cover pavement between plow passes, and conditions are likely to deteriorate this afternoon when snow transitions to sleet and freezing rain. Through the evening, pavement temperatures are expected to remain several degrees colder than air temperatures, so that any precipitation will quickly freeze.
Close to 4,000 trucks will remain on duty through the day and overnight.
As Monday holidays tend to be popular travel days, VDOT asks that drivers strongly consider adjusting travel plans to avoid icy conditions.
If travel is absolutely necessary:
- Check www.511virginia.org or the mobile app before leaving for latest road conditions.
- Watch for black ice; brake and accelerate gently.
- Ensure headlights are on, windshield wipers are in good condition and fluid is full.
- Slow down and allow snow crews the right of way.
- Report road hazards or ask questions – 800-FOR-ROAD (800-367-7623) or report a problem.