(Updated at 2:15 p.m.) The recent winter storm may be old news, but after several incidents in recent days drivers still need to be alert for chunks of ice flying off vehicles in front of them.
Arlington resident Meg Miller Rydzewski sent a photo of her husband’s car, which was struck by a chunk of ice that broke off a truck in front of him while driving northbound on I-95.
The ice hit the windshield and caused major damage, but Rydzewski said it could have been much worse.
“It’s estimated that if the force of impact had been 10 to 15 percent more, it would have gone through the windshield and might have killed him,” she wrote. “[It was] sudden and very scary.”
“He did get safely to the side of the highway but couldn’t see where he was going due to the shattered glass,” Rydzewski added. “Thankfully he was not hurt.”
AAA reported that flying ice caused injuries to three vehicle occupants along I-95 and the Beltway in Maryland on Wednesday. Maryland State Police said the victims “suffered eye injuries from spraying glass from windshields broken by ice from other vehicles.”
John Townsend, AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Manager of Public and Government Affairs, said drivers are responsible for clearing snow and ice from their cars before they leave home.
“Snow and ice flying off moving vehicles will cause other drivers to swerve to avoid it, and they can run off the road or swerve into another lane of traffic where other motorists are traveling, causing a deadly domino effect,” he said. “So before leaving your driveway or your curbside parking spot, and before you go, clear every inch of snow and ice accumulated on the exposed surfaces from your vehicle.”
There is no law in Virginia, Maryland or D.C. to punish motorists that do not remove snow from their vehicles before driving, according to AAA.
“A law is needed in Maryland, Virginia and the District to help protect drivers from sheets of snow and ice flying off from vehicles while they are driving down the road,” Townsend said. “After this epic snowstorm, it can be a matter of life or death if drivers fail to remove the snow and ice.”
AAA has a number of tips for people clearing snow from their cars. Drivers should never use hot water to melt ice on their cars, for instance; the organization recommends using de-icer spray for windows and mirrors in combination with a snow brush for the rest of the car. With the snow brush, drivers should work from the top of the vehicle on down, pulling snow towards you.
“It requires less effort and helps you avoid having to clear the same areas twice,” AAA says. “If the vehicle is an SUV or taller — grab a step stool to help access the roof.”
“Just as the removal of snow from sidewalks along your home and business is a responsibility of all citizens, removing snow and ice from vehicles should be the responsibility of every driver before it becomes dislodged while driving down the highways,” Townsend said. “It is the duty and debt we owe one another.”
Photo courtesy Meg Miller Rydzewski
Arlington’s snow removal ordinance requires that sidewalks be shoveled within 24 hours of the end of a snow event with six inches or less of accumulation. As far as the county is concerned, Tuesday’s snowstorm ended at 2 p.m., and thus the sidewalk deadline today is 2 p.m.
If you’ve procrastinated, you might be in for a tough task. Temperatures in the low 20s means that uncleared snow and sleet has turned into a barely penetrable mat of ice.
— Russell Imrie (@tweedyBard) March 15, 2017
Frigid, icy conditions have prompted Arlington Public Schools to open on a two-hour delay today.
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. For updates about Pool Operations, go to www.apsva.us/aquatics. For information about Arlington County operations go to www.arlingtonva.us.
Arlington County government and the federal government, meanwhile, are opening on time. Metrorail and Metrobus, likewise, were operating on a normal weekday schedule as of 5 a.m. Certain Arlington County Parks and Rec programs, however, have been cancelled or delayed.
From the parks department:
- All Congregate Meal Programs are cancelled for the day.
- All Early Childhood Programs (Preschool and Co-op) are cancelled.
- All Enjoy Arlington Classes, 55+ classes, Trips, Nature Center Programs and sports league activities with a scheduled start time prior to 11:59 a.m. today are cancelled in all APS and DPR buildings.
- All Enjoy Arlington Classes, 55+ classes, Trips, Nature Center Programs and sports league activities with a scheduled start time of Noon or later will proceed as scheduled.
- All afternoon and evening Enjoy Arlington Classes, 55+ classes, Trips, Nature Center Programs and sports league activities will proceed as scheduled.
- All community centers and senior centers locations will open on time as scheduled.
In addition to very cold temperatures, a Wind Advisory has been issued for Arlington and the D.C. region. Forecasters are warning of 45-50 mile per hour gusts which could blow down branches, trees and power lines.
From the National Weather Service:
… WIND ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 8 AM THIS MORNING TO 6 PM EDT THIS EVENING… THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON HAS ISSUED A WIND ADVISORY, WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 8 AM THIS MORNING TO 6 PM EDT THIS EVENING. * TIMING… AFTER DAYBREAK THROUGH THIS AFTERNOON. HIGHEST GUSTS EXPECTED LATE THIS MORNING INTO THIS AFTERNOON. * WINDS… NORTHWEST 20 TO 30 MPH WITH GUSTS AROUND 45 TO 50 MPH. * IMPACTS… STRONG WINDS MAY BLOW DOWN LIMBS, TREES, AND POWER LINES. ICE AND SNOW COVERED LIMBS, TREES AND POWER LINES ARE MORE SUSCEPTIBLE TO DAMAGE. SCATTERED POWER OUTAGES ARE EXPECTED. 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. &&
A refreeze overnight will turn what melted following this morning’s snow and sleet storm into a hazard on roads and sidewalks.
Despite efforts to plow and salt the streets, VDOT is warning that barely-visible black ice could cause accidents during the Wednesday morning commute.
Metro, meanwhile, says Metrobuses will start the day on a “moderate” snow service plan due to anticipated slippery conditions. Service will be upgraded “as conditions permit.”
More from VDOT:
Road conditions across northern Virginia are improving as Virginia Department of Transportation crews plowed and treated roads around the clock. This evening though, snow and slush that melted through the day will refreeze.
Overnight, crews will focus on retreating icy areas with salt and sand, clearing shoulders, ramps and drainage areas, and continue to make passes through neighborhood streets as needed.
Drivers should limit any unnecessary travel tonight to avoid black ice, and give crews room to make their rounds. Make plans now for a cautious Wednesday commute.
If you must drive this evening and tomorrow morning:
- Stay focused and drive defensively.
- Reduce speeds significantly. Give yourself more than enough time to get to where you’re going.
- Brake gently to avoid skidding and hydroplaning.
Local roads remain partially snow and slush covered, though traffic is very light. ART buses are operating on a “severe” service schedule, while Metrobuses are operating on a “moderate” snow plan. The Metrorail system is open and operating on a Saturday schedule.
APS announced just after 4 a.m. that it would be closed today.
All APS schools and offices will be closed today. Essential personnel should report to work at their scheduled time. All custodians report at 6 a.m. regardless of your regular shift. 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 programs and operations go to www.arlingtonva.us.
Arlington County announced that it was closed for the day just after 5 a.m.
Arlington County government offices, programs, courts, & facilities are closed today, Tuesday, March 14, 2017. If possible, stay off the roads while snow and ice removal efforts continue throughout the day.
VDOT is asking drivers to stay off the roads if at all possible.
Crews and almost 4,500 pieces of equipment worked through the night and continue to treat roads with salt and sand, and to plow in areas where there is enough accumulation.
Interstates and primary roads have stretches of slush and ice as snow and sleet continue to accumulate between plow passes.
Secondary roads and neighborhood streets remain mostly snow-covered.
HOV restrictions are lifted this morning on I-66, I-395 and the Dulles Toll Road.
Drivers are advised to continue to stay off the roads. If you absolutely must go out this morning, reduce speeds, use extreme caution and be alert to icy and inclement conditions. Road temperatures are expected to remain below freezing all day with potential for continued refreeze.
Virginia State Police say they’re dealing with a number of crashes in Northern Virginia.
Virginia State Police are currently on the scene of 10 traffic crashes throughout Northern Virginia. Only two involve injuries – minor – and the remainder of them involve damage to vehicles. From midnight Tuesday through 7 a.m., Virginia State Police have responded to 15 traffic crashes – all of which involved damage to vehicles only and no injuries.
Motorists are reminded to give extra time for travel, slow their speed for conditions, not to tailgate – to provide additional stopping distance in slick conditions, and to always buckle up.
The federal government, meanwhile, will be opening today on a three-hour delay. From the Office of Personnel Management:
Federal agencies in the Washington, DC area are OPEN under 3 hours DELAYED ARRIVAL and employees have the OPTION FOR UNSCHEDULED LEAVE OR UNSCHEDULED TELEWORK. Employees should plan to arrive for work no more than 3 hours later than they would be expected to arrive.
Icy Saturday Morning — Several crashes were reported around Arlington Saturday as freezing rain turned roads and sidewalks into sheets of ice. The slippery conditions lasted for most of the morning, before a warm-up started melting the ice around lunchtime. [Storify]
Wreaths Laid at ANC — Despite the icy weather, tens of thousands of volunteers helped to lay 245,000 wreaths on grave sites at Arlington National Cemetery Saturday morning. Arlington County Police assisted with crowd control for the annual Christmastime event. [WTOP, The Blaze, Twitter]
Students, School Board Speak Out on Boundary Changes — At last week’s Arlington School Board meeting, students spoke in opposition to high school boundary changes some see as furthering racial segregation. School Board members, however, defended their recent boundary change vote. [Washington Post, InsideNova, YouTube]
Borderstan Closes, Editor Coming to ARLnow — Borderstan, ARLnow.com’s sister site that covers the mid-city neighborhoods of D.C., is shutting down at the end of the week. One of its co-editors, Tim Regan, will be joining the ARLnow team in January. [Borderstan, Washingtonian]
Photo courtesy Becca Collins
Forecasters are warning of a messy mix of wintry precipitation Saturday morning.
A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect starting at midnight tonight.
From the National Weather Service:
WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT TONIGHT TO 9 AM EST SATURDAY… * PRECIPITATION TYPE… SNOW… SLEET AND FREEZING RAIN. * ACCUMULATIONS… SNOW AND SLEET ACCUMULATIONS OF LESS THAN A HALF-INCH… ALONG WITH AROUND A TENTH OF AN INCH OF GLAZE ICE. * TIMING… PERIODS OF SNOW AND SLEET WILL OVERSPREAD THE REGION AFTER MIDNIGHT TONIGHT… THEN CHANGE TO FREEZING RAIN BEFORE DAWN SATURDAY MORNING. FREEZING RAIN WILL CHANGE TO RAIN AROUND MID-MORNING SATURDAY. * IMPACTS… HAZARDOUS TRAVEL IS EXPECTED DUE TO ICY ROADS AND WALKWAYS. * WINDS… SOUTH 10 TO 15 MPH WITH GUSTS UP TO 20 MPH. * TEMPERATURES… IN THE UPPER 20S LATER TONIGHT… RISING INTO THE 30S ON SATURDAY MORNING. 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. &&
Arlington County, meanwhile, says crews will be pre-treating roads ahead of the storm.
— ArlingtonVA (@ArlingtonVA) December 15, 2016
— ArlingtonVA (@ArlingtonVA) December 16, 2016
After a relatively mild afternoon, there’s plenty of water on local roads and sidewalks from melting snow. That meltwater may refreeze as temperatures dip back below freezing tonight, forecasters are warning.
This afternoon the National Weather Service issued the a Special Weather Statement, warning of hazardous conditions overnight.
…ICY PATCHES WILL CREATE HAZARDOUS DRIVING CONDITIONS THIS EVENING…
TEMPERATURES WILL DROP WELL BELOW FREEZING BETWEEN 5 PM AND 8 PM THIS EVENING. THIS WILL CAUSE REFREEZING OF ANY WATER OR SLUSH…CREATING ICY CONDITIONS ON UNTREATED ROADS AND SIDEWALKS.
IF YOU ARE ON THE ROADS THIS EVENING…PLEASE USE EXTRA CAUTION AS ICY SPOTS WILL BE DIFFICULT TO SEE.
“We’ve already responded to several vehicle accidents this morning,” the Arlington County Fire Department said this morning via Twitter. “Please slow down and use caution.”
Among the accidents reported so far this morning are a car that slammed into a tree near the intersection of 14th Street and N. Veitch Street in Courthouse. The driver was “injured and in shock” after the accident, according to a witness. Another accident, in which a car slid and became stuck on the curb, has been reported at 2nd Street and S. Fillmore Street.
Police are considering shutting down the icy, treacherous hilly portion of 14th Street, where the car slid into a tree. N. Courthouse Road has reportedly been shut down at Route 50 due to similar icy conditions, as has 13th Street at N. Troy Street.
“We’re basically coning off the entire Courthouse area,” one police officer was overheard saying. “We’re running low on cones.”
Other reported problem spots include S. Buchanan Street and 9th Street, where several cars have been abandoned, and Wilson Blvd and N. Emerson Street. Even relatively flat portions of main roads are said to be treacherous.
ARLnow.com hears that Arlington is now “out of salt,” after officials said they were running low yesterday evening. We also hear that the county expects a fresh shipment of salt at noon, with the goal of road crews resuming road treatments at 1:00 p.m.
Just after noon, Arlington County confirmed that more salt was on the way.
Arlington County will receive 2,000 additional tons of salt to help in clearing roads of snow and sleet. The first shipment will arrive today. The County previously received a mid-season resupply, but it was not enough due to the severity of this winter and stock supplies from the regional contractor nearing depletion.
Crews have been working around the clock to plow streets and have used salt conservatively, supplementing with sand. The County is currently clearing residential streets and will continue to do so for the remainder of the day and evening.
Residents should continue to expect hazardous travel conditions, particularly on side streets. Stay off the roads if possible. Cyclists should be extra cautious and on the lookout for accumulated sand on the roads.
Those driving aren’t the only ones experiencing travel woes this morning. The Blue, Orange and Silver lines experienced significant delays after an earlier train malfunction that prompted single-tracking between Rosslyn and Foggy Bottom.
The single-tracking has ended, Metro said shortly before 9:00, but residual delays remain. Riders say platforms, particularly at Rosslyn, are crowded.
— George (@georgehartmann) March 6, 2015
After the jump, a warning about icy roads today and later tonight from VDOT.
Photo (top) courtesy @aklake34
(Updated at 9:10 a.m.) Arlington Public Schools announced just before 5:00 a.m. Monday that classes are canceled today.
While students have a day off, school office will open at noon.
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.
The federal government meanwhile, is operating under a two-hour delay. From the Office of Personnel Management:
Federal agencies in the Washington, DC area are OPEN under 2 hours DELAYED ARRIVAL and employees have the OPTION FOR UNSCHEDULED LEAVE OR UNSCHEDULED TELEWORK. Employees should plan to arrive for work no more than 2 hours later than they would be expected to arrive.
Earlier this morning, an Arlington Alert warned of hazardous travel conditions.
Icy conditions and patchy dense fog expected this morning. Ice will persist on untreated surfaces as air temps remain around freezing. Patchy dense fog will combine with residual ice and may result in slick spots. Visibilities may drop to a quarter mile or less at times. Please use extra caution if traveling. Sidewalks may be quite icy and require particular caution.
Some residents said that while roads were okay this morning, sidewalks were particularly slippery.
@ARLnowDOTcom Roads in Pentagon City fine. Sidewalks are ALL sheets of ice. Have to walk in street to get anywhere
— Sara Caitlyn (@Sarandipity885) March 2, 2015
Parents may not being loving the school closure, but some Arlington little leaguers will apparently be living it up today.
— Arlington LL (@ArlingtonLL) March 2, 2015
Drivers and pedestrians alike should be on the lookout for ice this morning as the temperature dips back below freezing.
Forecasters say slippery conditions are likely. From the National Weather Service.
… PATCHES OF ICE RESULTING IN HAZARDOUS TRAVEL POSSIBLE THIS MORNING…
AIR TEMPERATURES WILL FALL BELOW FREEZING THIS MORNING AND CONTINUE DROPPING THROUGHOUT THE DAY. WITH ROAD TEMPERATURES ACROSS MARYLAND AND WEST OF I-81 ALREADY BELOW FREEZING… THIS WILL LEAD TO ANY SNOW AND ICE THAT MELTED YESTERDAY TO REFREEZE ON UNTREATED SURFACES. PLEASE USE EXTRA CAUTION AND GIVE YOURSELF EXTRA TIME TO GET TO YOUR DESTINATION IF TRAVELING TODAY. REDUCE SPEED AND STAY ALERT FOR PATCHES OF ICE AND SLICK ROAD CONDITIONS.
The changing temperatures are also playing havoc with pipes that are exposed to the elements. Several instances of burst pipes have been reported around Arlington this morning.
The freezing and refreezing is also causing some big potholes on local roads, like the one seen below on the 4700 block of Washington Blvd.
— Michael Rosen (@Mike_EDIH) February 23, 2015
Arlington Public Schools are opening on a two hour delay this morning due to concerns about icy conditions.
APS schools and offices will open two hours late today and all schools will end at the normal dismissal time. Essential school employees should report on time. The Extended Day program will also open two hours late. There will be no early release and all morning field trips are canceled. For updates about Pool Operations, go to www.apsva.us/aquatics. For information about Arlington County operations go to www.arlingtonva.us.
Arlington’s STAR paratransit system, meanwhile, is opening at 10:00 a.m. and all rides before that are canceled, except for those that are for dialysis.
So far, few accidents are being reported on the roads around Arlington. The county says it’s treating both main roads and residential area this morning.
The National Weather Service is reporting 0.5-1.7 inches of snow accumulation around Arlington since Sunday night.
Photo courtesy @ezequieeeel
The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for Arlington and much of the D.C. area through 8:00 a.m. Thursday.
Forecasters say freezing drizzle and fog may make for a slippery morning commute.
… WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY NOW IN EFFECT UNTIL 8 AM EST THURSDAY…
* PRECIPITATION TYPE… AREAS OF FREEZING DRIZZLE AND FREEZING FOG.
* ACCUMULATIONS… TRACE AMOUNTS OF ICE.
* TIMING… EARLY THURSDAY MORNING.
* TEMPERATURES… LOWER 30S.
* WINDS… LIGHT AND VARIABLE.
* IMPACTS… ROADS AND SIDEWALKS THAT ARE UNTREATED WILL BECOME SLIPPERY… CAUSING THE POTENTIAL FOR HAZARDOUS TRAVELING CONDITIONS.
WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY MEANS THAT AREAS OF FREEZING FOG WILL CAUSE SLIPPERY CONDITIONS. BE PREPARED FOR SLIPPERY ROADS AND LIMITED VISIBILITIES BELOW ONE-HALF MILE AT TIMES… AND USE CAUTION WHILE DRIVING.
(Updated at 6:05 p.m.) Crews will be out pre-treating major and secondary roads tonight and early tomorrow morning in advance of another winter weather system threatening the area.
Arlington snow crews are already treating primary and secondary roads with brine, according to Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Jessica Baxter, and those efforts will continue tonight. Those efforts will continue throughout the morning if snow begins to fall and accumulate.
The Virginia Department of Transportation, which has jurisdiction over I-66, I-395, Route 50 and Washington Blvd, will also be pre-treating roads starting at 4:00 a.m. tomorrow. VDOT sent out an advisory this afternoon telling motorists to expect a “longer than normal commute.”
Early Tuesday evening, the National Weather Service issued a Winter Weather Advisory.
… WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 4 AM TO NOON EST WEDNESDAY…
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON HAS ISSUED A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY FOR SNOW… WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 4 AM TO NOON EST WEDNESDAY.
* PRECIPITATION TYPE… SNOW.
* ACCUMULATIONS… AROUND ONE INCH.
* TIMING… ONSET AROUND 4 TO 6 AM… CONTINUING INTO THE LATE MORNING HOURS… BEFORE MIXING WITH PERIODS OF SLEET AND DISSIPATING BY EARLY AFTERNOON.
* TEMPERATURES… MIDDLE 20S DURING THE PREDAWN HOURS… INCREASING TO LOW 30S LATER IN THE MORNING.
* WINDS… NORTH AT 5 TO 10 MPH.
* IMPACTS… SNOW WILL LIKELY DEVELOP EARLY IN THE MORNING COMMUTE. THIS COUPLED WITH ROAD AND AIR TEMPERATURES WELL BELOW FREEZING WILL CAUSE ACCUMULATION OF SNOWFALL ON ROADWAYS. THIS WILL RESULT IN HAZARDOUS DRIVING CONDITIONS.
A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY FOR SNOW MEANS THAT PERIODS OF SNOW WILL CAUSE PRIMARILY TRAVEL DIFFICULTIES. BE PREPARED FOR SNOW COVERED ROADS AND LIMITED VISIBILITIES… AND USE CAUTION WHILE DRIVING.
The National Weather Service is warning that falling temperatures overnight may cause Monday’s rain to freeze and become Tuesday morning’s ice.
The refreeze could make the morning commute treacherous. From NWS:
… SUB-FREEZING TEMPERATURES OVERNIGHT WILL CAUSE UNTREATED SURFACES TO RE-FREEZE…
TEMPERATURES WILL BE FALLING STEADILY OVERNIGHT BEHIND A COLD FRONT. OVERNIGHT LOWS ARE EXPECTED TO REACH THE UPPER 20S AND LOWER 30S ACROSS THE REGION BY THE PREDAWN HOURS. A STEADY BREEZE FROM THE NORTH WILL DRY OUT SOME SURFACE AREAS LATE TONIGHT. HOWEVER… ANY STANDING WATER LEFTOVER ON UNTREATED SURFACES IS EXPECTED TO FREEZE.
DRY AND COLD NORTH WINDS WILL REMAIN OVER THE AREA INTO THE MORNING HOURS ON TUESDAY… KEEPING TEMPERATURES NEARLY LOCKED INTO NEAR FREEZING RANGE. BE ALERT FOR THE POSSIBILITY OF PATCHES OF ICE WHILE DRIVING OVERNIGHT AND DURING THE MORNING COMMUTE ON TUESDAY.