Arlington, VA

(Updated at 10:20 p.m.) Arlington Public Schools will open on a two hour delay Wednesday, following today’s snowfall.

Officials hope the delay will allow slick spots on roads and sidewalks, from an expected refreeze overnight, to start to melt.

APS announced the delay at 8:45 p.m. Tuesday night, noting that morning field trips will be cancelled.

Arlington officials and forecasters are continuing to warn that temperatures will likely dip below freezing overnight, producing black ice and making driving dangerous.

Snow crews “will be on standby” to treat any problem spots, Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services said.

The National Weather Service says it will be breezy and cold Wednesday, with wind gusts up to 35-45 mph.

Also tonight, Arlington’s Dept. of Parks and Recreation announced changes with its programs Wednesday.

Arlington Public Schools have announced a two hour delay Wed., Jan. 8 so DPR will proceed as follows per the DPR Inclement Weather Policy:

  • All congregate meal programs will begin at 10 a.m.
  • All Early Childhood Programs (Preschool and Co-op) will begin at 10 a.m.
  • All Enjoy Arlington classes (except for Gymnastics), 55+ classes and trips, nature center programs, sports activities, leagues and instructional programs in County and joint use facilities scheduled to start prior to 9:59 a.m. are cancelled.
  • All Enjoy Arlington classes (except for Gymnastic), 55+ classes and trips, nature center programs, sports activities, leagues and instructional programs in County and joint use facilities scheduled to start at 10 a.m. or later will proceed as scheduled.
  • Gymnastic Classes scheduled to start prior to 11:59 a.m. are cancelled.
  • Gymnastic Classes scheduled to start at noon or later will proceed as scheduled.
  • All community centers (including the five joint use centers located at Carver, Drew, Gunston, Langston and TJ) will open as scheduled.
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(Updated at 8:15 a.m.) Arlington public schools are opening on a two-hour delay Wednesday, due to expected icy conditions.

APS announced the delay Tuesday night “based on the current weather forecast and conditions,” leaving open the possibility that worse-than-expected road conditions Wednesday could prompt a cancellation. Fairfax County Public Schools announced earlier that its schools would be closed tomorrow.

Wednesday morning, APS affirmed the two-hour delay decision.

The federal government, meanwhile, will open on a three-hour delay.

Authorities are asking anyone driving overnight and in the morning to take extra precautions due to the likelihood of dropping temperatures turning wet roads into icy hazards. Around Arlington Wednesday, there were some reports of black ice, particularly on local roads.

“VDOT asks that drivers be aware of weather and road conditions prior to making decisions to travel tonight and Wednesday morning,” said VDOT’s Northern Virginia office, in a press release. “Plan for the potential need to delay commutes Wednesday morning, as low temperatures overnight will freeze precipitation and create potential hazardous conditions.”

At least one significant crash was reported Tuesday night — a multi-vehicle wreck on I-395 near the Pentagon — but it’s unclear if weather was a factor.

As if the deep freeze wasn’t bad enough, the National Weather Service issued a Wind Advisory Tuesday night.

…WIND ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 9 AM TO 6 PM EST WEDNESDAY…

The National Weather Service in Baltimore MD/Washington has issued a Wind Advisory, which is in effect from 9 AM to 6 PM EST Wednesday.

* TIMING…Mid-morning through late afternoon Wednesday.

* WINDS…West 20 to 30 mph with gusts up to 50 mph.

* IMPACTS…Strong winds may blow down limbs, trees, and power lines. 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.

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Rain will turn to snow Tuesday afternoon, just in time to potentially cause problems for the drive home.

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory ahead of the wintry precipitation, warning of “hazardous conditions” during the evening commute. The snow will be followed by plummeting temperatures that will turn wet spots into icy patches for the Wednesday morning commute.

More from the National Weather Service:

…WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 3 PM TUESDAY TO MIDNIGHT EST TUESDAY NIGHT… * WHAT…ANY RAIN WILL CHANGE TO SNOW DURING THE LATE AFTERNOON AND EARLY EVENING HOURS. TOTAL SNOW ACCUMULATIONS OF 1 TO 2 INCHES EXPECTED. * WHERE…THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, AND PORTIONS OF CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN MARYLAND AND CENTRAL AND NORTHERN VIRGINIA. * WHEN…FROM 3 PM TUESDAY TO MIDNIGHT EST TUESDAY NIGHT. * ADDITIONAL DETAILS…PLAN ON SLIPPERY ROAD CONDITIONS. THE HAZARDOUS CONDITIONS WILL IMPACT THE EVENING COMMUTE. TEMPERATURES WILL FALL BELOW FREEZING DURING THE EVENING, CAUSING ANY MOISTURE OR SLUSH TO FREEZE ON UNTREATED SURFACES. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY FOR SNOW MEANS PERIODS OF SNOW WILL CAUSE PRIMARILY TRAVEL DIFFICULTIES. EXPECT SNOW COVERED ROADS AND LIMITED VISIBILITIES, AND USE CAUTION WHILE DRIVING. THE LATEST ROAD CONDITIONS FOR THE STATE YOU ARE CALLING FROM CAN BE OBTAINED BY CALLING 5 1 1. &&

More from VDOT and Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services:

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Morning Notes

Housing and the County Budget — A new Greater Greater Washington article explores ways to add new housing at a time when Arlington County is facing a serious budget gap. [GGW]

Trails Treacherous for Cyclists — Despite efforts to plow local trails, many stretches in Arlington were still icy or snow-covered yesterday. [Twitter]

Police Warn About Phone Scam — “The Arlington County Police Department is warning the public about a fundraising phone scam targeting County residents. Residents have contacted the police department after receiving unsolicited phone calls from individual(s) claiming to be with the Arlington County Police Department and requesting donations to benefit the disabled and underprivileged children.” [Arlington County]

Fraser Among Those Called By Scammers — Arlington resident and local media personality Sarah Fraser was among those to be called by the scammers posing as ACPD. [Twitter]

A Modest Proposal for Stop Signs — “Close observation of local driving practices confirms the view that stop signs have become irrelevant, since no one obeys them. The closest drivers come is to slow and then slide through the intersection. It would be a cost-saving measure if Arlington County were to remove all its stop signs and replace them with ‘Yield’ signs.” [InsideNova]

Va. 8th District Has Most Federal Workers — “The House member with the most federal workers in his or her district is Democratic Rep. Don Beyer, whose Virginia district includes 86,900 federal workers. (Among districts with no military bases, Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly’s neighboring Virginia district has the highest number of federal workers.)” [Pew Research h/t Patricia Sullivan]

Stuck School Bus in Maywood — “#ArlingtonVA school bus stuck this am on N Fillmore St & 23rd St. N 3 days *AFTER* the snow! This hill on Fillmore is NEVER timely plowed or cleared. Do not put children at risk! Can @ArlingtonVA please clear this street.” [Twitter]

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Morning Notes

Icy Conditions on N. Glebe Road — The northbound lanes of N. Glebe Road are closed at Military Road “for an unknown amount of time” due to icy conditions. [Twitter]

County Board Member is Pregnant — Arlington County Board Chair Katie Cristol and her husband Steve are expecting their first child in May. [Twitter]

Long-Time APS Employee Dies — Charles Weber, a World War II veteran who “worked for Arlington County Public Schools for thirty-seven years and served as Principal of Swanson Junior High School and Stratford Junior High School,” has died at the age of 91. [Dignity Memorial]

Scooter Trips > Bikeshare Trips — “In October, when Arlington, Va.’s scooter pilot began, there were 69,189 Bird and Lime scooter trips for 75,425 total miles traveled with Bird and Lime. Meanwhile, Capital Bikeshare – routinely and still considered a success, with lots more potential – had 26,532 total trips in Arlington in October.” [Mobility Labs, Twitter]

Growing Number of $200K+ Earners in Arlington — “If there’s one place in America that doesn’t need a helping hand from Jeff Bezos, it could be [Arlington and the D.C. suburbs]. The Washington commuter area is home to four of the top 10 (Nos. 2, 3, 5 and 6) fastest-growing census tracts of high earners.” [Bloomberg]

Conspiracy Theorists Eye Cemetery — “QAnon believers have become convinced the deep-state cabal has a bunker under Arlington Cemetery, connected to a tunnel running straight to Comet Ping Pong.” [Twitter]

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Some Yorktown residents say their neighborhood has become an icy mess at times over the last few weeks — and they believe a newly installed speed bump is to blame.

County officials still aren’t sure of the exact problem on the road, but they aren’t willing to blame the speed bump quite yet. Regardless of the exact source of the issue, people living along 26th Street N. as it runs between N. George Mason Drive and N. Glebe Road, say they’re desperate for a solution.

“We have had to have the county send salt trucks twice since [last] Friday to specifically address the road downhill from the speed bump,” David Miller, who lives along the 4900 block of 26th Street N., told ARLnow via email. “We expect this will be worse as we have more days below 32 degrees. We have not seen any accidents yet as a result of the ice/water, but have had our own cars slide while coming out of our driveway, so we fully expect it is only a matter of time.”

Miller says the road first started getting soaked with water about six months ago, the day after the county removed a speed bump from the area. Accordingly, neighbors can’t help but draw a connection between the two events.

However, he says the issue wasn’t serious until about six weeks ago, when the county installed a new speed bump and temperatures started to dip, leading residents to inform county officials about the problem. Everyone living in the area is convinced this is due to a leak of some kind, Miller said, but the county hasn’t come to a definitive conclusion just yet.

Katie O’Brien, a spokeswoman for the county’s Department of Environmental Services, says workers are indeed “actively investigating” what’s going on in the neighborhood. She says county staff “have been unable to identify a leak” thus far, making it possible that there are other factors at play in the area.

“Due to the record amount of rain we have received this year, there are a number of locations throughout the county that are supersaturated and the standing ground water may give off the appearance of a water main leak,” O’Brien wrote in an email. “We are also monitoring these locations as a precaution.”

Miller does give the county credit for its responsiveness to the issue, but remains frustrated that the problem is still unsolved all these weeks later. With temperatures continuing to plummet, he fears what will happen if the county still can’t find a fix in the coming months.

“Everyone on the street is concerned for the danger that the ice is creating,” he said.

Photo courtesy of David Miller

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

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

More from an NWS Special Weather Statement:

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

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Morning Notes

APS on Two Hour Delay — Arlington Public Schools are opening today on a two hour delay. “The Extended Day program will also open two hours late and morning field trips are canceled,” APS said. [Twitter]

Chain Bridge Closes Due to Ice — Chain Bridge was closed for much of the morning rush hour this morning due to icy conditions on the bridge. Multiple crashes were reported, though the bridge has since reopened. [Twitter, Twitter]

Amazon News Roundup — Per the Washington Business Journal: The neighborhoods around the Rosslyn area might have been rebranded as “Capital View” had it been chosen for Amazon’s HQ2. The retro Americana hotel in Crystal City is hoping to stay put and revamp a bit as Amazon moves in. The Crystal City BID is working to expand its boundaries and, if successful, may be renamed the National Landing BID. Finally, while Virginia is mostly welcoming Amazon with open arms, in the other half of the HQ2 equation, New York City, Amazon is facing protests and opposition from local lawmakers.

Amazonians May Invade Dating Scene — DCist asks: “Will Amazon Bring A Bunch Of Rude Workaholics To The D.C. Dating Scene?” [DCist]

Money Diary of a Local Parent — As part of a money diary feature, Slate asks: “How Much Does a Dad of Two Spend on His Kids During One Week in Arlington, Virginia?” [Slate]

E-CARE This Weekend — The Arlington Environmental Collection and Recycling Event (E-CARE), “a biannual event at which residents can safely dispose of household hazardous materials (HHM), bikes, small metal items and other recyclable items,” is set to happen this weekend at 1425 N. Quincy Street. The event is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 17  from 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. [Arlington County]

Flickr pool photo by Jenn Vogel

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

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

More from NWS:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

File photo

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(Updated at 10 p.m.) Arlington Public Schools’ classes and offices will open two hours late tomorrow (March 22) as the county cleans up from the winter storm that left at least four inches of snow in the area today.

The delay comes after the Virginia Department of Transportation warned of overnight refreezing of melting water.

From APS spokesperson Darryl Johnson:

All APS schools and offices will open two hours late on Thursday, March 22. 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.

Also Thursday, Metrobuses and Arlington Transit buses will start the morning with limited service. From WMATA:

Metrobus will begin Thursday, March 22, on a light snow plan with snow detours in effect on a route-by-route basis where hilly terrain or narrow streets may be problematic for buses.

MetroAccess paratransit service for riders with disabilities will be restored on Thursday. Customers may experience delays and service impacts due to road conditions.

Metrorail will open tomorrow at 5 a.m. with normal weekday service on all rail lines.

File photo

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Meltwater from the wet spring snow that fell today may refreeze overnight, leading to treacherous conditions Thursday morning.

That’s the message from VDOT, which issued the following press release this evening.

As snow tapers off across northern Virginia and temperatures hover at or below freezing, the Virginia Department of Transportation asks drivers to be aware of potential icy conditions overnight and through tomorrow.

Crews will continue working overnight to clear roads, providing a passable path in neighborhoods as well as retreating all roads for refreeze. VDOT asks drivers to use extreme caution or delay overnight trips if possible, to ensure crews are able to work safely and efficiently.

Drivers are asked to continue to monitor weather and to use extreme caution if driving. Low temperatures over the next several days will mean potential for continued refreeze, slick spots and varying road conditions.

Drivers are reminded:

  • Stay tuned to weather conditions (see latest from National Weather Service).
  • If existing conditions refreeze and roads become icy, delay trips for safety, or allow plenty of extra time and reduce speeds significantly.
  • Assume any “wet” pavement could be slick. Even previously treated roads become slick quickly with low pavement and air temperatures.
  • Take it slow on bridges, ramps, overpasses, and other known trouble spots.
  • Ensure gas tanks and wiper fluid tanks are full and completely clean off vehicles before traveling.
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