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Fire engine in front of the AVA Ballston Square building in Ballston after power outage (staff photo by Lene Query)

(Updated at 1:55 p.m.) At least a couple of large buildings in Ballston are without power after reports of a possible transformer explosion.

Firefighters were initially dispatched to the area shortly before 1 p.m. after a caller reported a loud explosion-like sound and some smoke believed to be coming from a power transformer.

They were subsequently also dispatched to the AVA Ballston Square apartment building at 850 N. Randolph Street for a report of an elevator that was stuck with people inside after the power went out.

An office building across the street, which houses ARLnow’s offices, is also without power.

The outage appears to be relatively isolated, according to Dominion’s outage map, with just under 400 homes and businesses affected. Restoration of power is currently estimated between 5-8 p.m.

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Clarendon and Lyon Park power outage (via Dominion)

Update at 3:20 p.m. — The number of outages is down to just over 600, according to Dominion. Police are in the process of removing cones from intersections with traffic signals that are working again.

Earlier: More than 3,500 homes and businesses are currently without power in Arlington due to a reported transformer fire.

The outage is centered around the Clarendon and Lyon Park neighborhoods. Initial reports suggest that a tree fell on power lines somewhere in the area and sparked the transformer fire that is causing the large outage.

Traffic signals are said to be dark at numerous busy intersections. Police are responding to assist with traffic control.

Another several hundred Dominion customers were initially reported to be in the dark around Courthouse, though power is back on in most of the neighborhood.

One office worker in Courthouse described experiencing 3-4 power surges that “went through the building like a wind blowing… about 2 minutes from start to finish.”

In addition to calls about non-functioning traffic lights, police and fire radio channels have been busy with reports of smoke coming from sidewalk grates — a normal occurrence in commercial areas during outages, caused by diesel generators starting up.

As of 2 p.m., Dominion’s website estimates a timeframe of between 5-8 p.m. for restoration of power.

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Morning Notes

Sunset along Columbia Pike near the construction site for the Arlington National Cemetery expansion by the US Air Force Memorial (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Arlington Man Arrested for Fairfax Murder — “A man was arrested in connection to the homicide of 32-year-old DonorSee founder Gret Glyer, according to Fairfax City Police officials. Joshua Danehower, 33, of Arlington, Va., was arrested at Dulles International Airport Tuesday night. He was charged with second-degree murder in connection with Glyer’s death, according to police. He was also charged with one count of use of a firearm during the commission of a felony.” [WJLA, Fox News]

Air Quality Warning Today — “The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality has issued a Code ORANGE Air Quality Alert Thursday for Northern Virginia. A Code Orange Air Quality Alert means that air pollution concentrations within the region may become unhealthy for sensitive groups.” [National Weather Service]

Wardian Powering Through Dozens of Audiobooks — Achieving his Forrest Gump-esque goal of running some 3,000 miles coast-to-coast is not the only feat Arlington resident and decorated ultramarathoner Michael Wardian has tallied over the past couple of months. He says he has also listened to at least 35 audiobooks on 2x speed while on the journey. [NBC 4]

AIM ‘Coming Out Party’ Tonight — “The AIM and WERA teams invite you to join us tomorrow to celebrate our exciting new direction and plans! Come out and meet our new staff, learn about amazing programs and classes, and see how you can be a part of the future of inclusive public media in Arlington! Mix, mingle, meet Ms. Gay Arlington, dance to the tunes of drag queen DJ’s Katja and Giorgio — and have fun!” [Eventbrite]

Kitchen Fire and Power Outage in Ballston — “Kitchen fire at Uncle Julio’s. Sounds minor but the restaurant was evacuated, per scanner. There’s also a power outage in the area, affecting more than 600 Dominion customers, per the company’s outage map.” [Twitter]

Big Response to Gun Brandishing — A man allegedly brandished a gun in a Pentagon City apartment building lobby yesterday afternoon, prompting a big police response. [Twitter, Twitter]

It’s Thursday — Clear throughout the day. High of 88 and low of 68. Sunrise at 5:48 am and sunset at 8:39 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Update at 6:05 p.m. — The number of outages in Arlington is now down to just 67, according to Dominion.

Earlier: More than 2,000 Dominion customers are still without power after two strong storms knocked down trees and power lines Sunday.

As of 9:45 a.m. the utility company reported 2,084 customers in the dark, down from 8,295 outages immediately following the second of yesterday’s storms.

The outages are scattered across the county but mostly in south Arlington. Among the largest of the remaining outages are in the Aurora Highlands and Columbia Forest neighborhoods.

Dominion’s power outage map currently lists the estimated restoration time as between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m. tonight.

The utility company has been struggling to restore power due to widespread damage from the storms. Currently Dominion is reporting  8,992 outages across Northern Virginia, including 2,832 in Fairfax County and 3,873 in Alexandria.

The downed trees and power lines are affecting bus service in Columbia Forest.

“Due to downed power lines, the ART Route 75 will not be servicing stops on S. Frederick Street until further notice,” Arlington Transit said in an alert earlier this morning. “Passengers can board on George Mason Drive.”

https://twitter.com/PeggyDomEnergy/status/1528746576927236096

The outages are also affecting library service in Aurora Highlands.

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Dominion on scene of power pole fire in 2020 (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

An early morning power outage Tuesday left more than 2,000 Dominion customers in the dark. The culprit: balloons.

The incident prompted Dominion Energy to remind residents about the danger posed by those metallic balloons one might buy in a grocery or party supply store.

“In the overnight hours mylar balloons came in contact with our power lines causing a short circuit or power surge which put 2,085 customers in the dark,” Dominion spokeswoman Peggy Fox tells ARLnow. “The balloons damaged a circuit which had to be replaced.  Fortunately, there was no fire and our crews were able to gradually switch customers to other circuits.’

“Power was restored to all of those customers by 5 a.m. — in under three hours from when the outage began,” she added.

Letting balloons fly up into the sky may seem harmless — and in the case of balloons held by young children, it’s sometimes hard to avoid — but aside from the fact that the balloons eventually come down and end up as litter, mylar balloons in particular pose an acute danger on the way up.

“Mylar balloons have a metallic coating that conducts electricity,” Fox explains. “When they touch power lines they can cause large-scale outages, melting of electrical wires and even fires. It’s happened across the country.”

“We would ask people to not release any balloons outside and to dispose of them properly,” she said.

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Morning Notes

Cranes above construction between 18th and 20th St. S. in Crystal City (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Police Looking for Missing Teen — “MISSING: ACPD is seeking assistance locating 14-year-old Anahi… Described as a [Hispanic] female, 5’4″ tall with brown hair, brown eyes and a nose piercing. She was last seen at approximately 12:30 p.m. today in the 400 block of S. George Mason Drive.” [Twitter]

Amazon Banana Stand in Crystal City — “Amazon has operated a stand in front of 1770 Crystal Drive, one of the office buildings it occupies in Crystal City, since July. The banistas give away bananas, individually or by the bunch, every weekday between 7:30 a.m. and 3 p.m., Anderson said. And anyone can take them, from Amazon employees to residents to passers-by. The stands have dog treats, too.” [Washington Business Journal]

Reports of Strange Sounds Last Night — “Locals: anyone know what that annoying chime / doorbell thing is that goes off every 10 minutes? I’ve seen reports of hearing it from Arlington to Alexandria.” [Twitter, Twitter]

Power Outage Last Night — “Just over 600 Dominion customers are without power tonight in the Columbia Forest and Claremont neighborhoods. Restoration expected within a few hours.” [Twitter]

Metro Wants to Develop Housing — “Metro has released a 10-year joint development plan that’s chock-full of big projects to extend the agency’s reach and increase ridership… The agency says it could produce 26,000 new housing units and 31 million square feet of new development through joint development projects at 40 stations. This could create a projected $50 million in yearly lease revenue.” [Axios]

It’s Tuesday — Partly cloudy throughout the day. Breezy, with wind gusts of up to 31 mph. High of 50 and low of 40. Sunrise at 6:27 am and sunset at 7:50 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Power outages in the neighborhoods around Pentagon City (via Dominion)

Update at 9:40 p.m. — Power is expected to be restored around midnight for the remaining 500 or so homes without power, according to Dominion says. The company confirmed that a tree trimming company dropped branches on power lines, causing the outage.

Update at 6 p.m. — The number of outages is down to 520, according to Dominion’s website. The cause of the outage, which is now mostly affecting the Arlington Ridge neighborhood, is a tree on a power line, the power company says

Earlier: Nearly 3,400 Dominion customers are without power in parts of South Arlington due to an outage.

The outage is affecting portions of Pentagon City, its surrounding neighborhoods, and eastern Columbia Pike. Firefighters are investigating initial reports of wires down around the intersection of S. Arlington Ridge Road and 23rd Street S., near where a tree crew was working.

Dominion is currently listing an estimated restoration time of 6-9 p.m.

The outage is affecting both single-family home neighborhoods and commercial areas. There have been several reports of power surges in the area, including at the Aurora Hills library.

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Power outage in Clarendon (map via Dominion)

(Updated at 2:05 p.m.) More than 800 Dominion customers are without power in parts of Clarendon, Lyon Village and Cherrydale.

The outage was reported around 1:30 p.m. Police are on scene along Wilson Blvd in Clarendon, helping to direct traffic that backed up as a result of stop lights going dark.

Dominion says the cause of the outage is a “circuit out.”

Rain and wind have been picking up this afternoon, ahead of potential severe weather later today. The National Weather Service has now issued both a Severe Thunderstorm Watch and a Wind Advisory for Arlington — as well as much of the region.

Forecasters say that wind gusts up to 50 mph may bring down trees and large branches. From NWS:

141 PM EDT Thu Mar 31 2022

…WIND ADVISORY IN EFFECT UNTIL 8 PM EDT THIS EVENING…

* WHAT…South winds 15 to 25 mph with gusts up to 50 mph expected.

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

* WHEN…Until 8 PM EDT this evening.

* IMPACTS…Gusty winds could blow around unsecured objects. Isolated tree damage and a few power outages may result.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

Use extra caution when driving, especially if operating a high profile vehicle. Secure outdoor objects.

Peggy Fox, a spokeswoman for the power company, said this morning that residents should charge their mobile devices in anticipation of the expected windy weather.

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Looking down Lynn Street in Rosslyn toward Georgetown, in the snow (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

(Updated at 10 a.m.) A frigid night is on tap and the refreezing of melting snow could make roads and sidewalks extra slippery.

The National Weather Service on Monday issued a Special Weather Statement about the ice concerns overnight:

…Icy Patches Likely Overnight Into Tuesday Morning… Falling temperatures and water from melted snow will result in patchy ice on area roads overnight into early Tuesday. This will be especially problematic on untreated roadways. Motorists should exercise extra caution overnight into early Tuesday, and assume that any surfaces which look wet or slushy may in fact be icy.

Adding to the driving danger in Arlington: many neighborhood roads have yet to be touched by a snow plow. As of Monday night, the county remained in “Phase 2” of its snow removal plan, during which crews focus on primary and secondary roads only.

Arlington snow plow map as of 10:15 p.m. The roads in red have not yet been plowed. (via Arlington County)

Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services says that crews will “work throughout the night to clear roadways,” but the county said Monday night what some had suspected: that Covid has reduced snow plow staffing.

“The County’s snow removal is currently impacted by COVID-19 related staffing shortages,” the county said. “Roads are being cleared as quickly and safely as possible. Thank you for your patience and understanding.”

Monday’s winter storm was one for the record books.

The 6.9 inches of accumulation recorded at Reagan National Airport is a new official D.C. record for Jan. 3 and the first major snowfall event in about three years. In Arlington, storm spotters reported between 6.5 and 9.2 inches of snow, with higher amounts generally to the south.

The storm’s impact will be felt Tuesday and perhaps beyond.

As previously reported, Arlington Public Schools will be closed while trash collection has been cancelled for both Monday and Tuesday. Additionally, Arlington County government offices, recreation centers, vaccination clinics, and — as of Tuesday morning — Covid testing booths will be closed on Tuesday.

The federal government will be opening on a three hour delay on Tuesday, the Office of Personnel Management said tonight.

While unnecessary travel is being discouraged, particularly overnight, limited bus service is now available.

After being suspended for most of the day, some Metrobus service started a gradual return as of 6 p.m. ART bus service in Arlington is currently expected to be restored at 11 a.m. Tuesday.

It’s going to be a cold night, meanwhile, for more than a thousand households around Arlington.

As of 10:30 p.m., 1,240 homes and businesses were without power in Arlington, according to Dominion. It could be days before the outages, scattered across the county, are fully resolved.

“Please prepare for the possibility of being without power for multiple days,” power company spokeswoman Peggy Fox said tonight. “This is a multi-day restoration effort.”

Dominion reported more than 90,000 customers without power across Northern Virginia — and even more statewide — Monday night.

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Power outages in Arlington just before 12:15 p.m., amid heavy snow (via Dominion)

(Updated at 2:45 p.m.) Roads around Arlington are impassible, schools and the federal government are closed, and to make matters worse thousands of homes and businesses are without power throughout Arlington.

Amid the heavy, wet snow — some 6+ inches have fallen so far, with a couple of hours of additional snowfall expected — there have been numerous reports of branches snapping, trees falling and power lines down around the county. In some areas, power lines are sparking or on fire, with snow-laden branches leaning against them.

Among other reports, first responders are on scene of a significant power line fire on Robert Walker Place, near Taylor Elementary, according to scanner traffic. They have asked Dominion crews to expedite their response to the scene.

The fire department has also been dispatched to a report of a tree that fell into a house.  Most of the reports of tree damage are in North Arlington neighborhoods.

As of 2:45 p.m., Dominion reported 4,767 outages in Arlington — a number that has been steadily increasing. Of those, about 2,200 are part of a large outage centered around Marymount University’s main campus. Other small outages are spread across the county.

That’s still well below the more than 48,000 homes and businesses that are in the dark in neighboring Fairfax County as of 2:45 p.m., however. In all, Dominion is reporting more than 145,000 outages across Northern Virginia.

Some trees are also reported down across roads, including on N. Glebe Road near Chain Bridge and S. Arlington Ridge Road near Gunston Middle School. Additionally, the Bluemont Junction Trail is blocked by a fallen tree.

Local authorities, including Arlington police, continue to urge people to stay home and off the roads as the flakes keep falling.

As of noon, Arlington snow crews were in “Phase 2” of their response, focused on primary and secondary routes instead of neighborhood streets.

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(Updated at 1:25 p.m.) Flooding is not the only imminent threat from today’s wild weather. The saturated ground and gusty winds have brought down several trees and large limbs around Arlington already, causing power outages.

As of 12:30 p.m. more than 2,250 homes and businesses were without power from Virginia Square to Bellevue Forest, with a large chunk of residential North Arlington in between, according to Dominion’s outage map. (The number dipped to 1,925 as of 1:15 p.m.)

Power flickered briefly in Ballston around noon, before coming back on. The outage knocked out traffic signals on Washington Blvd and Langston Blvd, among others. The Lyon Village Shopping Center, including The Italian Store, is also reportedly affected.

One likely cause is power lines that are down across Lorcom Lane near N. Edgewood Street, in the area of the Maywood and Woodmont neighborhoods. A falling tree took down the lines, which Dominion crews are now working to repair. Lorcom Lane is closed in the area.

The current estimated restoration time for the outage is listed as between 2-8 p.m, according to Dominion.

Meanwhile, more trees are likely to fall.

This morning the National Weather Service issued a statement cautioning about falling trees. NWS has received more than a dozen reports of trees falling around the region, including in Fairfax County where more than 5,000 Dominion customers are currently in the dark.

From NWS:

1122 AM EDT FRI OCT 29 2021

…GUSTY WINDS AND WET GROUND LEADING TO MINOR TREE DAMAGE…

GUSTY EASTERLY WINDS OF UP TO AROUND 40 MPH COMBINED WITH WET GROUND FROM RECENT RAINFALL IS RESULTING IN SPORADIC TREE AND POWER LINE DAMAGE. REMAIN ALERT IF TRAVELING THROUGH WOODED AREAS, AND AVOID THEM IF POSSIBLE.

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