(Updated at 4:10 p.m.) Arlington Public Schools will open two hours late tomorrow, as today’s snow gives way to a wintry mix.
Update for Thu, Feb. 21, 2019: All APS Schools & Offices Will Open 2 Hours Late: 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.
— Arlington Public Schools (@APSVirginia) February 20, 2019
Tonight’s cold temperatures also have county officials warning drivers to stay off the roads for the foreseeable future.
Most Arlington neighborhoods saw around 3 to 4 inches of snow accumulation in all, according to the National Weather Service. Also reported: a small amount of freezing rain.
As rain and sleet continue to fall around the region, residents are still being urged to stay inside if at all possible. A quick scan of the area’s traffic cameras shows most major roads look pretty clear, though secondary streets still look a bit slushy.
Wintry mix moving in to be followed by several hours of rain as temperatures hang above freezing overnight. A second 12-hour crew is now plowing where necessary. Best to remain off the roadways until morning. #ArlWX https://t.co/JnvPU3tlvu pic.twitter.com/S18ssoDKLh
— Arlington Department of Environmental Services (@ArlingtonDES) February 20, 2019
The NWS also has the area under a Winter Weather Advisory through 10 p.m. Details:
…WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT UNTIL 10 PM EST THIS
…WINTER STORM WARNING IS CANCELLED…
* WHAT…MIXED PRECIPITATION. ADDITIONAL SNOW AND SLEET ACCUMULATIONS OF LESS THAN ONE INCH THROUGH MID AFTERNOON, THEN ICE ACCUMULATIONS OF UP TO ONE TENTH OF AN INCH THROUGH 10 PM. ALL FREEZING RAIN IS EXPECTED TO TRANSITION TO RAIN BY 10 PM.
* WHERE…PORTIONS OF CENTRAL AND NORTHERN VIRGINIA.
* WHEN…UNTIL 10 PM EST THIS EVENING.
* ADDITIONAL DETAILS…PLAN ON SLIPPERY ROAD CONDITIONS. THE HAZARDOUS CONDITIONS WILL IMPACT THE EVENING COMMUTE.
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.
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.
Scattered crashes were reported around the county today, including a vehicle that slid off the northbound GW Parkway and over an embankment. One minor injury was reported.
Units on scene of vehicle over embankment on NB GW PKWY north of Spout Run. Everyone out of vehicle. Medics checking one minor injury. Expect delays in area while crews are on scene. Please take your time on the roads as they are slick. pic.twitter.com/sfzJ2LG7T3
— Arlington Fire (@ArlingtonVaFD) February 20, 2019
The weather has prompted some scattered event cancellations tonight. Temperatures around town are expected to remain above freezing overnight.
Most restaurants and bars around the area are staying open, despite the winter weather.
— Pupatella Pizza (@PupatellaPizza) February 20, 2019
All CIRCAs will be open today 🙌🏼! Escape the cold and come grab your favorites with us! And we’re still on for happy hour of course 🍻! https://t.co/fEHy1wz7Ya
— CIRCA Bistros (@CIRCAbistros) February 20, 2019
Yes, we are open!
— First Down Bar (@firstdownbar) February 20, 2019
UPDATE 10:55 a.m. #TeamJBMHH Road Conditions are now RED. DPW continues to plow and spread salt. The Main Exchange is now closed. The McNair Shoppette is closing at 1 p.m. The Myer Shoppette remains open. pic.twitter.com/ZJRREjbRn4
— JBM-HH (@JBMHH) February 20, 2019
Though the snow will start to melt as temperatures rise above freezing, residents may need to shovel their sidewalk later tonight or early tomorrow morning. The county’s snow ordinance requires that all private walkways be cleared by 1 p.m. tomorrow.
Roads ‘Looking Good’ After Light Snow — Per Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services: snow removal crews are “reviewing school routes, especially bridges and County sidewalks, with @APSVirginia on a 2-hour delayed opening. Roadways looking good, treated as needed, but go slow and remove snow from vehicles before pulling out.” [Twitter]
Gov’t Closures Today and Monday — “Arlington County Government offices, courts, libraries & facilities will be closed on Jan. 21, 2019 for Martin Luther King, Jr.,’s birthday. NOTE: Commonwealth of Virginia offices (including Courts & DMVs) will be closed Friday Jan. 18, 2019 for Lee-Jackson Day.” [Arlington County]
Amazon Incentives Clear First Richmond Hurdle — “A powerful General Assembly committee has passed and forwarded to the full state Senate legislation that would grant Amazon up to $750 million in financial incentives for locating a secondary headquarters in Arlington and Alexandria.” [InsideNova]
Who Said This? — A “big D.C. developer” reportedly called Crystal City “Ballston with lipstick,” which is more flattering than what an executive for Crystal City’s biggest property owner said about the community earlier this week. For its part, Crystal City is continuing to bask in the afterglow of its big Amazon win and this week’s announcement that PBS will be keeping its headquarters in the neighborhood. [Twitter]
Famers Market Offers Shutdown Discounts — The Westover Farmers Market, held on Sundays at the corner of Washington Blvd and N. McKinley Road, is offering discounts of 10-25 percent for furloughed federal employees and contractors until the government shutdown ends.
Arlington Family’s Furlough Story — An Arlington couple who both work for the federal government and are missing paychecks during the shutdown is more fortunate than many, given that they have savings with which to keep paying the bills. But it has meant cutting back on discretionary spending and things like child care and retirement contributions. [MarketWatch]
Arlington Man Arrested for ‘Ruckus’ in Ohio — “A man from Arlington, Virginia is facing charges in Youngstown after police say he created a ruckus at the downtown DoubleTree and threatened police… officers say he kept threatening them saying, ‘You guys are going to be sorry, and you’re going to regret this. I will find you when I get out.'” [WKBN]
Update at 2:15 p.m. — “Please plan to leave work early today,” VDOT’s Northern Virginia office said via Twitter this afternoon.
Folks— we need to get safety-stern with you now. Pls plan to leave work early today. This storm will definitely impact rush hour. Don’t assume a smaller accumulation won’t cause problems. Our plows need room to roll to be able to properly clear roads. pic.twitter.com/wZasjfu5sm
— VDOT Northern VA (@VaDOTNOVA) January 17, 2019
Earlier: Arlington will be under a Winter Weather Advisory tonight and early Friday as some snow threatens to disrupt the upcoming evening and morning commutes.
The National Weather Service says about an inch of accumulation is expected, potentially resulting in slick roads and sidewalks.
More from NWS:
…WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 6 PM THIS EVENING TO 4 AM EST FRIDAY… * WHAT…SNOW EXPECTED. TOTAL SNOW ACCUMULATIONS OF AROUND ONE INCH EXPECTED. * WHERE…THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, CENTRAL AND NORTHERN MARYLAND AND NORTHERN VIRGINIA. * WHEN…FROM 6 PM THIS EVENING TO 4 AM EST FRIDAY. * ADDITIONAL DETAILS…PLAN ON SLIPPERY ROAD CONDITIONS AND SIDEWALKS. THE HAZARDOUS CONDITIONS COULD IMPACT THE EVENING COMMUTE AFTER SUNSET AS TEMPERATURES FALL BELOW FREEZING. 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. &&
Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services says it is adding “extra response shifts” tonight to help keep roadways clear, though salt residue already on the roads will serve double duty as pre-treatment this time around.
Arlington Public Schools has, in turn, canceled all after-school and evening activities Thursday night. Arlington’s Dept. of Parks and Recreation has canceled a number of activities, as well:
- All Enjoy Arlington classes, 55+ classes and nature center programs with start times of 5 p.m. or later are cancelled in all buildings.
- Sports activities, leagues and instructional programs in APS buildings are cancelled.
- Sports league activities in all community centers and other County facilities will proceed as scheduled.
- DPR Teen after school programs will proceed as scheduled.
- All Community Centers (including joint use facilities located at Drew, Carver, Gunston, Langston and Thomas Jefferson) will remain open.
- For information regarding the status of the Arlington Aquatic Centers, please check here.
More via Twitter:
Also, there is enough residue from the 3500 tons of salt used from this last storm to act as pretreatment for an event tomorrow. A primer on storm prep/phases: https://t.co/JnvPU3tlvu pic.twitter.com/El9TPnLlbl
— Arlington Department of Environmental Services (@ArlingtonDES) January 16, 2019
Thu, Jan 17, 2019: All APS After-School & Evening Activities Canceled
All APS after-school and evening activities are canceled on Thu, Jan. 17. Fore more information, visit: https://t.co/tLXvopXISi
— Arlington Public Schools (@APSVirginia) January 17, 2019
Crews will be staged ahead of rush hour for snow during today’s PM commute. Pls leave work early (yay!) if you can. Storms during rush hour, even with little accumulation, have a huge impact on the roads. Also watch for overnight freeze for tomorrow’s AM rush. 🥶❄️ pic.twitter.com/fP8I3IWmrT
— VDOT Northern VA (@VaDOTNOVA) January 17, 2019
Accumulating snow is expected late today and overnight. Winter Weather Advisories have been expanded over the DC and Baltimore metro areas. Be prepared for hazardous driving conditions. pic.twitter.com/ic5R5D1L6H
— NWS DC/Baltimore (@NWS_BaltWash) January 17, 2019
Three days out from one of the D.C. region’s biggest snowstorms in years, Arlington officials say they’ve managed to clear most streets and county-controlled sidewalks — but the frigid temperatures of the last few nights have led to some trouble spots.
Since this weekend’s big storm, county workers have been able to clear the vast majority of highly trafficked roads, and many neighborhood streets as well. But Katie O’Brien, a spokeswoman for the county’s Department of Environmental Services, told ARLnow that snow plows are still on the road today (Wednesday) “to address areas that need additional treatment.”
“We have been having a lot of issues with refreezing over the past few days on both streets and sidewalks,” O’Brien wrote in an email. The problem was even significant enough to prompt the county school system to switch from a planned two-hour delay yesterday morning (Tuesday) to a full closure.
When it comes to those troublesome sidewalks, the county puts most of the onus for clearing walkways on residents and businesses. But Arlington crews still have responsibility for sidewalks outside county facilities, like libraries and community centers.
And on that front, O’Brien says that workers have managed to clear all the sidewalks the county is responsible for maintaining. The same goes for the walkways near county parks, according to Department of Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Susan Kalish.
“We’ve got everything cleared at this point, but will continue to monitor things due to snow melt and refreeze,” Kalish wrote in an email.
Of course, some slick spots still linger on trails within the parks themselves. Some walking paths remain iced over in parks around the county, prompting a few complaints from frustrated ARLnow readers. A quick survey of paths in both the James Hunter Dog Park in Clarendon and the Henry Clay Park in Lyon Park showed that ice still coated most of their walkways.
But Kalish says that’s largely because the county prioritizes sidewalks “around our community centers so they can safely open,” then focuses on “clearing safe routes to schools and then the heaviest used sidewalks (normally associated with Metro or busier urban areas).”
Kalish added that parks workers also are responsible for clearing “10 miles of high-volume, multi-use county trails,” and that process is just about wrapped up as well.
Thanks to all those who helped clear the W&OD Trail and the other links in the Northern Virginia bicycle network after the recent snowstorm! @NOVA_Parks @ArlingtonVA @FallsChurchGov @LoudounCoGovt @fairfaxparks @AlexandriaVAGov @CityofFairfaxVA pic.twitter.com/iMmmhXVybl
— Michael Nardolilli (@MikeNardolilli) January 16, 2019
Notably, this was the county’s first storm since setting up a temporary salt storage facility to replace the old “Salt Dome” providing road salt for the northern half of the county — a controversial process that rankled neighbors this summer — but O’Brien says there were “no major concerns or unexpected issues” with the new facility.
She added that the county’s “staffing levels for plow operators and snow-clearing personnel have remained steady,” despite Arlington’s recent budget woes, allowing the county to operate its full fleet of 46 snow plow trucks without a hitch.
Going forward, O’Brien says that anyone who notices a street or patch of sidewalk that needs some work can report it for attention through an online form on the county’s website.
And it might be a good idea to give any remaining patches of ice some attention sooner rather than later — forecasters expect a wintry mix to roll back through the area tomorrow night (Thursday).
Gymboree Expected to Close — “Children’s clothing retailer Gymboree Group Inc. is expected to seek bankruptcy protection this week, with plans to close all 900 of its stores, according to people familiar with the matter.” The company has a Gymboree location at the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall. [Wall Street Journal]
A First for the Local Real Estate Market — “The Arlington real estate market for 2018 was essentially flat compared to a year before – while, for the first time, the average sales price of single-family homes topped the $1 million mark.” [InsideNova]
Storm Response Now in ‘Phase 4’ — Arlington County’s snow removal effort is now in “Phase 4,” cleaning up problem areas with a focus on schools and county facilities. Overnight a refreeze produced black ice and made plowing more difficult and driving hazardous, the county said. Last night Arlington Public Schools decided to close schools today instead of open on a delay. [Twitter]
School Construction Project Update — Construction is running on time on both the future Alice West Fleet Elementary School and the future home of H-B Woodlawn in Rosslyn, but heavy rains have caused delays for the future Dorothy Hamm Middle School, formerly known as the Stratford School, on Vacation Lane. [InsideNova]
Update at 10 p.m. — Arlington Public Schools will be closed Tuesday.
“Because we anticipate hazardous driving and walking conditions on some neighborhood sidewalks and bus stops throughout the County due to freezing tonight, all APS Schools will be closed,” the school system said. School offices will open at 10 a.m.
Arlington County government is currently planning to open on time. The federal government is opening on a two hour delay.
Update for Tue, Jan. 15, 2019: All APS schools Will Be Closed; All Offices Will Open at 10 a.m. Because we anticipate hazardous driving and walking conditions on some neighborhood sidewalks and bus stops throughout the County due to freezing tonight, all APS Schools… pic.twitter.com/iHfvvI8C8q
— Arlington Public Schools (@APSVirginia) January 15, 2019
1/15: Federal agencies in the DC area will OPEN with a 2-hour delay on Tuesday, January 15, 2019. Employees should plan to arrive for work no more than 2 hours later than they would be expected to arrive. Employees should visit https://t.co/XNpFS40aXT to confirm their status. pic.twitter.com/drRG2rzDet
— OPM (@USOPM) January 15, 2019
Best advice: Stay off the roads this evening and take it very slowly in the morning. There will be black ice. Crews continue to work residential neighborhoods in Phase 3 but refreeze makes plowing more difficult. #ArlWX https://t.co/JnvPU3tlvu https://t.co/9l6ChO0rdO
— Arlington Department of Environmental Services (@ArlingtonDES) January 15, 2019
Earlier: Arlington Public Schools will likely open on a two-hour delay tomorrow (Tuesday), as forecasters warn of a re-freeze of melting snow on county roads.
The school system announced that it will open schools and offices two hours late “based on the current forecast and conditions for tomorrow morning,” but officials plan to release a final update at 6 a.m. Tuesday morning.
That means any “essential personnel” and food service workers should still report to work on time. However, APS says it will watch for “deteriorating weather and road conditions” overnight and early tomorrow.
County workers are already warning of below-freezing temperatures making roads a bit icy overnight, and forecasters fully expect that to cause more problems tomorrow. County offices, courts, and facilities are set to open as normal tomorrow, however.
Update for Tuesday, January 15, 2019: All APS Schools & Offices Will Open 2 Hours Late
At this time, based on the current forecast and conditions for tomorrow morning, APS plans to open schools and offices two hours late tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/KZvQBniSu0
— Arlington Public Schools (@APSVirginia) January 14, 2019
Drip, drip, drip. Temps into mid-30s around DMV early this afternoon and snow, icicles slowly starting what will be several day melt-off. But refreeze tonight…which will have cause slushy, wet areas to re-freeze. This has implications for schools tomorrow. SchoolCast later…
— Capital Weather Gang (@capitalweather) January 14, 2019
Arlington County government offices, courts, & facilities will open at regular time tomorrow, Tuesday, 01-15-2019. pic.twitter.com/KHg1OWDufs
— Arlington Alert (@arlingtonalert) January 14, 2019
Arlington officials also plan to shift trash collection dates back by one day for the rest of the week, as snow removal continues.
A one-day shift in trash service for the remainder of the week. Regular Monday residential trash pickup will run Tuesday morning, Tuesday routes will run Wednesday etc straight through into Saturday. https://t.co/p0PuSmCOrn
— Arlington Department of Environmental Services (@ArlingtonDES) January 14, 2019
Flickr pool photo by Jenn Vogel
(Updated at 2:25 p.m.) The snowflakes have finally stopped falling, and now Arlingtonians are starting to dig out from the first big snow storm of the new year.
With county schools and offices all closed (to say nothing of the federal government), traffic is light on area roads and highways. All Arlington Department of Parks and Recreation facilities have also since been closed, and all programs cancelled.
But if you do need to venture out today (Monday), highways and even most highly trafficked roads around the county look pretty clear.
However, crews are still working to reach many neighborhood streets, and county police are urging people to stay off the road, if possible.
The snow may have stopped falling but freezing overnight has left icy conditions. Please continue to limit driving to allow crews to treat the roadways. If you must drive, remove ALL snow and ice off your entire vehicle before you travel. #ArlWX https://t.co/xTCLBkKG98
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) January 14, 2019
PLEASE stay off the roads for plows and emergency vehicles unless 100% necessary. Conditions vary and are treacherous in some areas on GW Parkway, BW Parkway, Suitland Parkway & Rock Creek Parkway. Refreezing will make traveling treacherous & dangerous if crews can't clear roads.
— Jenny A-S NPS (@NPSJennyAS) January 14, 2019
Metrorail service is running as normal, but many Metrobus routes are delayed due to icy conditions. WMATA says the 16C, 16E, 16G, 23B and 28A routes could all be affected.
Arlington Transit buses are running on reduced schedules on the 41, 51, 55 and 87 lines, while service on the 77 line is currently suspended. Virginia Railway Express won’t run any trains today.
Be sure to check with the organizers of any events you might’ve planned on attending tonight, as many have already been cancelled. For instance, the county has called off its open house on longe-range planning for new cycling infrastructure, originally set to be held at Phoenix Bikes.
If you are at home today, you might want to break out the snow shovel — a county ordinance calls for all residents and businesses to clear off adjacent sidewalks by 3 p.m. Tuesday.
— Arlington Department of Environmental Services (@ArlingtonDES) January 14, 2019
Update at 10:25 p.m. — Arlington County government will be closed Monday. As a result, there will be no curbside trash pickup Monday; service will resume when the county government reopens. Arlington snow crews are also reverting back to “Phase 2” of the county’s snow plan, meaning plows will stop treating neighborhood streets and will resume treating primary and secondary arterial streets only.
Arlington County government offices, courts, & facilities are closed tomorrow Monday, 01-14-2019. If possible, stay off the roads while snow removal efforts continue throughout the day. pic.twitter.com/gf3lrIabKr
— Arlington Alert (@arlingtonalert) January 14, 2019
The extra burst of snow Sunday evening has caused problems at local airports. There are reports of extensive delays, extended waits on the tarmac and frustrated passengers at Reagan National Airport.
Another impact of the extra burst of snow Sunday evening: Arlington Transit Service.
“Due to inclement weather, ART will begin service on Monday, Jan. 14 at 8:00am with *Severe* service on ART 41, 51, 55 and 87,” ART said Sunday night. “Service on ART 77 will remain suspended until further notice.”
Update at 9:45 p.m. — The federal government — the parts of it that are not furloughed, at least — is closed Monday, according to the Office of Personnel Management. Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall is also closed. Among other closures, earlier today Arlington Public Schools announced that Monday will be a snow day, with all classes and activities cancelled.
Earlier: This weekend’s snowstorm isn’t done yet.
A prolonged period of steady snow is blanketing local roads after an afternoon lull that saw Arlington snow crews move their focus from arterial roads to neighborhood streets. The burst of snow has caused treacherous conditions in parts of the county and prompted a number of road closures.
“Many roads are becoming impassable due to weather conditions,” Arlington’s office of emergency management wrote shortly before 5:30 p.m. “Motorists are urged to stay off the roads to allow crews to treat the roadways. Conditions are expected to deteriorate as temperatures continue to drop.”
Around 7 p.m., all Metrobus service was suspended amid reports of buses getting stuck on hills. An hour and a half later, Arlington Transit announced that it was suspending service for the rest of the night.
Arlington County Police, Arlington’s Dept of Environmental Services and VDOT are all urging residents to stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary tonight into Monday morning.
A Winter Storm Warning remains in effect until midnight tonight.
…WINTER STORM WARNING NOW IN EFFECT UNTIL MIDNIGHT EST TONIGHT… * WHAT…PERIODS OF SNOW. TOTAL SNOW ACCUMULATIONS OF 6 TO 12 INCHES EXPECTED. * WHERE…THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, PORTIONS OF CENTRAL MARYLAND AND NORTHERN AND NORTHWEST VIRGINIA. * WHEN…UNTIL MIDNIGHT EST TONIGHT. * ADDITIONAL DETAILS…TRAVEL WILL BE VERY DIFFICULT DUE TO SNOW COVERED AND SLIPPERY ROADS. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… A WINTER STORM WARNING FOR SNOW MEANS SEVERE WINTER WEATHER CONDITIONS WILL MAKE TRAVEL VERY HAZARDOUS OR IMPOSSIBLE. IF YOU MUST TRAVEL, KEEP AN EXTRA FLASHLIGHT, FOOD AND WATER IN YOUR VEHICLE IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY. THE LATEST ROAD CONDITIONS FOR THE STATE YOU ARE CALLING FROM CAN BE OBTAINED BY CALLING 5 1 1. &&
Arlington appears likely to clock in at around 10 inches of snow accumulation by the time the flakes stop falling, though as much as a foot remains possible.
Among other trouble spots in Arlington, photos and video sent to ARLnow show cars and buses getting stuck on the hills around Rosslyn and Courthouse. And even emergency responders are having trouble; ACFD engine 108 reported around 6:45 p.m. that it had gotten stuck on a hill in the area of Rock Spring Road and 32nd Road N. and needed a tow truck.
Power outages have also been reported in Arlington. As of 6:30 p.m. just over 1,000 Dominion customers were in the dark around the county, primarily in the Tara-Leeway Heights, High View Park and Westover neighborhoods.
Another 1-3 inches of snow is possible through midnight, the National Weather Service said in a Special Weather Statement this evening.
“Icy roads are possible as the snow melts on the roads then quickly refreezes,” the statement notes. “Conditions can deteriorate rapidly in winter weather situations. Be prepared for snow or ice covered roads. Slow down and allow extra time when traveling.”
From midnight through 5:30 p.m. today, troopers from Virginia State Police’s Fairfax Division responded to 68 crashes and 81 disabled vehicles around Northern Virginia. VSP responded to 324 crashes statewide so far today.
More via Twitter:
— Karim (@KarimBelaDC) January 13, 2019
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) January 13, 2019
The sun has gone down and the moon has come up… temps and visibility are continuing to drop. Pls stay off the roads tonight, but plan now for your commute tmrw. Telework or delay trips until the sun rises and temperatures increase. Roads will be slippery. #safetyalways pic.twitter.com/QKvP9byVc7
— VDOT Northern VA (@VaDOTNOVA) January 13, 2019
— Arlington Department of Environmental Services (@ArlingtonDES) January 13, 2019
6p: When it will end? We still have a few more hours of snow. May take until 9 or 10p until it really starts tapering. This means some areas will hit double digit totals. Forecast radar shown here. Latest update: https://t.co/2kxkRLOuzm pic.twitter.com/jtRaAJUaMf
— Capital Weather Gang (@capitalweather) January 13, 2019
The snow is sticking around and reducing visibility at the airport. Ground crews are working hard to clear the runway & get everyone on their way. As always, we recommend double checking flight status with your airline prior to coming to the airport. Thanks for your patience! pic.twitter.com/MgUtDG1pup
— Reagan Airport (@Reagan_Airport) January 13, 2019
Update at 3:30 p.m. — All Arlington Public Schools will be closed Monday, the school system just announced.
APS Alert: All APS schools and offices will be closed on Monday, January 14. Essential personnel should report to work at their scheduled time. Extracurricular activities, games, team practices, field trips, adult education classes, and programs on school grounds are canceled.
— Arlington Public Schools (@APSVirginia) January 13, 2019
Earlier: Arlington County snow removal crews have started plowing neighborhood streets as the snowiest D.C. area storm since 2016 starts to wind down.
The county’s Dept. of Environmental Services announced just before 1 p.m. that it had entered “Phase 3” of its snow response, during which crews are “working to widen passage on primary and secondary arterial” streets while “beginning to treat/plow residential streets.”
Crews across Northern Virginia worked throughout the night to keep roads drivable, though officials cautioned against unnecessary travel due to slick conditions.
Virginia State Police said troopers in its Fairfax Division, which includes Arlington, responded to 34 crashes and 52 disabled vehicles since midnight. Statewide, more than 230 crashes were handled by VSP during that timeframe.
“Drivers be advised — looks can be and are deceiving!” state police said. “Highways may appear to be clear, but slick and icy conditions still exist.”
“On the second day of winter weather across northern Virginia, drivers are asked to continue to avoid unnecessary travel for crews to safely clear accumulating snow,” VDOT urged.
In Arlington, all Dept. of Parks and Recreation classes and activities in county and school facilities were canceled today. All county fields and community centers were closed and all other activities at public schools were canceled. Arlington Transit buses, meanwhile, are operating on a limited schedule.
As of 2 p.m., Arlington Public Schools had not yet announced its status for Monday. Another 2-3 inches could fall between 1 p.m. today and just after midnight, according to the National Weather Service, and a Winter Storm Warning remains in effect.
Despite the hazards, the snow produced picturesque scenes around Arlington. More snowy scenes from around town, via social media:
WeWork Coming to Rosslyn — Another coworking space is coming to Rosslyn. WeWork is reportedly coming to three floors near the top of the new CEB Tower. [Washington Business Journal]
Board Passes Four Mile Run Plan — Despite some dissatisfaction among those who live in a nearby community, the Arlington County Board voted unanimously to adopt as-is the proposed Four Mile Run Valley Park Master Plan and Design Guidelines, which includes “a comprehensive Master Plan for Jennie Dean Park and Shirlington Park, with short and mid-term recommendations for maintaining and improving Shirlington Dog Park.” [Arlington County]
Salt Storage Structure Approved — “The Arlington County Board today voted to allow the County to build an interim salt storage structure before winter sets in, on County-owned property on Old Dominion Drive, between 25th Road N. and 26th Street N.” [Arlington County]
Scooter Injury in Crystal City — A woman on a motorized scooter reportedly suffered a dislocated elbow after she accidentally ran into a wall in the Crystal City area Friday evening. The safety of the electric rental scooters has been questioned both locally and nationally. [Twitter]
Coming ‘Flood’ of Medicaid Applicants — “The Arlington County Board today voted unanimously to accept state funding that will help pay for additional staff needed to process an expected flood of new applications for Medicaid under the state’s expanded program, Cover Virginia… ‘Under the expanded program, we expect 3,000 more County residents will qualify. Childless low-income adults with no disabilities, a group previously excluded, and families and persons with disabilities whose income previously was not considered to be low enough to qualify will now be eligible for coverage.'” [Arlington County]
Packer Drops By Clarendon Day — Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones, in town for Sunday’s game against the Redskins — the local team ended up upsetting the visitors 31-17 — dropped by Clarendon Day on Saturday. He also posed for a photo with Arlington County police. [Twitter]
APS Wires 40 Schools for Fiber Connection — “Arlington Public Schools (APS) is kicking off the 2018-19 school year with a brand-new connection–ConnectArlington. Thanks to a yearlong collaboration, 40 Arlington school facilities are now up and running on the County’s own fiber optic network. APS made the switch from a commercial provider to take advantage of ConnectArlington’s high-speed, dedicated network for digital telecommunications and broadband services.” [Arlington County]
Arlington’s plans to demolish a roughly 90-year-old storage “dome” for road salt and build a temporary replacement are inching forward, even as some neighbors have cried foul about the county’s rushed public engagement process for the project.
The county Planning Commission unanimously lent its seal of approval last night (Thursday) to a series of zoning changes to let work on the salt dome move ahead, keeping the county on track to move about 4,500 tons of salt into a new shelter in time for the first threats of snow in late November.
Officials discovered this spring that the old dome, made out of a repurposed water tank and located on a piece of county property near the intersection of 25th Road N. and Old Dominion Drive, was on the verge of collapse. Considering that the dome was one of just two of the county’s facilities for road salt storage, staff wanted to take urgent action to commission a replacement.
The County Board agreed to kick off that process in July, but people living nearby were peeved that officials would push ahead with these changes on a considerably more expedited timeline than Arlington’s notoriously lengthy engagement guidelines might normally allow. Many neighbors were particularly concerned that the temporary replacement for the dome might become permanent, lending a considerably more industrial feel to the neighborhood, which is just near Marymount University.
“It will be the defining feature of the entrance of our neighborhood, and it will say ‘Welcome to Industrialville,'” Mike Hogan, president of the Old Dominion Citizens Association, told the commission. “Never have so many planning rules been violated in one proposal as this one.”
Arlington Department of Environmental Services Director Greg Emanuel stressed to the commission the rushed process is “clearly not how we prefer to do our work,” offering a mea culpa for his staff’s failure to identify the problem a bit earlier. But he also emphasized that the project was so important that it was worth speeding things along — should the dome fail, he expects the county would see its response time to a snowstorm increase anywhere from 30 to 40 percent.
“There should’ve been a public process, there’s no question about it,” Planning Commission Chair Jane Siegel told ARLnow. “Nobody’s trying to hide the ball here… but if there is no salt storage in the appropriate part of the county, we risk people getting injured.”
Siegel expects that county staffers managed to overlook the salt dome’s degrading status because the property was at one time slated to become the home of a replacement for Fire Station 8. When those plans fell apart, she suspects the salt dome got lost in the shuffle, as officials were initially expecting it to be removed.
Some neighbors, however, were not so convinced of the county’s good intentions.
“We’ve all known for a long time this is failing,” Jacqueline Smith, another Old Dominion resident, told the commission. “This is a really predictable crisis… and we’re being put under this pressure, saying we have no other options. And personally, I don’t see that.”
But Emanuel told the commission that staff did examine other options for the temporary salt dome, like a site the county uses for storing leaf removal and the Buck property, a piece of county land near Ballston eyed for all manner of uses over the years. Neither option, however, would quite fit the county’s needs, Emanuel said.
Even with the county stuck using the Old Dominion property, Siegel pointed out that vocal community scrutiny of the project managed to force some concessions from the county to make the effort a bit more tolerable. For instance, the county shrank the amount of land it plans to use for the project, and will save all but three trees it originally planned to cut down on the site.
“Even though it was not a full public process, the public did weigh in and get some wins out of this,” Siegel said.
Still, Old Dominion neighbors worry about the site’s future.
“We recognize this is intended to be temporary, but we’d like to know what temporary means,” Hogan said.
Manuel estimates that the temporary structure will stay in place for the next three to four years, until the county can build a new salt storage tank. And for any concerned neighbors, Siegel also points out that the County Board will soon convene a working group on a “master plan” for the property, a process she says might not have started for quite some time without the community’s interest in the salt dome.
“Temporary things become permanent if there’s no opposing group or force or idea, but here there obviously will be,” Siegel said. “There is a bulwark against the drift.”
The County Board will get a chance to weigh in on the salt dome zoning changes at its Sept. 22 and Sept. 25 meetings.