Support

The snow falling in Arlington is providing a wintry ambiance — but little accumulation to speak of so far.

That may change tonight as temperatures fall and roads are expected to become more slippery. Many seem to be heeding calls to stay at home, however, with only light traffic reported on Arlington’s primary routes and highways as of 6 p.m.

Arlington County says its snow crews are out and about, treating main roads. Plowing is likely to be unnecessary, given that only an inch or so of accumulation is expected before the flakes taper off before midnight.

Despite what is turning out to be relatively light snowfall, some Saturday closures have been reported. Among them, morning activities at Arlington Public Schools are cancelled.

More from social media:

0 Comments

Update at 5:45 p.m. — After a period of heavy snow, the transition to sleet and freezing rain is underway, potentially making travel even more hazardous

There have been several reports of crashes around Arlington, including a crash that felled a county light pole and closed southbound George Mason Drive near S. Frederick Street. There are also reports of disabled vehicles partially blocking traffic, including a Mercedes reportedly stuck on Route 50 at Fillmore Street.

Despite the weather, some local businesses remained open tonight, including William Jeffrey’s Tavern and Caspi Restaurant along Columbia Pike, where customers could be seen inside eating and drinking while watching today’s playoff football games.

Earlier: Roads across Arlington are largely snow-covered — or at least slushy, in the case of major routes — despite the work of county and state crews.

Driving conditions are difficult, and likely to get worse as heavier snow is headed north, while sleet and freezing rain is expected to start falling around sunset. Authorities are urging those who don’t need to drive to stay inside.

Arlington Transit buses are currently operating on a severe service schedule. Due to the expected volume of calls, Arlington County police have been told to handle crashes through forms given to drivers rather than a more involved reporting process.

Arlington’s snow response is currently in Phase 2, meaning that crews are focusing only on primary and secondary routes, not neighborhood streets.

More scenes from around town via social media, below.

Matt Blitz contributed to this report

0 Comments

A snow removal truck on Washington Blvd in Clarendon (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

If you didn’t already know, the brine lines on the roadways have told you by now: Arlington will likely see snow this weekend.

Residents have been regularly checking the forecast for days in anticipation of what is likely to be more winter weather. At this point, the forecast suggests we’ll see a few inches of snow starting Sunday afternoon, before a changeover to sleet, freezing rain and then plain rain.

“This will create very hazardous driving conditions for a time Sunday as roads will be frozen from cold air ahead of the storm,” according to the Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang.

Arlington started putting down brine yesterday (Thursday) afternoon and the county’s Department of Environmental Services recommends residents continue to check forecasts, look for updates on its social media and avoid travel during and in the hours after a storm. Residents can check in on road conditions through the county’s traffic cams and snow plow map.

The county will treat roadways and trails as snow begins to fall but won’t start to plow until there are at least 2 inches of snow. Crews will clear snow from all streets and county trails, with primary and secondary routes tackled first and neighborhood streets last.

“We should know more Friday in terms of whether the precipitation turns to rain with above-freezing temperatures into Monday,” DES spokesman Peter Golkin said. “The fact that Monday is a holiday will help with any large storm response because of less traffic. Crews need space and time clearing snow and ice.”

The Virginia Department of Transportation started putting brine down on state roadways after this morning’s commute.

https://twitter.com/VaDOTNOVA/status/1481699122587578373

0 Comments
Snow on the Yorktown High School sign announcing winter break (Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann)

Update at 12:45 p.m. — Roughly half or more of Arlington’s neighborhood streets have been cleared, according to the county’s snow removal map. ART bus routes are returning to normal service levels.

Earlier: It’s a snow day in Arlington, but getting around is not quite as treacherous as on Monday.

A smaller storm and more time to prepare have contributed to a much different situation on the roads.

About three inches of snow accumulation has been reported in Arlington — officially, 2.6 inches at National Airport — but cold temperatures have kept the snow light and fluffy. That compares to the 6.5-10 inches of snow from Monday’s storm, which started as rain and left a heavy wet layer of snow at the bottom.

Most primary and secondary routes seen on traffic cameras were clear as of 8:30 a.m.

Since 8 a.m., few significant traffic-related issues have been reported on police and fire radios.

Arlington County’s snow response remain in Phase 2 at last check, meaning crews are currently focusing on primary and secondary roads, leaving local roads snow-covered. Traffic cameras show visible pavement on most primary and secondary routes.

Bus service is running this morning, but on severe weather schedules. Both Arlington Transit and Metro have suspended a number of routes. The ART routes suspended as of publication include 53, 61, 62, 74, 75 and 84.

Arlington Public Schools are closed today for the fifth day in a row, joining other major local school systems in declaring Friday a snow day, while Arlington County government facilities will open today on a delay, at 10 a.m.

The rest of Friday is expected to be cold and windy, with a high near 30 and gusts up to 33 mph, according to the National Weather Service.

Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann

0 Comments

It’s been tough sledding, so to speak, for Arlington snow crews this week.

With the help of some milder temperatures, crews have nearly completed their snow removal effort following Monday’s winter storm. But with another storm looming tonight, threatening another 2-4 inches of snow, there will not be time to rest.

“Arlington crews continue to clear the remnants of Monday’s storm ahead of this next event, moving in tonight,” said Peter Golkin, spokesman for the county’s Dept. of Environmental Services. “They’re clearing intersections and turn lanes while pre-treating bridges and other key spots with brine and salt.”

Officials today revealed more details about the challenges the county faced in dealing with a major snowstorm during a Covid wave and at the end of a holiday weekend.

“Just a few days out, forecasts did not anticipate Monday’s event and the first indication of a significant weather event was issued Sunday morning at 4:30 a.m.,” Golkin recounted. “Arlington crews worked through Sunday to load salt spreader V-boxes, attach plows and mobilize equipment for the response as most Arlington equipment is multi-purpose as part of year-round operations.”

Indeed, as of Saturday (New Year’s Day) morning, two days before the storm, forecasters were only calling for “relatively light precipitation” and limited accumulation, in part because Sunday was expected to be warm and the precipitation would start as rain.

“Roads were not pretreated because the incoming Monday system, as forecast, began with heavy rain, which washes away brine, making it useless,” Golkin noted

By Monday evening, after 6-10 inches of snow fell, the county acknowledged what many locals observed: streets were not getting cleared as quickly as in past storms. While Arlington and other D.C. area jurisdictions don’t have the snow removal firepower of more northern locales with more frequent significant snow events, the plowing was taking longer than usual.

The county blamed “COVID19-related staffing shortages.”

“Our first Monday team was at approximately 50% of typical response, due to staffing shortages from the direct or collateral impact of COVID, plus the challenges of people returning from a scheduled holiday weekend,” Golkin said this morning. “Monday’s second shift starting at noon was further hampered when members who live far from Arlington got caught in traffic backups including at least eight stranded for more than 20 hours on I-95.”

“Our contractors for additional trucks had the same issues and were naturally in high demand across the region,” the spokesman added. “By Tuesday afternoon, we had mobilized above the 75% of County level for a typical big response and supplemented with contractor resources.”

Now with another storm looming, county and state officials are sounding a louder alarm — even with lower anticipated snowfall totals.

“With the National Weather Service calling for another significant round of winter weather making its way across Virginia Thursday night (Jan. 6) into Friday morning (Jan. 7), the Virginia State Police are encouraging Virginians to be weather aware… to plan ahead… and to avoid traveling during inclement conditions,” state police said today.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has even declared a preemptive state of emergency.

Read More

0 Comments

Morning Notes

Wednesday’s sunset in Westover (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

County Covid Testing Booth Still Closed — From Arlington County: “The @curative #COVID19 testing kiosk at Arlington Mill Community Center will be closed tomorrow, Jan 6, due to COVID-related staffing shortages. The kiosks at Court House Plaza and Virginia Highlands Park are scheduled to open at 9 AM. Thank you for your flexibility.” [Twitter]

APS Orders Tests for All Students, Staff — “We have ordered a supply of KN95 masks, particulate filters for an APS provided mask, and at-home rapid antigen test kits for every staff member and student. Supplies for these items are limited but we anticipate them soon and will send additional communication when available.” [Arlington Public Schools]

APS Custodians Clear School Sidewalks — From Arlington Public Schools yesterday afternoon, before the announcement that today would be another snow day: “Thank you custodians and grounds staff for clearing our walkways, roadways and buses to ensure a safe return to school!” [Twitter]

Flight Cancellations at National Airport — From NBC 4’s Adam Tuss yesterday: “MAJOR problems at @Reagan_Airport right now as flight cancellations and delays have piled up. One traveler just told me their flight was cancelled 5 times over 3 days. Airlines tell me there are staffing issues and the winter weather didn’t help. This is a SIGHT!” [Twitter]

Florida Men Stopped With Guns at DCA — “During a search of a Florida man’s carry-on bag on Dec. 28, TSA officers using an X-ray machine discovered an unloaded .40 caliber handgun and 116 bullets. On Saturday, TSA officers stopped another man at a DCA checkpoint with a .40 caliber handgun loaded with six bullets. In both unrelated cases, TSA officers alerted the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority police, who arrested the men and confiscated the guns an ammunition.” [Patch]

No County Board Tie-Breaker This Year — “State law allows the Arlington board to appoint a tie-breaker from within the ranks of the public. It also requires that, if the board does not want to do so, it must hold a vote to that effect at the start of each year. Board members dutifully voted down a tie-breaker at their Jan. 4 organizational meeting, which had been delayed a day due to inclement weather.” [Sun Gazette]

Photos of Aftermath of GW Parkway Crash — “#DCsBravest Fireboats assisted @ArlingtonVaFD as they conducted an extremely difficult rescue of a victim trapped in a car 70 feet down a cliff. Our Fireboat returned in daylight to retrieve gear and check vehicle stability. Photos show how challenging this rescue was.” [Twitter, Twitter, Patch]

It’s Thursday — Today will be partly sunny, with a high near 39. Sunrise at 7:27 a.m. and sunset at 5:01 p.m. Snow tonight and overnight, 2-4 inches of accumulation. After the snow, Friday will be sunny and breezy, with a high near 32. West wind 10 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 28 mph. [Weather.gov]

0 Comments
Snowy Clarendon on Monday (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

For the third day in a row, Arlington Public Schools students — and those that follow APS closures, like local preschools — will get another snow day.

The school system announced the closure shortly after 5 p.m., with the possibility of freezing rain in the forecast and with many neighborhood streets still covered in snow and ice.

From APS:

Due to current neighborhood road and sidewalk conditions, all schools and offices will be closed on Wed, January 5, 2022. APS is working with Arlington County to clear all roads as quickly as possible, and while most primary and secondary roads are clear, many neighborhood roads have not been plowed and are not passable by buses. Many sidewalks are still not safe for pedestrians. Crews are working extended shifts, with limited staffing available, to clear all roadways as quickly as possible.

Unless otherwise directed by their supervisors, custodial and maintenance staff should report to work at their scheduled time, and all custodians should report to work at 6 a.m. Extracurricular activities, 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.

Fairfax County, Alexandria, Prince William County and other public school systems have also already announced closures for Wednesday.

Arlington County’s snow plow map shows that only a portion of local roads have been cleared as of Tuesday evening. Many haven’t seen a single plow since the start of Monday’s winter storm. (The county prioritizes primary and secondary roads as part of its snow removal plan.)

“Hours of sun and temps above freezing today helped crews with the storm cleanup but work will continue on refreezing roads into the morning,” Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services tweeted tonight. “Avoid unnecessary travel, giving plows the needed space and time.”

Previously, the county said its plow crews were experiencing staffing shortages due to Covid cases.

Arlington snow plow map as of 6 p.m. on Tuesday. Uncleared streets are in red. (via Arlington County)
0 Comments
A crew shovels snow in Clarendon (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

If you have a sidewalk on your property, you now have less than 12 hours to clear away the snow and ice from it.

Arlington’s snow removal ordinance, approved in 2010, gives owners 36 hours to shovel public sidewalks adjacent to their property after a storm with more than six inches of snow accumulation.

According to the county website, that means the deadline is 2 a.m. tonight.

“A recent weather event has concluded and deposited snow/ice accumulations of more than 6 inches,” the county says. “Arlington’s sidewalk snow removal ordinance requires residents and businesses to clear adjacent public sidewalks of snow and ice by 2:00 A.M. on Wednesday, January 5, 2022.”

Those cleared sidewalks — and roads — could be icy by tomorrow morning, however. A period of light freezing rain is possible overnight, forecasters say.

From the National Weather Service:

244 PM EST Tue Jan 4 2022

…POTENTIAL WINTER COMMUTING HAZARD FOR THE BALTIMORE / WASHINGTON METRO AREAS WEDNESDAY MORNING…

There is a potential for hazardous commuting conditions for the Wednesday morning commute. A period of light freezing rain is POSSIBLE (a 30 to 50 percent chance) Wednesday morning across the Baltimore / Washington metro areas with a light glaze of ice possible on area roads.

If this threat does materialize during the Wednesday morning rush-hour, many roads could quickly turn icy. This could lead to dangerous traveling conditions, multiple accidents, and extensive delays.

If commuting Wednesday morning, be aware of the POSSIBILITY of significant travel disruptions. Plan ahead by allowing for extra travel time, and consider using public transportation and telework options.

Stay tuned for updates on this potential winter weather episode.

The freezing rain threat is greatest east of I-95, however, and Arlington was not included in a just-issued Winter Weather Advisory.

0 Comments
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.

0 Comments

Morning Notes

Snow Removal Ordinance in Effect — “A recent weather event has concluded and deposited snow/ice accumulations of less than 6 inches. Arlington’s sidewalk snow removal ordinance requires residents and businesses to clear adjacent public sidewalks of snow and ice by 1:00 PM on Wednesday, February 3.” [Arlington County]

More Back-to-School Dates Expected Soon — “We look forward to welcoming Level 2 Career & Technical Education students to the Arlington Career Center for hybrid/in-person instruction starting [today]. We continue to assess additional student return dates… The next group to return will be Level 2, PreK through second grade and countywide elementary special education students. Return dates for this group will be communicated at the Feb. 18 School Board meeting.” [Arlington Public Schools]

Arlington Rent Declines Slowing — “Arlington’s COVID- and shutdown-caused drop in apartment rents appears to be hitting bottom for now, according to new data from Apartment List, but the county’s rental market is still significantly more affordable than before the pandemic. For the year ending in January, rents in Arlington were down 14 percent from a year before… the drop from December to January was just 0.5 percent, lower than in preceding months.” [InsideNova]

Arlington Ranks No. 14 in ‘Walk-Friendly’ List — “About 30 years ago, Arlington took the lead in suburban redevelopment in Virginia, creating walkable urban areas around the metro system. Now that momentum has pushed Arlington (and its most walkable neighborhoods of Clarendon-Courthouse, Ballston-Virginia Square, and Lyon Village) into the top walkable cities — something we can expect to continue when Amazon moves in.” [MSN]

Hope’s Prison Oversight Bill Dies — From Del. Patrick Hope (D): “This is not the end — only the beginning. Every agency in Va must be transparent and accountable to the public which they serve. We will regroup and come back next session with a bill that prioritizes [Virginia Dept. of Corrections] oversight.” [Twitter]

Case of the Stray Hockey Sticks — A shipment of hockey sticks destined for the Washington Capitals practice facility in Ballston, to be used by new Caps acquisition Zdeno Chara, was apparently mis-delivered to a random New Jersey man’s home. [ESPN, Barstool Sports]

Bezos Relinquishing CEO Role at Amazon — “Jeff Bezos said Tuesday that he will step down as chief executive of Amazon, leaving the helm of the company he founded 27 years ago. Bezos will transition to the role of executive chair in the third quarter of this year, which starts July 1, the company said. Andy Jassy, the chief executive of Amazon Web Services, will take over as CEO of Amazon.” The company yesterday revealed designs for the second phase of its Arlington HQ2. [NBC News]

0 Comments

(Updated at 2:15 p.m.) Freezing temperatures and frozen precipitation overnight has made for slippery conditions around Arlington Monday morning.

With many locals working from home already, traffic around Arlington is light. Thanks to the efforts of snow crews, main roads are mostly wet and side streets have been treated. Few crashes have been reported since sunrise, but that might also be attributable to people staying at home.

Still, caution is being urged.

“Overnight crews have been treating known slick areas but caution is advised for those who must drive this morning. Go slow,” wrote Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services this morning.

County crews are currently in Phase 4 of the snow removal effort, “following up on problem areas, schools and other county facilities.” Many sidewalks, including those maintained by the county, are icy and treacherous.

https://twitter.com/NicoleMerleneVA/status/1356253856959750146

Both Arlington Transit and Metro buses are operating on modified schedules.

Due to the wintry conditions, residential trash and recycling collection has been cancelled today. Collection will resume tomorrow and take place a day after one’s normal waste collection day.

Another cancellation today: vaccine appointments. While the county worked throughout the weekend to reschedule the appointments of those formerly set to receive vaccines from Virginia Hospital Center, another round of cancellations is taking place today due to the weather.

“Due to the impending winter weather, the Arlington vaccine clinics scheduled for Monday, February 1 have been cancelled in the interest of client and staff safety,” says the county’s website. “ALL individuals who have scheduled times for Monday WILL be rescheduled as early as possible.”

That prompted the following Twitter exchange with County Board Chair Matt de Ferranti this morning.

Arlington Public Schools, meanwhile, has been mostly operating remotely, but even virtual students are not attending classes today as a result of a pre-scheduled grade preparation day. APS buildings, nonetheless, are closed for sports and other activities due to the weather.

While the bulk of the precipitation fell on Sunday, Arlington may see a bit more later today. A Winter Weather Advisory has been extended until 9 a.m. Tuesday, with forecasters warning of continued slippery conditions outside.

More from the National Weather Service:

…WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY NOW IN EFFECT UNTIL 9 AM EST TUESDAY…

* WHAT…MIXED PRECIPITATION. ADDITIONAL SNOW ACCUMULATIONS OF UP TO TWO INCHES AND ICE ACCUMULATIONS OF UP TO ONE TENTH OF AN INCH.

* WHERE…THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, PORTIONS OF CENTRAL, NORTHERN AND SOUTHERN MARYLAND AND NORTHERN VIRGINIA.

* WHEN…UNTIL 9 AM EST TUESDAY.

* IMPACTS…PLAN ON SLIPPERY ROAD CONDITIONS. THE HAZARDOUS CONDITIONS COULD IMPACT THE MORNING OR EVENING COMMUTE.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

SLOW DOWN AND USE CAUTION WHILE TRAVELING.

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.

Yesterday’s snowfall was Arlington’s biggest in two years, despite clocking in at a disappointing two inches of accumulation. It did, however, lead to plenty of outdoor fun for cooped-up kids, and some beautiful scenes across the county, like the one below.

0 Comments
×

Subscribe to our mailing list