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 6:45 p.m.) Some local roads around Arlington are becoming snow-covered as moderate-to-heavy snow continues fall into the early evening hours.

Early dismissals for the federal government and local schools resulted in an early rush hour, with I-66, I-395 and Columbia Pike jammed as of 2:45 p.m. Conditions have since improved somewhat, but slow traffic remains on large portions of 395 in Arlington.

Some 1-2 inches of wet snow is expected to fall before the flakes start tapering off around 5 p.m.

“Snow is getting heavier and visibility is dropping,” VDOT said this afternoon. “There’s not much accumulation on the roads, but even a little bit can causes spin outs if people drive like it’s a dry road. We’ve got lots of trucks out treating, but plan for a longer commute.”

ART and Metro buses are continuing to operate on a normal weekday service schedule, though ART warned of “minor delays depending on weather conditions this evening and overnight as snow, and any remaining rain may freeze.”

Most Arlington County facilities and offices remained open this afternoon, though county-run recreational programs after 2 p.m. were cancelled. Trash and recycling collection were suspended for the rest of the day earlier this afternoon.

Though arterial routes and highways were mostly wet, local officials encouraged anyone on the roads to take caution.

“As they head home, commuters and drivers should exercise caution and know the safety rules for dealing with winter road emergencies,” AAA Mid-Atlantic said in a press release. “Some research suggests the first snowy day of the year is ‘substantially more dangerous’ for drivers. What’s more, some earlier research revealed some drivers are ‘more likely to become involved in a crash during the first snowfall of the season compared to other snow days.’ Even so, ‘the first winter storms of the season usually result in numerous crashes because people fail to adjust their driving habits to the road conditions,’ area police and transportation officials advise.”

More from Virginia State Police:

Virginians are still advised to do the following if traveling today:

  • Use headlights. Increasing your visibility helps you to avoid slick and dangerous spots on the road, as well as helps other drivers see you better. Also, it’s a state law that if the windshield wipers are active, then headlights must be on.
  • Slow your speed. Though state police works closely with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) to identify problem areas on Virginia’s highways during storms, drivers still must drive for conditions. Slowing your speed gives you more time to safely react and avoid a crash. Drive your vehicle based on your ability to properly maintain control of your vehicle.
  • Don’t tailgate. You need increased stopping distance on slick road surfaces. Give yourself more space between vehicles traveling ahead of you in order to avoid rear end collisions.
  • Buckle Up. Most crashes that occur during winter weather are caused by vehicles sliding into guardrails, off the road or other vehicles. Wearing your seat belt protects you from being thrown around the inside of your vehicle and suffering serious injury in a crash.
  • Check Your Vehicle. Make sure your vehicle is in good working order for the conditions. Fill up the tank in advance. Check windshield wipers, windshield wiper fluid, tire tread, battery life, etc.
  • Don’t leave home without a window scraper, blanket, bottled water, snack, cell phone charger and flashlight.

Forecasters and local officials are warning of a freeze overnight that could turn roads and sidewalks icy, in time for the morning commute.

Some photos above are via users on our Facebook page. Additional snow photos around Arlington, via Twitter, are below after the jump.

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Update at 4:15 p.m. — See the latest snow updates and photos here.

Update at 12:55 p.m. — Arlington County government offices and facilities are remaining open for the time being, but parks department programs in school and park facilities are cancelled after 2 p.m., the county says.

Update at 11:35 a.m. — Arlington Public Schools is dismissing two hours early tonight, as the onset of snow may be earlier than originally expected. From APS:

All APS schools and offices will close two hours early today. All essential employees should work their usual shifts. The Extended Day Program will stay open until 4 p.m.  Extracurricular activities, games, team practices, field trips, adult education classes, and programs in schools and on school grounds are canceled.

Update at 11 a.m. — Arlington County says it’s salting bridges and hills in anticipation of the snow. The Office of Personnel Management, meanwhile, says federal offices will have an early dismissal by 1 p.m. today.

Earlier: A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect from noon to 7 p.m. today, as the D.C. region braces for the first significant snowfall of the season.

The snow is expected to start falling this afternoon and to impact the evening rush hour. Fairfax County and other school systems have announced early dismissals today, though as of 9:45 a.m. Arlington had not made any such announcement.

Some 1-2 inches of snow is expected locally.

More from the National Weather Service:

…WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM NOON TODAY TO 7 PM EST THIS EVENING… * WHAT…WET SNOW EXPECTED. TOTAL SNOW ACCUMULATIONS AN INCH OR TWO. * WHERE…IN DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. IN VIRGINIA, ARLINGTON/FALLS CHURCH/ALEXANDRIA. * WHEN…FROM NOON TO 7 PM EST TUESDAY. THE HEAVIEST SNOW IS EXPECTED BETWEEN 3 PM AND 6 PM TUESDAY AFTERNOON INTO EARLY TUESDAY EVENING. * IMPACTS…SNOW COVERED AND SLIPPERY ROADS ARE EXPECTED, ESPECIALLY NORTHWEST OF INTERSTATE 95 INTO THE EVENING COMMUTE. * ADDITIONAL DETAILS…SNOW RATES COULD EXCEED ONE INCH PER HOUR WITH VISIBILITY AROUND ONE-HALF MILE AT TIMES. 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. &&

VDOT says it is pretreating local roads and highways. The transportation agency is advising drivers to be careful on the roads tonight and to consider leaving work early.

VDOT Asks Drivers To:

Continue to closely monitor weather, as forecasts can improve or worsen quickly. Stay tuned to local media for the real-time status of weather bands before traveling, due to the likelihood for limited visibility.

If road conditions become hazardous, delay travel for your safety and to give trucks time to treat roads. Leave earlier or delay trips to avoid driving during the height of the storm.

Before traveling, check road conditions along your route at www.511virginia.org, on the free app for Apple and Android, or call 511 from any phone in Virginia.

Be aware of the potential for slick spots on areas prone to freezing such as bridges, ramps and overpasses.

Allow extra time for trips, brake lightly and allow plenty of following distance. Ensure enough gas and plenty of wiper fluid, proper tires, medication, an emergency car kit, and always use your headlights.

Give trucks plenty of room to work, because they are large, heavy and slow.

More via social media:

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Morning Notes

Robbery at Lyon Park 7-Eleven — “At approximately 2:30 a.m. on January 3, police were dispatched to the report of an armed robbery. Upon arrival, it was determined that two suspects entered a business and forced two employees behind the counter. Suspect One displayed an object that appeared to be a knife, pushed an employee towards the cash register and forced him to open it, then stole an undisclosed amount of cash and other merchandise.” [Arlington County]

Basketball Refs Still Haven’t Been Paid — “Having been rapped for a lethargic response, Arlington government leaders appear to be ramping up efforts to resolve a lingering dispute over missing payments to referees in the county’s youth-basketball leagues. ‘We will get this done ASAP – by Feb. 1 at the latest,’ said County Board member Matt de Ferranti, who in recent months has been involved in the effort to sort out the situation and get the referees paid.” [InsideNova]

Firefighters Watch ‘Bachelor’ Premiere — “What do firefighters do when it’s late and there’s a break between calls? They have a @BachelorABC viewing party, of course! And in case of any ‘turbulence,’ we are always ready to respond!” [Twitter]

Tracking Bachelor Reaction in Clarendon — Former Bachelorette contestant Chris Bukowski, writing from his Clarendon bar: “At @BracketRoomVA for a viewing party and Hannah B easily got the biggest ovation when she came out of the limo. #TheBachelor” [Twitter]

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(Updated at 3:55 p.m.) Though it’s likely to be more wet than wild in Arlington, Wednesday morning’s commute may still be made more difficult by snow.

Up to an inch of snow is expected to fall overnight, though temperatures are expected to stay above freezing. Roads are expected to remain mostly clear locally, but the first snowfall of the season may nonetheless cause some concerns for motorists during the morning rush.

More from the National Weather Service:

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

There is a potential for hazardous commuting conditions for the Wednesday morning commute. A period of accumulating snow is POSSIBLE Wednesday morning across the Baltimore MD/Washington DC metro areas, with up to an inch of snow accumulation possible on area roads, with the highest chances north and west of Interstate 95.

If this threat does materialize during the Wednesday morning rush-hour, many roads could quickly turn slippery and visibility may be reduced. 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.

VDOT and Arlington County’s Dept. of Environmental Services say crews are not able to pre-treat roads due to today’s rain, but will begin mobilizing tonight in preparation of the snow.

“Salt crews will standby overnight to treat bridges and steep slope arterials if necessary,” said DES via Twitter.

VDOT is urging drivers to be cautious once the flakes starts falling.

The worst of the weather is expected north of the immediate metro area. Arlington is outside the area of a Winter Weather Advisory issued Tuesday afternoon.

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Morning Notes

NAACP Slams APS Diversity Czar Process —  “The Arlington school system’s effort to appoint a diversity czar has run into a buzzsaw of criticism from the county’s major civil-rights organization. The two co-chairs of the Arlington NAACP’s education committee took to the Dec. 5 School Board meeting to complain that the selection process was leaving out many of those the position is designed to support.” [InsideNova]

Snow Likely Overnight — “Temperatures are poised to leap to near 60 degrees Tuesday, and it won’t feel at all like it could snow. But, in a flash, that will change. An Arctic front charging to the East Coast will switch our weather from fall-like to winterlike in a matter of hours, setting the stage for possible wet snow overnight Tuesday into early Wednesday morning.” [Capital Weather Gang, Twitter]

Yorktown in Xmas Choir Competition — “Vote Now! The @yhschoir is a finalist in 97.1 WASH FM’s Christmas Choir Competition. The top prize is $5,000!” [Twitter, WASH-FM]

Local Bus Routes on Chopping Block — Metro is considering cutting or restructuring a number of local bus routes as part of its new, proposed budget. Among the Arlington bus routes that could be cut are the 5A, 16G, 22A and 22C. [WTOP]

Wardian Attempts Elvis Record — “Local ultramarathoner Michael Wardian has unfortunately failed to re-capture the world record time for the fastest marathon run while dressed as Elvis.” [Canadian Running]

Letter: County Shouldn’t Rescue Fallen Phones — “I question whether retrieving personal property is really an appropriate use of Arlington County resources. It must have cost significantly more than the value of the phone to provide the personnel for the recovery effort. As an Arlington County taxpayer, I resent that.” [Washington Post]

Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick

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Morning Notes

A Few Flakes Expected Tonight — “In the evening, precipitation will probably take the form of scattered snow showers over most of the region, ending before midnight. Little to no accumulation is expected.” [Capital Weather Gang, Twitter/@NWS_BaltWash]

Kudos to the Leaf Collectors — “Hats of to these guys. Leaf collectors jumping out of their truck to help my elderly neighbor rake her leaves.” [Twitter/@KathieNotnow]

Heavy Traffic at DCA — Sunday, which was said to be the busiest travel day of the year, saw big backups on the roads at and around Reagan National Airport. [Twitter/@LukeBerndt, Twitter/@EvanLambertTV]

Arlington Seeking Park Ranger — “Arlington County Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) currently has a vacancy for Park Ranger… Park Rangers patrol designated Arlington County Parks; provide visitor information and programming services; support other County programs (maintenance, sports, recreation); and… help ensure park security and visitor safety.” [Washington Post]

Yorktown Falls in Regional Final — “It was no easy path for the Yorktown Patriots finishing second in the region tournament. After a five-point first-round victory, third-seeded Yorktown (11-2) knocked off the host and second-seed Madison Warhawks, 25-10, in the semifinals. Then Nov. 30, Yorktown fell to the juggernaut, top seed, host and undefeated Westfield Bulldogs, 35-7, in the 6D North Region Tournament high-school football title game.” [InsideNova]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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In time for the holiday season, but before there’s any measurable snow in the forecast, Arlington officials have unveiled a new snow plowing map intended to track snow clearing activity in the county.

The map is the successor to a previous online snow cleaning map — which didn’t work correctly, caused confusion following a blizzard in 2016 and was ultimately removed from the county website.

The new map is not perfect, County Manager Mark Schwartz acknowledged during a presentation at Tuesday’s County Board meeting, but should prove useful and reflects an “innovation culture” in county government.

The map does not represent whether a street is clear of snow, but instead shows snow plow activity down to the street level. It also links to Arlington’s traffic cameras.

The map is not currently active and will have other limitations during snow events. It displays data on a 15 minute delay, for instance, and will not reflect activity by plows contracted by the county to respond to major snowfalls.

County officials touted other snow response changes during the meeting, including the use of new electric salt spreaders, which are said to be easier to use and maintain while also being more environmentally friendly than the old gasoline-powered spreaders.

The full Arlington County press release about its Winter 2019-2020 initial snow preparations is below, after the jump.

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Morning Notes

VHC to Take More Trauma Patients — “Virginia Hospital Center is preparing to become a trauma center. The Arlington hospital, now amid a major campus expansion, is taking steps to secure Level 2 trauma designation — meaning it could handle more serious cases like head injuries and complex fractures with a devoted response team, led by an in-house general surgeon.” [Washington Business Journal]

APS May Be Rethinking School Swap — “As the potentially contentious redistricting of elementary-school boundaries begins to take shape, Arlington school leaders may be tiptoeing away just slightly from somewhat radical suggestions they offered just weeks ago.” [InsideNova]

AWLA Rescues Kitten Near Pentagon –“We received a call about a car parked near the Pentagon, with a note under the windshield stating that there was a kitten up inside the engine. Using a mix of patience and really yummy cat food, our officers were able to safely remove the kitten and bring her back to the shelter.” [Facebook]

Arlington-Made App Highlighted by Apple — “In honor of Veterans Day, Arlington, Virginia-based Sandboxx, creator of a platform that keeps military families connected, is being featured in Apple’s app store as its App of the Day.” [Technically DC]

Arlington Co. Makes Best-for-Vets List — Ballston-based contractor CACI is on a new list of the Best Companies for Veterans. [Tysons Reporter, Monster]

Sullivan Selected as Caucus Chair — “Virginia Democrats on Saturday chose Eileen Filler-Corn to become speaker of the House of Delegates, a pick that managed to be both historic and conventional for a party that flipped both chambers of the General Assembly in elections Tuesday… Del. Charniele L. Herring (Alexandria) will be the new majority leader, becoming the first woman and the first African American to serve in that post. Del. Richard C. ‘Rip’ Sullivan Jr… will be caucus chairman.” [Washington Post, Blue Virginia]

First Flakes Today? — Some light “conversational” snow may fall today as a cold front passes through. Meanwhile, NBC 4’s Doug Kammerer expects this winter to be colder and snowier than usual. [Capital Weather Gang, NBC 4]

New Korean Chicken Eatery Near Fairlington — “Korean chicken restaurant Choong Man Chicken is coming to… Shoppes at Summit Centre (4700 King Street).” [ALXnow]

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

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Morning Notes

Local Dems Tout Big Wins — “Heading into the critical 2020 presidential race, we’re especially excited about the tremendous grassroots enthusiasm that fueled Democratic victories statewide. This historic victory belongs to the grassroots activists as much as it belongs to the Democratic Party.” [Press Release]

Leaf Collection Schedule Announced — Courthouse, Clarendon and other neighborhoods are on tap for Arlington County’s first vacuum leaf collection pass of the season, starting Monday. [Arlington County]

Amazon Gives to Some Local Pols — “In the Democratic leadership ranks, House Democratic Caucus Chair Del. Charniele Herring, D-Alexandria, received $1,000. Her district is just outside of Amazon’s new Arlington home. And the company sent $1,500 to Sen. Janet Howell, D-Reston, and $1,000 to Del. Patrick Hope, D-Arlington, who both represent Arlington neighborhoods a stone’s throw from HQ2.” [Washington Business Journal]

Walgreens Applying for Sign Permits Updated at 10:15 a.m. — Walgreens signs are going up on former Rite Aid stores across Arlington, after the chain acquired stores from its drug store competitor nearly two years ago. [Twitter]

Investment for Company With Arlington HQ — “CoreMedia, a global content management platform and developer of CoreMedia Content Cloud, is excited to announce that it has successfully partnered with OpenGate Capital, a global private equity firm, on a majority growth investment… Terms of the investment were not disclosed.” [PRNewswire via Potomac Tech Wire]

First Snow Possible Next Week — “Back-to-back Arctic cold fronts are predicted to sweep across the eastern United States over the next week, the second of which has a small chance to squeeze out some snowflakes in the Washington region late Monday and/or Tuesday.” [Capital Weather Gang]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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Morning Notes

Caps Player Abandons Car on Glebe Road — “Monday was media day for the Capitals, their first practice of the postseason. [Lars] Eller was on his way to MedStar Capitals Iceplex when suddenly, his car broke down… in the middle of Glebe Road.” [NBC Sports Washington]

Task Force Ices Snow Proposal — “Thirteen of the 14 voting members of the task force ‘do not believe the county has made the case that snow operations on [the large government parcel at Old Dominion Drive and 26th Street North] must be expanded, especially given the small number of annual major storms.'” [InsideNova]

ACPD Marks Alcohol Awareness Month — “Alcohol Awareness Month, recognized each April, is a public health program designed to increase outreach and education on the dangers of alcoholism and issues related to alcohol. More than 300 establishments in Arlington County hold Virginia ABC licenses permitting the serving and sale of alcohol.” [Arlington County]

Amazon May Pay for Public Transit — “Amazon has actively promoted the use of public transit, such as by paying the full cost of its employees’ fare cards for light rail, buses and ferries — a perk that it is considering extending to new employees in Arlington. The company boasts that only a quarter of its Seattle employees commute to work by driving solo. Nearly 1 in 3 use transit, and more than 1 in 5 walk.” [Washington Post]

Arlington Touts Bike Benefits — “The County continues to build on the bicycle’s unique ability to provide clean short- and medium-range transportation that requires far less infrastructure and resources compared to automobile traffic.” [Arlington County]

Water Main Repairs CompleteUpdated at 8:35 a.m. — Repairs to a burst 12-inch water main in Crystal City have been completed, but several roads in the area remain closed. The water main break cut water service to several buildings in the area, including a hotel. [Twitter]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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