It’s likely to be a colder-than-usual winter with slightly above average snowfall. That seems to be the general consensus of the D.C. area’s television meteorologists.
— Capital Weather Gang (@capitalweather) November 11, 2016
Regardless of exactly how much snow and ice accumulates, Arlington County says it’s prepared for this year’s winter.
Arlington has made a number of changes in the wake of the blizzard, and this year has stockpiled stockpiled 9,200 tons of road salt.
From a county press release:
After last year’s record-breaking winter, Arlington County is ready to take on the upcoming winter season. Although we can’t predict the weather, our crews have been preparing all year to make sure we can quickly make our roads, sidewalks, bus stops and trails safe and passable after a winter event.
Before, during and after a storm
Once the forecast calls for winter weather — snow, ice or freezing rain — Arlington crews follow our snow removal process and phases. They pre-treat main roads before a storm. During the storm, our priority is to keep main arteries passable for emergency vehicles and public transportation. After the storm, cleanup operations begin, which includes treating ice on the roadways.
The County has budgeted $1.387 million for FY16-17 snow operations. Our team includes 92 drivers and 46 trucks equipped with salt spreaders and plows. Additional contracting equipment is available depending upon the severity of the storm. We have stockpiled 9,200 tons of salt for roads.
What’s new this season?
- Piloting augmented deployment: For snow fall greater than 6-8 inches, we have contracted with more snow plow contractors to deploy plows into high risk residential areas even before primary and secondary roads are cleared.
- Refining our snow blower loaner program: We lend 25 snow blowers to civic associations and community groups. Based on feedback from residents, we have improved our snow blower loaner program by streamlining the application process, expanding outreach and extending training and support.
- Improving our snow issues form: We have updated the snow issues form to improve the user experience, better display messages and provide context to users if we are unable to address their report immediately.
- Expanding odd/even parking outreach: To help our snow plowing efforts, we will be encouraging residents to organize with their neighbors to park on one side of the road to allow snowplow operators to efficiently clear more of the street.
- Enhancing our snow training program: This year, we added training to make sure our crews are prepared. We also added specialized training which includes support functions for snow operations (e.g., chain shop, brine making, and snow-melter training).
Hitting the trails
The County will continue to clear trails and protected bicycle lanes this snow season as part of our commitment to supporting a transportation system with a range of options. The goal is to ensure accessibility and safety for all types of travel throughout a winter event. Updates will be posted through regular County snow communication channels, as well as on the BikeArlington Forum.
How you can help
Residents, too, play a role in dealing with the fallout of winter weather. The County’s Snow Removal Ordinance requires all Arlington property owners to clear snow and ice from public sidewalks adjacent to their property within a certain time frame. Here are some other ways residents can help with our snow removal efforts:
- Coordinate with neighbors to park cars on one side of the street, where feasible, or avoid on-street parking so snowplow operators can efficiently clear more of the streets
- Don’t park “head in” on cul-de-sacs so that plows have more room to maneuver
- Clear your sidewalks and scoop snow towards your house, not the street, BUT
- Wait for snow plows to come by before clearing snow from the front of driveways, to minimize the amount pushed back by plows
- Stay home, telework or use mass transit to reduce the number of potentially stranded vehicles
- Apply only the recommended amount of chemical de-icers on sidewalks to attain a safe and passable way
- Stay connected through our Snow and Ice Central webpage and our DES social media platforms for updates on snow phases, transportation, trash and other important notifications. Follow us on Twitter @ArlingtonDES and on Facebook at Arlington County Environmental Services.
Residents should report snow-related problems through the “Report a Snow Issue” form found on the Snow and Ice Central webpage.
Flickr pool photo by John Williams
That’s nearly $4 million more than was spent the previous winter, when the county almost ran out of salt due to a succession of snow storms.
The total roadway snow removal expenditure — the figures quoted here do not include removing snow from bus shelters or sidewalks — for Fiscal Year 2015 was only $2.7 million, according to Arlington County. As of April 25, the FY 2016 bill was $6.5 million, about $5 million of which was associated with the cleanup from January’s Snowzilla blizzard, as the county revealed last month.
Why was this year’s bill so much higher? It’s mostly attributable to equipment rental costs, we’re told.
“The majority of this cost increase was associated with heavy contract equipment used during the January 22-29, 2016 blizzard,” explained Mike Moon, Chief Operating Officer of Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services.
“The amount of contract equipment deployed for this event far exceeded the requirements for the previous year and cost more than $4.0 million,” Moon continued. “With more than two feet of snow, heavy contract equipment was needed for the effort, which included hauling snow in our commercial corridors (Rosslyn, Ballston, Crystal City).”
Last month Arlington said that it can potentially recoup $2 million from federal disaster assistance funds, though the reimbursement process is a lengthy one.
Arlington County Manager Mark Schwartz said in March that the county is considering changes to its snow removal efforts in the wake of January’s blizzard. Among the changes being considered is the purchase of additional heavy equipment and a new snow melter.
Flickr pool photo (top) by Starbuck77
Snowzilla Cost Arlington $5 Million — The total cost of January’s blizzard to Arlington County is close to $5 million, the county said yesterday. Of that, Arlington believes that it can recoup $2 million from federal disaster assistance funds, though reimbursement process is a lengthy one. [Arlington County]
Young Republicans to Meet With Gun Store Owner — The Arlington-Falls Church Young Republicans will hear from the owner of NOVA Armory, the new gun store in Lyon Park, at their meeting on Monday. The meeting will be open to AFCYR members only — much like a Lyon Park community meeting on the store was open only to residents. The Arlington County Republican Committee, meanwhile, passed a resolution last night in support of the store, stating that the local GOP “stands with gun stores such as NOVA Armory that are engaged in lawful commerce.” [Facebook]
Metro Shutdown and Bus Stigma — Did yesterday’s shutdown of the Metrorail system help some commuters overcome perceived “bus stigma?” Given the longer lines around bus stops, bus ridership was definitely up. [Mobility Lab]
It’s much diminished from its post-blizzard glory, but the big snow pile next to the Ballston mall parking garage is still hanging on despite temperatures well into the 70s.
The snow pile was melting steadily when we visited it yesterday afternoon. The ground around it was gray, from the dirt deposited as the glacier-like pile recedes.
The pile was created by local snow crews, which dumped the snow they were removing from roads there and in a number of other locations around Arlington.
With a high of 80 predicted today and tomorrow, the snow pile may not be long for this world. Which means it won’t match the longevity of its snow pile cousin — which survived until April in the same location six years ago.
The National Weather Service is warning of a potentially slippery AM commute, with 1-3 inches of snow expected to fall overnight.
… WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 10 PM THIS EVENING TO 10 AM EST FRIDAY…
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON HAS ISSUED A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY FOR SNOW… WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 10 PM THIS EVENING TO 10 AM EST FRIDAY.
* PRECIPITATION TYPE… SNOW.
* ACCUMULATIONS… ONE TO THREE INCHES… TWO TO FOUR INCHES ACROSS SOUTHERN MARYLAND.
* TIMING… PRECIPITATION WILL MOVE INITIALLY AS A RAIN AND SNOW MIX EARLY THIS EVENING… TRANSITIONING TO ALL SNOW LATE THIS EVENING. SNOW IS EXPECTED OVERNIGHT… IMPACTING THE MORNING COMMUTE… EVENTUALLY TAPERING OFF BY MIDDAY FRIDAY.
* IMPACTS… THE SNOW WILL CAUSE SLIPPERY ROADS… RESULTING IN HAZARDOUS TRAVEL CONDITIONS.
* WINDS… EAST 5 TO 10 MPH WITH GUSTS UP TO 20 MPH.
* TEMPERATURES… IN THE LOWER 30S.
A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY FOR SNOW MEANS THAT PERIODS OF SNOW WILL CAUSE PRIMARILY TRAVEL DIFFICULTIES. BE PREPARED FOR SNOW COVERED ROADS AND LIMITED VISIBILITIES… AND USE CAUTION WHILE DRIVING.
Arlington County is planning to begin pretreating roads later tonight.
We aren't pretreating roads until 8pm tonight since rain is expected this evening. Crews will be out overnight and in the am, too. #arlwx
— Arlington DES (@ArlingtonDES) March 3, 2016
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
One day ago, Arlington was a frigid winter wonderland, with several inches of snow on the ground. There were dogs playing and kids sledding during the day, and a dangerous glaze of ice courtesy of freezing rain at night.
Today, as of Tuesday afternoon, the temperature was in the mid-40s, most of the snow and ice is gone or turned to slush, and some blue sky can even be seen outside.
In memory of the short-lived Presidents Day winter blast, here are some photos from our Flickr pool contributors, and some tweets from our Twitter followers.
— Russell Imrie (@tweedyBard) February 15, 2016
— Sarah Schoenfelder (@sarah_sojo) February 15, 2016
— Katie (@KatieKkb) February 16, 2016
— Andrea Wilkinson (@adubyailkinson) February 16, 2016
APS announced the cancellation decision around 4:30 a.m, as most roads and sidewalks were still icy from freezing rain. Fairfax County Public Schools and many other local school systems made the same call, although D.C. Public Schools are only on a two hour delay.
All APS Schools will be closed and offices will open at Noon. Essential personnel should report to work at their scheduled time. Extracurricular activities, interscholastic 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 operations go to www.arlingtonva.us.
As of 7:30 a.m., some streets and sidewalks were still treacherous, even as the freezing rain had changed over to plain rain earlier in the morning. As the temperature quickly warms into the 50s, the slick spots are becoming slushy and then melting completely.
The rain will be heavy at times today and some localized flooding is expected. The National Weather Service has issued.
* THROUGH THIS EVENING
* A LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM WILL MOVE ACROSS THE REGION TODAY. THIS WILL RESULT IN RAIN… WHICH WILL BE HEAVY AT TIMES DURING THE FIRST HALF OF THE DAY. RAINFALL TOTALS ACROSS THE WATCH AREA ARE EXPECTED TO RANGE BETWEEN 0.50 TO 1.0 INCHES ACROSS SOUTHERN MARYLAND TO THE INTERSTATE 95 CORRIDOR TO 1.00 TO 1.50 INCHES WEST OF THE INTERSTATE 95 CORRIDOR. THE HEAVIEST RAINS ARE EXPECTED OVER THE BLUE RIDGE MOUNTAINS AND NORTH CENTRAL AND WESTERN MARYLAND. THIS HEAVY RAINFALL COUPLED WITH SNOW MELT WILL LEAD TO THE POTENTIAL OF SMALL STREAMS AND TRIBUTARIES IN THE WATCH AREA TO OVERFLOW THEIR BANKS.
* SMALL STREAMS AND TRIBUTARIES MAY OVERFLOW THEIR BANKS. ADDITIONALLY… URBAN AREAS PRONE TO POOR DRAINAGE WILL BE SUSCEPTIBLE TO FLOODING. THE TIME FOR THE GREATEST THREAT OF FLOODING WILL BE FROM TUESDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH TUESDAY EVENING.
The federal government is under a three hour delay today, with an unscheduled telework option for employees, the Office of Personnel Management announced. Arlington County government and courts, however, are opening on time, with unscheduled leave and telework options for employees, with a supervisor’s approval.
The county’s Dept. of Parks and Recreation, meanwhile, announced the following cancellations and delays.
- Congregate meal programs located at Arlington Mill, Langston and Walter Reed are canceled.
- All Early Childhood Programs (Preschool and Co-ops) are canceled.
- DPR elementary or teen afterschool programs are canceled.
- All Enjoy Arlington classes, 55+ classes, trips and nature center programs are canceled.
- Sports league activities in APS standalone buildings are canceled.
- Sports league activities in County facilities will proceed as scheduled based on weather conditions and the status of snow removal.
- Gunston Community Center will open at 2 p.m. for normal operating hours.
- Madison Center will open at 5 p.m. for normal operating hours.
- Carver and Drew Community Centers will open at 6 p.m. for normal operating hours.
- All other community centers, including joint use facilities located at Arlington Mill, Carver, Langston and Thomas Jefferson will open at noon.
County and state road crews are working to keep main roads clear as the snow falls today, but VDOT says conditions may get worse tonight when snow changes to sleet and freezing rain.
VDOT is advising drivers to stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary, particularly this afternoon. From a press release:
Virginia Department of Transportation crews continue to plow snow and treat roads across northern Virginia. Drivers are urged to stay home, as snow bursts quickly cover pavement between plow passes, and conditions are likely to deteriorate this afternoon when snow transitions to sleet and freezing rain. Through the evening, pavement temperatures are expected to remain several degrees colder than air temperatures, so that any precipitation will quickly freeze.
Close to 4,000 trucks will remain on duty through the day and overnight.
As Monday holidays tend to be popular travel days, VDOT asks that drivers strongly consider adjusting travel plans to avoid icy conditions.
If travel is absolutely necessary:
- Check www.511virginia.org or the mobile app before leaving for latest road conditions.
- Watch for black ice; brake and accelerate gently.
- Ensure headlights are on, windshield wipers are in good condition and fluid is full.
- Slow down and allow snow crews the right of way.
- Report road hazards or ask questions – 800-FOR-ROAD (800-367-7623) or report a problem.
About 4-6 inches of snow accumulation is expected in Arlington today as a winter storm makes its way through the area.
The snow is expected to transition to sleet, freezing rain and then just rain tonight. The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for the area (below).
Thanks to today’s federal and state holiday, schools and county government offices are closed today. In addition, trash and recycling collection has been canceled in Arlington and all school buildings, athletic events and activities are canceled.
“Drivers should avoid unnecessary travel if possible,” Arlington County advises.
Metrobus, meanwhile, is operating under a severe service plan.
From the National Weather Service:
… WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT UNTIL 4 AM EST TUESDAY…
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON HAS ISSUED A WINTER STORM WARNING FOR SNOW AND FREEZING RAIN… WHICH IS IN EFFECT UNTIL 4 AM EST TUESDAY. THE WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IS NO LONGER IN EFFECT.
* PRECIPITATION TYPE… SNOW… SLEET AND FREEZING RAIN.
* ACCUMULATIONS… SNOW ACCUMULATION OF 4 TO 6 INCHES… ALONG WITH AROUND A TENTH OF AN INCH OF ICE.
* TIMING… SNOW WILL CHANGE TO SLEET AND FREEZING RAIN THIS AFTERNOON… AND ALL FREEZING RAIN THIS EVENING. PRECIPITATION WILL GRADUALLY CHANGE TO RAIN LATE TONIGHT.
* WINDS… SOUTHEAST 10 TO 15 MPH.
* TEMPERATURES… IN THE LOW 20S… RISING TO THE LOWER 30S THIS AFTERNOON… AND ABOVE FREEZING BY LATE TONIGHT.
* IMPACTS… SNOW AND ICE WILL CAUSE SLIPPERY ROADS AND TRAVEL WILL BE DIFFICULT.
A WINTER STORM WARNING MEANS SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF SNOW… SLEET… AND ICE ARE EXPECTED OR OCCURRING. STRONG WINDS ARE ALSO POSSIBLE. THIS WILL MAKE TRAVEL VERY HAZARDOUS OR IMPOSSIBLE.
Forget the Winter Weather Advisory for an evening rush hour snowfall on Friday, which turned out to be a bust, the National Weather Service says some really messy winter weather will hit Arlington and the D.C. area on Monday.
NWS has issues a Winter Weather Advisory for Arlington, warning of the potential for several inches of snow followed by freezing rain on Monday.
… WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 1 AM MONDAY TO 10 AM EST TUESDAY…
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON HAS ISSUED A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY FOR SNOW… SLEET AND FREEZING RAIN… WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 1 AM MONDAY TO 10 AM EST TUESDAY.
* PRECIPITATION TYPE… SNOW… SLEET AND FREEZING RAIN.
* ACCUMULATION… 3 TO 5 INCHES OF SNOW AND SLEET. AROUND ONE-TENTH OF AN INCH OF ICE FROM FREEZING RAIN.
* TIMING… SNOW WILL BEGIN BETWEEN 1 AND 3 AM MONDAY MORNING. SNOW WILL CHANGE TO SLEET AND FREEZING RAIN MONDAY AFTERNOON… AND ALL FREEZING RAIN MONDAY EVENING. PRECIPITATION WILL GRADUALLY CHANGE TO RAIN LATE MONDAY NIGHT INTO TUESDAY MORNING.
* WINDS… SOUTHEAST AROUND 5 TO 10 MPH.
* TEMPERATURES… IN THE TEENS TONIGHT… RISING INTO THE UPPER 20S TO LOWER 30S MONDAY INTO MONDAY NIGHT. TEMPERATURES WILL RISE INTO THE MID AND UPPER 40S TUESDAY.
* IMPACTS… SNOW AND ICE WILL CAUSE SLIPPERY ROADS AND TRAVEL WILL BE DIFFICULT.
A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY MEANS THAT PERIODS OF SNOW… SLEET… OR FREEZING RAIN WILL CAUSE TRAVEL DIFFICULTIES. BE PREPARED FOR SLIPPERY ROADS AND LIMITED VISIBILITIES… AND USE CAUTION WHILE DRIVING.
Ahead of tonight’s potentially disruptive snow, Arlington Public Schools has cancelled all evening activities.
The National Weather Service has issued a warning for icy road conditions today from 5pm to 11pm and encourages everyone to adjust their travel plans during this time. As a result of the forecast for rush hour this evening, all APS Late Athletic Buses as well as all APS evening activities are cancelled for today. Tonight’s Summer Activities Fair is also canceled and will be held next Friday, Feb. 19. The APS Extended Day Program will close at the regular time, but parents are encouraged to pick up their children earlier if possible.
The cancelled activities include athletic events, like tonight’s scheduled Wakefield High School basketball games and senior night.
Also tonight, Arlington County community centers will be closing at 5 p.m. That and other cancellations from the Arlington Dept. of Parks and Recreation:
- The Summer Camp Fair scheduled at Thomas Jefferson Community Center tonight at 6 p.m. is canceled.
- All community centers (joint use and standalone) will close for the evening at 5 p.m.
- All Enjoy Arlington classes, 55+ classes, trips and nature center programs in all buildings with start times of 4 p.m. or later are canceled.
- All Sports activities, leagues and instructional programs are canceled for this evening.
- DPR Elementary and Teen After-school Programs will close at 5 p.m.
- All other events and activities scheduled after 5 p.m. this evening are canceled.
- All synthetic fields are closed for this evening.
- Powhatan Springs Skate park closed after 5 p.m.
The snow is currently not expected to start falling in Arlington until around 8 p.m. From the Capital Weather Gang:
— Capital Weather Gang (@capitalweather) February 12, 2016
In a press release, VDOT says that motorists should “use extreme caution” tonight.
Snow showers are expected to begin as early at 5 p.m. and accumulation is likely given the frigid temperatures.
Although a three-day weekend is on the horizon, motorists are asked to finish trips in northern Virginia by early afternoon today, says the Virginia Department of Transportation, or plan to use extreme caution during the evening rush hour. With below-freezing temperatures in place and snow showers expected to begin as early as 5 p.m., VDOT will have 1,150 trucks deployed to continually treat roads by early afternoon. Crews began treating roads in advance yesterday and are finishing mid-day today.
What drivers should know
- Snow showers are expected to begin as early as 5 p.m., with temperatures well below freezing through the night.
- Drivers are asked to leave early today if possible to be off the road prior to the storm, to avoid icy conditions and give crews room to work.
- If driving is necessary, be alert possible icy conditions. Reduce speeds, increase following distance, and brake gently. Plan now to allow extra time for a slow and extremely cautious trip.
- Icy conditions are possible through the rush hour and overnight; with icy patches possible through the weekend given the low temperatures forecasted.
Check www.511virginia.org or the mobile app before leaving for road conditions.
Arlington County is also encouraging “caution” on the roads tonight.
#ArlWX We'll have crews out this afternoon into the night treating roads. Please exercise caution as you head out for your evening commute.
— Arlington DES (@ArlingtonDES) February 12, 2016
— Capital Weather Gang (@capitalweather) February 12, 2016
Snow Possible During PM Commute — Another “flurrypocalypse” is possible during tonight’s evening commute. Forecasters say some snowfall is possible durning rush hour, and the frigid temperatures could allow enough snow accumulation for a repeat of the nightmare commute of Jan. 20. Road crews, however, say they’re ready. [Capital Weather Gang, Twitter, Twitter]
What To Do If Someone Needs Shelter — With bitter, possibly record cold temperatures expected this weekend, Arlington County says residents should call the county’s Homeless Services Center at 703-228-1010 if they know of anyone who needs shelter from the elements. [Twitter]
Long-Time Electoral Board Member Reappointed — Allen Harrison, Jr. has served on the Arlington Electoral Board for 29 years and was just reappointed in time for the March 1 presidential primary. Harrison, who is the Republican representative on the Board, is thinking about resigning before the November general elections. He’s the second-longest-serving Electoral Board member in Arlington history. [InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
Arlington County has released a behind-the-scenes look at its battle against “Snowzilla” last month.
With the help of snowplows, a snow melting machine and other equipment, workers cleared 2.37 million cubic yards from area streets during the January blizzard. That’s enough to fill 47 football fields with 30 feet of snow.
But “fatigue becomes a big issue,” Mark Gundersen, the county’s operations manager, said in the video. Snow removal crews worked 12-hour shifts for seven consecutive days, he noted.
“We have great pride in all our staff,” Gundersen said. “The staff has great pride in what they do, and it shows in their work.”
Image via YouTube/Arlington County
Arlington residents unhappy with the county’s snow removal efforts during last month’s blizzard are getting an opportunity to share their frustration with local officials.
The county is set to host a public “Snow Forum” at Key Elementary (2300 Key Blvd) in two weeks on Wednesday, Feb. 24. The discussion is scheduled to run from 7 to 9 p.m.
“We’re asking people to tell us about their experiences during and after Snowzilla, and to offer suggestions for how we can improve our efforts to quickly recover from snow and ice events,” Arlington County Manager Mark Schwartz said in a statement.
Those who were happy with the snow removal effort can, of course, also weigh in.
In addition to the event, the county is also asking locals to fill out its online snow survey by next Friday, Feb. 19. Officials will share results from the questionnaire at the meeting.
Residents can register for the forum online.
Photo via Arlington County