County and VDOT crews are already pretreating roads ahead of the potentially snowy and slippery weather.
WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT TONIGHT TO 6 PM EST SATURDAY… 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 MIDNIGHT TONIGHT TO 6 PM EST SATURDAY. * PRECIPITATION TYPE… SNOW… SLEET… AND FREEZING RAIN. * ACCUMULATIONS… SNOW ACCUMULATION OF UP TO 1 INCH… ALONG WITH AROUND A TRACE OF ICE. * TIMING… LATE TONIGHT THROUGH SATURDAY. * IMPACTS… ICY PATCHES ON ROADS AND BRIDGES WILL MAKE TRAVEL DIFFICULT. * WINDS… EAST 5 MPH OR LESS. * TEMPERATURES… IN THE LOWER 30S. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY MEANS THAT PERIODS OF SNOW… SLEET… AND FREEZING RAIN WILL CAUSE TRAVEL DIFFICULTIES. BE PREPARED FOR SLIPPERY ROADS AND LIMITED VISIBILITIES… AND USE CAUTION WHILE DRIVING.
(Update at 2:15 p.m.) Arlington County is preparing for the possibility of snow, sleet and freezing rain on Saturday, though the exact forecast is still far from certain.
“Crews began pretreating roads yesterday and will continue today to prepare for the expected icy weather conditions on the roadways,” Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Katie O’Brien told ARLnow.com Friday morning.
“Due to the low confidence of this forecast, we are still analyzing the level of response that will be required” on Saturday, O’Brien continued. “A determination of resource levels and time of activation will be made this afternoon.”
VDOT, meanwhile, is encouraging drivers to stay off the roads in Northern Virginia on Saturday.
Virginia Department of Transportation and contract crews are preparing for plummeting temperatures and a gamut of winter weather forecast for northern Virginia this weekend, from early Saturday morning through Sunday morning.
Drivers are asked to monitor weather reports for the latest updates to avoid being on the road during periods of limited visibility or icy conditions. Stay off roads Saturday or delay trips until Sunday if possible, to avoid being caught in deteriorating conditions as weather transitions between snow, sleet and freezing rain through the day.
Crews began pretreating roads yesterday and will be staged roadside in the region by 10 p.m. tonight. Throughout Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William and Arlington* counties (*Arlington maintains own secondary roads) crews treat about 5,200 lane miles of interstates and other high-volume roads with liquid magnesium chloride or brine when conditions allow for winter weather. Learn more about northern Virginia’s snow preparations.
Why does VDOT ask drivers to stay home?
- Visibility will be limited during periods of snow.
- Freezing rain causes an ice glaze that is difficult to see. Black ice often looks like pavement that is simply wet, making it extremely hazardous for driving or walking.
- Four-wheel drive vehicles cannot stop any better than two-wheel drive vehicles on ice.
It could be deja vu if the weather does trend toward more freezing rain. Icy weather caused a number of crashes and other problems on the roads in Arlington less than a month ago, on Saturday, Dec. 17.
All the salt spread on local roads and sidewalks for Thursday night’s snow non-event may come in handy after all.
The National Weather Service has included Arlington in a Winter Weather Advisory. Up to three inches of snow are expected to fall Saturday morning.
From the NWS:
… WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 1 AM TO 1 PM EST SATURDAY… THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON HAS ISSUED A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY FOR SNOW… WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 1 AM TO 1 PM EST SATURDAY. * PRECIPITATION TYPE… SNOW. * ACCUMULATIONS… SNOW ACCUMULATION OF 1 TO 3 INCHES. * TIMING… LATE TONIGHT THROUGH EARLY SATURDAY AFTERNOON. * IMPACTS… SNOW ON ROADS WILL RESULT IN TRAVEL IMPACTS. * WINDS… NORTH 10 TO 15 MPH WITH GUSTS UP TO 20 MPH. * TEMPERATURES… IN THE MID 20S. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… 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. &&
Winter Weather Advisories for late tonight and Saturday expanded. Snow in the advisory approximately 1-3 inches, 3-6 inches in the warning. pic.twitter.com/irzUo7daBD
— NWS DC/Baltimore (@NWS_BaltWash) January 6, 2017
Arlington County brine trucks could be seen pretreating roads around Clarendon earlier this afternoon. VDOT, meanwhile, says it’s preparing for a potentially messy Thursday evening and Friday morning commute.
“Road crews are conducting anti-icing activities today and tomorrow,” VDOT said in a press release. “Please watch for crews as they stage along roads prior to the storm. Crews will treat roads with salt and sand as needed once the storm begins Thursday afternoon, plow in areas where and if snow totals reach two inches, and will remain on duty throughout the course of the storm.”
The snow is not expected to amount to much — maybe just a dusting to an inch. But even a small amount of snow could cause slippery conditions and virtual gridlock.
With snow expected tomorrow afternoon, crews have been pre-treating the roads today and will continue this evening and tomorrow. #ARLwx
— Arlington DES (@ArlingtonDES) January 4, 2017
Our first snow is almost here! Expect snow to impact Thurs PM & Fri AM rush. Check wx & modify trip times. https://t.co/nmHVmLCRGN
— VDOT Northern VA (@VaDOTNOVA) January 4, 2017
Hmmm, guess what's coming our way! pic.twitter.com/dptq5SHqHy
— Doug Kammerer (@dougkammerer) January 4, 2017
— Capital Weather Gang (@capitalweather) January 4, 2017
It might not be necessary with this storm, but Arlington County is urging residents this year to park in a parking lot or on the odd numbered side of local streets when it snows.
The county recently released the following video on the topic.
Forecasters are warning of a messy mix of wintry precipitation Saturday morning.
A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect starting at midnight tonight.
From the National Weather Service:
WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT TONIGHT TO 9 AM EST SATURDAY… * PRECIPITATION TYPE… SNOW… SLEET AND FREEZING RAIN. * ACCUMULATIONS… SNOW AND SLEET ACCUMULATIONS OF LESS THAN A HALF-INCH… ALONG WITH AROUND A TENTH OF AN INCH OF GLAZE ICE. * TIMING… PERIODS OF SNOW AND SLEET WILL OVERSPREAD THE REGION AFTER MIDNIGHT TONIGHT… THEN CHANGE TO FREEZING RAIN BEFORE DAWN SATURDAY MORNING. FREEZING RAIN WILL CHANGE TO RAIN AROUND MID-MORNING SATURDAY. * IMPACTS… HAZARDOUS TRAVEL IS EXPECTED DUE TO ICY ROADS AND WALKWAYS. * WINDS… SOUTH 10 TO 15 MPH WITH GUSTS UP TO 20 MPH. * TEMPERATURES… IN THE UPPER 20S LATER TONIGHT… RISING INTO THE 30S ON SATURDAY MORNING. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… 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. &&
Arlington County, meanwhile, says crews will be pre-treating roads ahead of the storm.
— ArlingtonVA (@ArlingtonVA) December 15, 2016
— ArlingtonVA (@ArlingtonVA) December 16, 2016
Luckily, the snow is not expected to start until well after rush hour — we all remember what happened the last time a light snowfall caught the region by surprise during the evening commute.
Regardless of the timing, it may be a good idea to stay off the roads during this first (potential) snow of the season.
Special Weather Statement…UPDATED
National Weather Service Baltimore MD/Washington DC
1110 AM EST Wed Dec 14 2016
…POTENTIAL FOR LIGHT SNOW ACCUMULATION IN THE WASHINGTON AND
BALTIMORE METROPOLITAN AREAS LATE THIS EVENING AND OVERNIGHT…
Snow showers are possible late this evening into the overnight across the Washington and Baltimore Metropolitan areas. Snow may coat the ground in some locations… and with temperatures near freezing this may cause slippery conditions. The best chance for snow will be between 10 PM and 2 AM late this evening into the overnight.
Update at 1:10 p.m. — VDOT says it is preparing for wintry weather tonight.
Crews are taking advantage of conditions today and Thursday to treat roads with anti-icing materials in northern Virginia, in anticipation of low temperatures through the rest of week and the potential for wintry precipitation over the weekend.
Throughout Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William and Arlington* counties (*Arlington maintains own secondary roads) crews treat about 5,200 lane miles with liquid magnesium chloride or brine in advance of winter weather. This includes interstate, primary and high-volume secondary road roads, particularly ramps, bridges, and other critical areas prone to freezing.
The Virginia Department of Transportation asks drivers to keep an eye on the forecast for freezing conditions and precipitation. Before venturing out this weekend, VDOT reminds drivers to fill their gas tanks, slow down, to be aware of potential slick spots such as shaded areas and bridges, and to use the following resources:
- Check http://www.511virginia.org/ or the 511 mobile app before you go for traffic conditions and lane closures
- Follow @VaDOTNOVA on Twitter
- Visit www.virginiadot.org/ novaemergency for the latest updates and resources from VDOT in northern Virginia
- Get more details on snow removal in northern Virginia
This is also the perfect time to place or update an emergency kit in your car. Recommended items include:
- Water and food
- Ice scraper/brush
- Gloves and boots
- Phone charger
- First aid kit
- Ice melt/cat litter
More information at: www.ready.gov/car
An Arctic blast will drop temperatures into the teens and 20s in the D.C. area starting mid-week.
The cold air is expected to push into the area Wednesday night, and will bring with it wind and the possibility of some light snow.
The last time we saw snow in Arlington was when the remains of a giant snow pile in Ballston, left over from the January blizzard, finally melted. Unlike some past years, to our knowledge no flakes fell in November this year.
Are you looking forward to the first flakes of the season?
(See some local tips for preparing for winter weather, published last week, here.)
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
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.