(Updated at 2:15 p.m.) The recent winter storm may be old news, but after several incidents in recent days drivers still need to be alert for chunks of ice flying off vehicles in front of them.
Arlington resident Meg Miller Rydzewski sent a photo of her husband’s car, which was struck by a chunk of ice that broke off a truck in front of him while driving northbound on I-95.
The ice hit the windshield and caused major damage, but Rydzewski said it could have been much worse.
“It’s estimated that if the force of impact had been 10 to 15 percent more, it would have gone through the windshield and might have killed him,” she wrote. “[It was] sudden and very scary.”
“He did get safely to the side of the highway but couldn’t see where he was going due to the shattered glass,” Rydzewski added. “Thankfully he was not hurt.”
AAA reported that flying ice caused injuries to three vehicle occupants along I-95 and the Beltway in Maryland on Wednesday. Maryland State Police said the victims “suffered eye injuries from spraying glass from windshields broken by ice from other vehicles.”
John Townsend, AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Manager of Public and Government Affairs, said drivers are responsible for clearing snow and ice from their cars before they leave home.
“Snow and ice flying off moving vehicles will cause other drivers to swerve to avoid it, and they can run off the road or swerve into another lane of traffic where other motorists are traveling, causing a deadly domino effect,” he said. “So before leaving your driveway or your curbside parking spot, and before you go, clear every inch of snow and ice accumulated on the exposed surfaces from your vehicle.”
There is no law in Virginia, Maryland or D.C. to punish motorists that do not remove snow from their vehicles before driving, according to AAA.
“A law is needed in Maryland, Virginia and the District to help protect drivers from sheets of snow and ice flying off from vehicles while they are driving down the road,” Townsend said. “After this epic snowstorm, it can be a matter of life or death if drivers fail to remove the snow and ice.”
AAA has a number of tips for people clearing snow from their cars. Drivers should never use hot water to melt ice on their cars, for instance; the organization recommends using de-icer spray for windows and mirrors in combination with a snow brush for the rest of the car. With the snow brush, drivers should work from the top of the vehicle on down, pulling snow towards you.
“It requires less effort and helps you avoid having to clear the same areas twice,” AAA says. “If the vehicle is an SUV or taller — grab a step stool to help access the roof.”
“Just as the removal of snow from sidewalks along your home and business is a responsibility of all citizens, removing snow and ice from vehicles should be the responsibility of every driver before it becomes dislodged while driving down the highways,” Townsend said. “It is the duty and debt we owe one another.”
Photo courtesy Meg Miller Rydzewski
Arlington’s snow removal ordinance requires that sidewalks be shoveled within 24 hours of the end of a snow event with six inches or less of accumulation. As far as the county is concerned, Tuesday’s snowstorm ended at 2 p.m., and thus the sidewalk deadline today is 2 p.m.
If you’ve procrastinated, you might be in for a tough task. Temperatures in the low 20s means that uncleared snow and sleet has turned into a barely penetrable mat of ice.
— Russell Imrie (@tweedyBard) March 15, 2017
Approved this past summer, the new policy had snow crews clearing major roads and neighborhood streets concurrently, a change from the previous practice of only tackling neighborhood streets after arterial streets were totally clear.
The old policy led to complaints (and snow vigilantism) from residents that by the time crews got to their neighborhood, the snow had become so compacted or icy that it was hard for the plows to fully remove.
So how did the snow crews do? Let us know below. (As of 8 a.m., the snow clearing effort was still underway, with crews in the fourth and final phase, cleaning up remaining trouble spots.)
Frigid, icy conditions have prompted Arlington Public Schools to open on a two-hour delay today.
All APS schools and offices will open two hours late today. The Extended Day program will also open two hours late and morning field trips are canceled. Essential employees and food service workers should report to work at their regularly scheduled time. All other employees should report to work two hours past their usual start time. For updates about Pool Operations, go to www.apsva.us/aquatics. For information about Arlington County operations go to www.arlingtonva.us.
Arlington County government and the federal government, meanwhile, are opening on time. Metrorail and Metrobus, likewise, were operating on a normal weekday schedule as of 5 a.m. Certain Arlington County Parks and Rec programs, however, have been cancelled or delayed.
From the parks department:
- All Congregate Meal Programs are cancelled for the day.
- All Early Childhood Programs (Preschool and Co-op) are cancelled.
- All Enjoy Arlington Classes, 55+ classes, Trips, Nature Center Programs and sports league activities with a scheduled start time prior to 11:59 a.m. today are cancelled in all APS and DPR buildings.
- All Enjoy Arlington Classes, 55+ classes, Trips, Nature Center Programs and sports league activities with a scheduled start time of Noon or later will proceed as scheduled.
- All afternoon and evening Enjoy Arlington Classes, 55+ classes, Trips, Nature Center Programs and sports league activities will proceed as scheduled.
- All community centers and senior centers locations will open on time as scheduled.
In addition to very cold temperatures, a Wind Advisory has been issued for Arlington and the D.C. region. Forecasters are warning of 45-50 mile per hour gusts which could blow down branches, trees and power lines.
From the National Weather Service:
… WIND ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 8 AM THIS MORNING TO 6 PM EDT THIS EVENING… THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON HAS ISSUED A WIND ADVISORY, WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 8 AM THIS MORNING TO 6 PM EDT THIS EVENING. * TIMING… AFTER DAYBREAK THROUGH THIS AFTERNOON. HIGHEST GUSTS EXPECTED LATE THIS MORNING INTO THIS AFTERNOON. * WINDS… NORTHWEST 20 TO 30 MPH WITH GUSTS AROUND 45 TO 50 MPH. * IMPACTS… STRONG WINDS MAY BLOW DOWN LIMBS, TREES, AND POWER LINES. ICE AND SNOW COVERED LIMBS, TREES AND POWER LINES ARE MORE SUSCEPTIBLE TO DAMAGE. SCATTERED POWER OUTAGES ARE EXPECTED. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… A WIND ADVISORY MEANS THAT WINDS OF 45 TO 55 MPH ARE EXPECTED. WINDS THIS STRONG CAN MAKE DRIVING DIFFICULT, ESPECIALLY FOR HIGH PROFILE VEHICLES. &&
A refreeze overnight will turn what melted following this morning’s snow and sleet storm into a hazard on roads and sidewalks.
Despite efforts to plow and salt the streets, VDOT is warning that barely-visible black ice could cause accidents during the Wednesday morning commute.
Metro, meanwhile, says Metrobuses will start the day on a “moderate” snow service plan due to anticipated slippery conditions. Service will be upgraded “as conditions permit.”
More from VDOT:
Road conditions across northern Virginia are improving as Virginia Department of Transportation crews plowed and treated roads around the clock. This evening though, snow and slush that melted through the day will refreeze.
Overnight, crews will focus on retreating icy areas with salt and sand, clearing shoulders, ramps and drainage areas, and continue to make passes through neighborhood streets as needed.
Drivers should limit any unnecessary travel tonight to avoid black ice, and give crews room to make their rounds. Make plans now for a cautious Wednesday commute.
If you must drive this evening and tomorrow morning:
- Stay focused and drive defensively.
- Reduce speeds significantly. Give yourself more than enough time to get to where you’re going.
- Brake gently to avoid skidding and hydroplaning.
With the worst of the snow over, businesses and restaurants around Arlington appear to be mostly back to normal ahead of a potential refreeze tonight.
In Clarendon this afternoon, only Crate & Barrel and Barnes & Noble appeared to still be closed as their doors were locked.
There are also some early closings: The Container Store is set to shutter at 6 p.m. tonight because of the weather, while the Washington Sports Club gym posted a sign informing members that no group exercise classes would be held.
Although main roads are plowed and largely clear of snow and ice, it appears that those who did get a snow day mostly chose to spend it inside — especially as winds picked up and dropped the wind chill well below freezing.
The lunch rush was virtually non-existent at Clarendon fast casual salad eatery Sweetgreen. While lines usually snake to the door, today employees said it was “not anywhere near” as busy as it usually is at lunchtime.
Similarly, the Trader Joe’s grocery store had lines almost out the door on Monday evening as shoppers prepared for the onset of the storm, but on Tuesday afternoon was quiet and still had plenty of items on the shelves.
Several businesses looked to cash in on many people not being at work, or their children being out of school. Ireland’s Four Courts on Wilson Boulevard opened its doors and let children eat for free all day.
— Irelands Four Courts (@irelands4courts) March 14, 2017
Also in Courthouse, Bayou Bakery is celebrating Pi Day — the date is 3/14 — with a $3.14 special on slices of pie. However, the business is closing early so you’ll have to hurry.
— Bayou Bakery (@BayouBakery) March 14, 2017
— Bayou Bakery (@BayouBakery) March 14, 2017
Local roads remain partially snow and slush covered, though traffic is very light. ART buses are operating on a “severe” service schedule, while Metrobuses are operating on a “moderate” snow plan. The Metrorail system is open and operating on a Saturday schedule.
APS announced just after 4 a.m. that it would be closed today.
All APS schools and offices will be closed today. Essential personnel should report to work at their scheduled time. All custodians report at 6 a.m. regardless of your regular shift. 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 programs and operations go to www.arlingtonva.us.
Arlington County announced that it was closed for the day just after 5 a.m.
Arlington County government offices, programs, courts, & facilities are closed today, Tuesday, March 14, 2017. If possible, stay off the roads while snow and ice removal efforts continue throughout the day.
VDOT is asking drivers to stay off the roads if at all possible.
Crews and almost 4,500 pieces of equipment worked through the night and continue to treat roads with salt and sand, and to plow in areas where there is enough accumulation.
Interstates and primary roads have stretches of slush and ice as snow and sleet continue to accumulate between plow passes.
Secondary roads and neighborhood streets remain mostly snow-covered.
HOV restrictions are lifted this morning on I-66, I-395 and the Dulles Toll Road.
Drivers are advised to continue to stay off the roads. If you absolutely must go out this morning, reduce speeds, use extreme caution and be alert to icy and inclement conditions. Road temperatures are expected to remain below freezing all day with potential for continued refreeze.
Virginia State Police say they’re dealing with a number of crashes in Northern Virginia.
Virginia State Police are currently on the scene of 10 traffic crashes throughout Northern Virginia. Only two involve injuries – minor – and the remainder of them involve damage to vehicles. From midnight Tuesday through 7 a.m., Virginia State Police have responded to 15 traffic crashes – all of which involved damage to vehicles only and no injuries.
Motorists are reminded to give extra time for travel, slow their speed for conditions, not to tailgate – to provide additional stopping distance in slick conditions, and to always buckle up.
The federal government, meanwhile, will be opening today on a three-hour delay. From the Office of Personnel Management:
Federal agencies in the Washington, DC area are OPEN under 3 hours DELAYED ARRIVAL and employees have the OPTION FOR UNSCHEDULED LEAVE OR UNSCHEDULED TELEWORK. Employees should plan to arrive for work no more than 3 hours later than they would be expected to arrive.
Update at 4:20 p.m. — Metro has released its latest service plan for Monday night into Tuesday. The Metrorail system will be open Tuesday and will operate on a Saturday schedule. Buses will start the day operating on a severe service plan, according to WMATA.
Arlington County, Virginia State Police and other local jurisdictions and agencies are bracing for the late-season snowstorm that’s expected to bring several inches of snow and sleet to our region starting tonight.
After-school activities and sporting events are being cancelled en masse tonight and officials are preparing for what may be a messy commute at best or major travel disruptions at worst tomorrow. In addition to problems on the roads, widespread flight cancellations are also expected at local airports.
From Kathryn O’Brien at Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services:
Arlington County will fully-mobilize crews this afternoon to combat the snow beginning tonight into Tuesday. In preparation for the storm, crews pretreated roads over the weekend.
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. Plowing generally begins when snow is two-four inches deep. If more than six inches of snow falls, we will plow some residential areas at the same time as arterial roadways in phase two. (Learn more about our phases).
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
- 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
We encourage residents to 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.
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, meanwhile, has declared a State of Emergency in advance of the storm, saying that “Virginians should take the necessary precautions now to ensure they are prepared for travel disruptions and possible power outages during a cold weather period.”
From Virginia State Police:
Virginia State Police will have all available troopers and supervisors working in advance of and the duration of the storm as it makes its way across the Commonwealth. To prevent unnecessary traffic crashes from occurring on Virginia’s highways during the storm, state police advises residents to postpone travel plans and avoid driving, when possible.
If having to travel during the storm, drivers are reminded to do the following:
- Use headlights. Increasing your visibility helps you to avoid slick and dangerous spots on the road, to include standing water and/or flooding. Headlights also help other drivers see you better.
- Slow your speed. Though state police works closely with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) to identify problem areas on Virginia’s highways during a storm, 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 inclement weather are caused by vehicles sliding 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.
- Put down your phone. Having to drive in severe snow or rain requires a driver’s full, uninterrupted attention. Do not text and drive or shoot video of the bad conditions while driving, as these actions put you, your passengers and other vehicles at extreme risk of a crash and/or injury.
- 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.
For the latest in road conditions and updates, please call 511 on a cell phone, download the App or go online to the VDOT Virginia Traffic Information Website at www.511virginia.org.
More via Twitter:
— Reagan Airport (@Reagan_Airport) March 13, 2017
Here is the latest forecast of snow amounts across the region from 3pm Monday through 8pm Wednesday. pic.twitter.com/JCS0UNmzc9
— NWS DC/Baltimore (@NWS_BaltWash) March 13, 2017
— Capital Weather Gang (@capitalweather) March 13, 2017
(Updated at 6:25 p.m.) Arlington and a large portion of the D.C. area is now under a Winter Storm Warning.
A “monster nor’easter” could bring a half foot of snow or more to the area from Monday night into Tuesday. Other coastal northeastern cities are also in the storm’s path.
From the National Weather Service:
… WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 7 PM MONDAY TO 2 PM EDT TUESDAY… THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON HAS ISSUED A WINTER STORM WARNING FOR SNOW, WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 7 PM MONDAY TO 2 PM EDT TUESDAY. THE WINTER STORM WATCH IS NO LONGER IN EFFECT. * PRECIPITATION TYPE… SNOW… POSSIBLY MIXED WITH SLEET AT TIMES MONDAY NIGHT. * ACCUMULATIONS… SNOW ACCUMULATION OF 6 TO 10 INCHES. * TIMING… SNOW WILL OVERSPREAD THE AREA MONDAY EVENING AND PERSIST THROUGH TUESDAY MORNING. * IMPACTS… THE HEAVY SNOW WILL CREATE DIFFICULT TRAVEL CONDITIONS AND MAY PRODUCE SCATTERED POWER OUTAGES. * WINDS… NORTHEAST 5 TO 15 MPH WITH GUSTS UP TO 30 MPH. * TEMPERATURES… IN THE LOWER 30S. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… A WINTER STORM WARNING FOR HEAVY SNOW MEANS SEVERE WINTER WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED OR OCCURRING. SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF SNOW ARE FORECAST THAT WILL MAKE TRAVEL DANGEROUS. ONLY TRAVEL IN AN EMERGENCY. IF YOU MUST TRAVEL, KEEP AN EXTRA FLASHLIGHT, FOOD, AND WATER IN YOUR VEHICLE IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY. &&
More via Twitter:
NBC4 was just live outside of the Clarendon Trader Joe's, where people are stocking up for for the snowstorm en masse pic.twitter.com/o7tJT3JPBy
— Arlington News (@ARLnowDOTcom) March 12, 2017
— Capital Weather Gang (@capitalweather) March 12, 2017
For Arlington, that could mean some wet accumulating snow during the morning commute, forecasters say.
Locales north and west are likely to get the most snow, but VDOT is warning of the possibility of a tough commute.
From a VDOT press release:
Winter weather is far from most minds today, but the Virginia Department of Transportation asks drivers to remain vigilant in monitoring forecasts and planning commutes–a mix of rain, snow and high winds could have major impacts to Thursday’s morning rush.
VDOT asks that drivers monitor forecasts closely for changes, and to stay off the roads during inclement weather. Potential for high winds and isolated squalls will mean limited visibility.
Crews will stage roadside through northern Virginia by midnight tonight, with resources concentrated in Loudoun County. Due to a forecast for rain ahead of snow, crews will not brine roads in advance, but will treat with salt and sand as needed.
Arlington County, meanwhile, says it is monitoring the weather as it turns from springlike warmth today to freezing cold tomorrow.
Snow? But it's sunny outside! We're keeping an eye on the forecast and will respond accordingly, as snow may fall tomorrow morning.
— Arlington DES (@ArlingtonDES) February 8, 2017
Take a look at tomorrow morning at 7am, could make for a messy morning rush! I've got the latest next at 4 pic.twitter.com/y83Gy0SBGY
— Doug Kammerer (@dougkammerer) February 8, 2017
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
The National Weather Service issued a Winter Weather Advisory Sunday afternoon, warning of around one inch of snow.
… WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 10 PM THIS EVENING TO 7 AM EST MONDAY… 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 7 AM EST MONDAY. * PRECIPITATION TYPE… SNOW. * ACCUMULATIONS… A COATING TO 1 INCH. LOCALIZED AMOUNTS OF 1 TO 2 INCHES ARE EXPECTED SOUTH OF INTERSTATE 66 IN VIRGINIA AND EAST OF INTERSTATE 95 IN MARYLAND. * TIMING… SNOW WILL OVERSPREAD THE AREA BETWEEN 7 AND 10 PM THIS EVENING. THE STEADIEST SNOW IS EXPECTED BETWEEN 11 PM AND 4 AM. SNOW WILL END BY 6 AM ACROSS MOST LOCATIONS. * IMPACTS… ROADS WILL BE MAINLY WET THIS EVENING WITH TEMPERATURES ABOVE FREEZING. UNTREATED SURFACES WILL BECOME SLIPPERY AFTER MIDNIGHT WITH TEMPERATURES DROPPING TO NEAR OR SLIGHTLY BELOW FREEZING. * WINDS… NORTH TO NORTHWEST AROUND 5 MPH… BECOMING NORTHWEST AROUND 10 TO 15 MPH TOWARD MORNING. * TEMPERATURES… MID TO UPPER 30S THIS EVENING… FALLING INTO THE UPPER 20S AND LOWER 30S OVERNIGHT INTO EARLY MONDAY MORNING. 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. &&
First Board Meeting With New Rule — Saturday will be the Arlington County Board’s first meeting with a new public participation rule. Whereas members of the public could previously request that any “consent agenda” item be pulled and discussed individually at the next Board meeting, the new rule requires at least one Board member to concur with the action. [InsideNova]
A Note on InsideNova Links — The desktop version of InsideNova’s website features popup ads and multiple autoplay videos with the audio on. It is not recommended for users in quiet environments or with older computers that may slow down or crash as a result of the videos and ads.
GW Gets Donation for Baseball Clubhouse — George Washington University has received an anonymous $2 million gift that will fund a new proposed clubhouse at Tucker Field in Arlington’s Barcroft Park. The clubhouse will feature “on-site locker facilities, indoor practice space with batting cages and pitching tunnels, meeting rooms and a sports medicine area.” [GW Sports]
Teen’s Hair Lit on Fire at Inauguration — A 17-year-old Arlington girl’s hair was lit on fire at an inauguration protest in D.C. It happened on Inauguration Day, near the National Archives, as the girl posed in front of protesters while wearing pro-Trump apparel. [Buzzfeed]
Clement, Roosevelt to Run for Office — Independent Audrey Clement has filed to run again for Arlington County Board this year. Meanwhile, 24-year-old Army veteran Adam Roosevelt, a Republican, is challenging Del. Alfonso Lopez (D). [InsideNova, InsideNova]
D.C. Area Snow Drought — Will we see any significant snowfall this winter? It’s looking increasingly bleak for snow lovers, with only a few flurries in the forecast during what should be our peak snow period. [Washington Post]
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