It’s an uncertain forecast in part due to above-freezing temperatures today, but forecasters say D.C. area residents should expect 1-3 inches of snow between late tonight and Tuesday night.
The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory, warning of the potential for snow accumulation disrupting driving tomorrow, particularly during the morning commute.
We all know what a measly inch of snow did during the nightmare evening commute a couple of weeks ago — though road crews are likely to be more prepared this time around.
The Clarendon-Courthouse Mardi Gras Parade, meanwhile, is once again being threatened by winter weather. On the parade’s website, organizers say they “will be making a weather announcement here mid-day on Tuesday, Feb. 9, about the parade,” which is scheduled for Tuesday night.
From the NWS:
… WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 10 PM THIS EVENING TO MIDNIGHT EST TUESDAY NIGHT…
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 MIDNIGHT EST TUESDAY NIGHT.
* PRECIPITATION TYPE… SNOW.
* ACCUMULATIONS… SNOW ACCUMULATION OF 1 TO 3 INCHES… WITH LOCALLY HIGHER AMOUNTS PARTICULARLY IN THE NORTHWEST SUBURBS.
* TIMING… A MIXTURE OF RAIN AND SNOW WILL DEVELOP THIS EVENING. PRECIPITATION WILL TURN TO ALL SNOW AROUND OR SHORTLY AFTER MIDNIGHT. PERIODS OF SNOW WILL CONTINUE INTO TUESDAY AND THE ADVISORY MAY NEED TO BE EXTENDED.
* IMPACTS… SNOW COVERED ROADS AND TRAVEL DISRUPTIONS.
* WINDS… NORTH 5 TO 10 MPH.
* TEMPERATURES… IN THE LOWER TO MIDDLE 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.
VDOT, meanwhile, says drives should be prepared for the possibility of a messy commute Tuesday. From a press release:
The Virginia Department of Transportation asks drivers to plan now for their commutes Tuesday, as several inches of snow are forecast to impact both the morning and evening rush hours in northern Virginia. Drivers are asked to monitor forecasts for changes or heavier weather bands that may impact their schedule, and to plan accordingly to telework, delay commutes or allow extra time for a slow and cautious trip.
Crews have treated interstates and major roads in Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William counties with brine and liquid magnesium chloride in advance of the snow. Tonight, about 1,450 trucks will pre-deploy along interstates, main roads and neighborhood streets. They will remain on duty to plow and treat roads through the day Tuesday.
VDOT reminds drivers to use extreme caution during winter weather, to reduce speeds, and to be aware of potential slick spots such as bridges, ramps, hills, curves and shaded areas.
Reminders for drivers and residents:
If possible, park in driveways or on the odd-numbered side of the street to allow plows room to pass.
Follow @vadotnova on Twitter.
VDOT’s Northern Virginia District includes Loudoun, Fairfax, Prince William and Arlington counties (Arlington maintains its own secondary roads).
The National Weather Service has included in a Winter Weather Advisory that includes mostly points east and south of D.C. The snow is expected to fall between 5 and 8 a.m., during the morning rush hour.
… WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 10 AM EST FRIDAY…
* PRECIPITATION TYPE… RAIN CHANGING TO SNOW.
* HAZARD TYPES… ACCUMULATING SNOW LATE TONIGHT.
* ACCUMULATIONS… 1 TO 2 INCHES… WITH UP TO 3 INCHES NEAR THE CHESAPEAKE BAY.
* TIMING… RAIN WILL CHANGE TO SNOW BETWEEN 1 AM AND 5 AM FROM NORTHWEST TO SOUTHEAST. A PERIOD OF MODERATE SNOW IS EXPECTED BETWEEN 5 AM AND 8 AM… ENDING QUICKLY BY MID-MORNING FRIDAY.
* IMPACTS… ROADS MAY BECOME SNOW COVERED AND SLIPPERY DURING THE MORNING COMMUTE.
* WINDS… NORTHWEST 10 TO 20 MPH WITH GUSTS UP TO 30 MPH.
* TEMPERATURES… IN THE LOWER TO MID 30S… EXCEPT AROUND 30 NEAR THE MASON-DIXON LINE.
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 Advisory ne & se MD, D.C., & eastern VA. About 1 inch of snow in D.C. More east and south. pic.twitter.com/D68yttjL6Q
— NWS DC/Baltimore (@NWS_BaltWash) February 4, 2016
Additional details regarding snow late tonight. Edge of heaviest precip expected to reach near I-95 corridor. pic.twitter.com/u0h5miClBA
— NWS DC/Baltimore (@NWS_BaltWash) February 5, 2016
Via email and social media, residents of both south and north Arlington have told ARLnow.com that mail delivery has been sporadic since the blizzard, with some only having received one or two deliveries in the past 10 days.
From a Barcroft resident, along Columbia Pike:
Lots and lots of neighborhood complaints about no USPS mail or sporadic USPS mail since January 22nd. I am having the same issue. Parcels and letters that should have arrived days or even a week+ ago are nowhere to be found. Tracking shows obscured messages like “receptacle blocked” when there is no issue with our street our mail receptacle. Others report the same.
From another Columbia Pike area resident:
The residents of 22204 haven’t had much, if any, mail delivery since the storm. While I can understand a few days lag, we are now almost 2 weeks out without any mail and there are tax documents out there somewhere.
The residents have heard various things, like Merriefield has been backed up and the carriers can’t stay out any later than 3-3:30, but that does nothing to resolve the issue.
We have suffered with poor service from the S. Glebe post office for years and now we apparently can’t get any service.
A U.S. Postal Service spokeswoman apologized for the ongoing issues, but suggested, contrary to residents reports, that “normal operations” had resumed. Said USPS D.C. area spokeswoman Theresa Doherty:
We apologize for the inconvenience customers are experiencing. The Postal Service is working around the clock to make up for the delays caused by the storm. We ask that customers please contact their local Post Office for service updates. The Postmaster will be able to provide customers with information specific to your address location.
Delays were caused by the Postal Service needing to shut down last Saturday due to unsafe conditions, then followed by inaccessible roads and employees’ inability to report to work due metro and road closures. Since then, we have restored normal operations and are delivering throughout the D.C. metro area.
Reports of Arlington mail delivery problems from social media, after the jump.
Arlington Public Schools students are off today due to a scheduled teacher grade preparation day. It’s the eighth consecutive weekday off for APS students, who’ve enjoyed one snow day after another since Thursday, Jan. 21.
Care-free snow days, however, could eventually become a thing of the past.
APS is likely, in the near future, to consider the idea of having students “telecommute” from home when school is cancelled. They would do so from their school-issued computers — APS is in the process of outfitting every high school student with a Macbook Air and every second- through eighth-grader with an iPad.
Once every second-grade student and up has a laptop or iPad, teachers could assign homework, reading and online lessons remotely and students could complete it from the comfort of their own homes. Theoretically, at least — some policy changes would be needed, particularly when it comes to expectations for teachers. There’s also the question of whether all APS teachers and families have internet access at home.
“For students, it will be explored in the future once all students have devices,” said APS spokesman Frank Bellavia, in response to an inquiry from ARLnow.com. “For teachers, this will require some policy changes which will probably be discussed in the future as well.”
A week ago, the first flakes started falling as the “Snowzilla” blizzard of 2016 got underway.
Before, during and after the snowfall, contributors to our Flickr pool were documenting the historic storm. Above is a photographic look back at the winter storm that crippled the D.C. region and much of the Mid-Atlantic.
Flickr pool photos by Brian Allen, John Sonderman, John Williams, Mrs. Gemstone, The Belt Walk, Wolfpack WX, Eric, Bekah Richards, Jim Webster, Alan Kotok and Brian Irwin
It was hard enough for many Arlington residents to leave their house during last weekend’s blizzard — literally, two-plus feet of snow blocked many doors from opening — so imagine how hard it was to run a restaurant during the storm.
On Tuesday night, at ARLnow Presents: Running a Restaurant in Arlington, several prominent Arlington restaurant owners told attendees how they pulled it off.
Scott Parker, co-owner of A-Town and Don Tito, said his company paid for staff members to stay in nearby hotels — the Hilton in Ballston and the Holiday Inn in Courthouse — so they could get to and from work safely.
“We booked a big block of rooms in both of those… it was a big slumber party with all of our staff,” Parker said. “We were worried that if we sent people home and they fought through the storm on Friday night, they would then have to fight through it again to get back to work on Saturday, and that wasn’t really fair.”
Mark Fedorchak, co-owner of Liberty Tavern, Northside Social and Lyon Hall, said he and his team managed to keep Liberty Tavern open all weekend courtesy of an employee with a big SUV.
“We had one staff member with an ’85 Ford Bronco with huge wheels, that was able to go around and pick people up and take them back home all weekend long,” Fedorchak said.
Tim Ma, chef and proprietor of Water and Wall in Virginia Square, opened the restaurant on Sunday with only two staff members: his general manager and a server.
“I was able to get out of my house but the rest of my staff wasn’t,” said Ma, who was a 2015 “Culinary Rising Star of the Year” Rammy Award nominee. “I went into the kitchen, no dishwasher and no cook, and cooked the entire day by myself. We ran the entire day, with decent business, by ourselves.”
The next ARLnow Presents event, featuring new County Board members Katie Cristol and Christian Dorsey, will be held at Mad Rose Tavern (3100 Clarendon Blvd) on Feb. 10.
School offices will be open on time but students will not have classes, APS said. The last school day for students was Wednesday, Jan. 20.
The last time APS students had this many days off in a row as a result of weather? During the “Snowmageddon” blizzard of 2010.
Students also have a scheduled off day on Monday, due to a teacher grade preparation day. There are no plans to change that, said APS spokesman Frank Bellavia.
According to Bellavia, so far there is no need for makeup days.
“This year’s calendar included 181 instructional days for elementary, middle and high school students,” he said. “The state requires that students receive either 180 days or 990 hours of instructional time. Based on instructional hours, the first 10 days lost (or the equivalent of 10 school days) will not need to be made up.”
APS Operations Update for Fri, Jan. 29, 2016: All APS Schools Closed; Offices Open on Time
— Arlington Schools (@APSVirginia) January 28, 2016
Arlington County and other D.C. area jurisdictions simply do not have the resources to clean up quickly from a monster snowstorm like this past weekend’s blizzard, officials told the County Board yesterday afternoon.
“We do not pretend to have the equipment and staff to handle this kind of record storm,” said County Manager Mark Schwartz. “It takes time. We don’t spend to the level of equipment or staffing, nor do our sister jurisdictions, to rebound as quickly as we would like when a record event happens.”
Schwartz said snow removal crews — both county employees and contractors — have been working around the clock in 12-hour shifts, operating all the heavy equipment the county has to muster, to try to massive amounts of snow from local roads.
Both Schwartz and Greg Emanuel, head of the county’s Dept. of Environmental Services, acknowledged that the county had been receiving a high volume of complaints from residents about the slow pace of snow removal on certain residential streets. Complaints have been flooding in via email, online form submissions and phone calls, Emanuel said, and county staffers were doing their best to “triage” the feedback.
“We are very much in the middle of this fight,” said Emanuel, who offered a hopeful estimate that all residential streets would be plowed by the end of the day today (Wednesday). Among the problems faced by crews: the snow was too deep and too heavy for traditional plows to be effective in many cases, necessitating the use of front end loaders and other heavy equipment.
“We’re getting to [local streets] systematically, slowly and steadily,” Emanuel said. “Much of our equipment could not plow through the 18 inches due to the physics of the matter.”
As of 9:45 a.m., the northbound I-395 HOV lanes are jammed starting around Army Navy Country Club, while mainline I-395 slows near the Pentagon.
Memorial Bridge and Washington Blvd around the Pentagon is jammed. Traffic on eastbound I-66, approaching the Roosevelt Bridge slows near Rosslyn. N. Lynn Street in Rosslyn and the Key Bridge are also crawling.
Federal employees are to report to work on a three hour delay today, with an option for unscheduled leave or telework, the Office of Personnel Management announced last night.
Arlington County offices opened on time today, though certain community centers are closed or operating under modified hours. Arlington parking meters are being enforced today for the first time since the blizzard, but only in commercial districts. While Arlington Public Schools are closed, APS offices are opening at 10 a.m.
There’s some good news for commuters: full Metrorail service has returned to all lines, though some delays were reported on the Red and Green lines this morning. Also, the Custis Trail is clear for cyclists, though only one lane is cleared in places and some connecting trails are still snow-covered.
— Joel Holland (@joelkentholland) January 27, 2016
— Gina Gil (@gmazul) January 27, 2016
It’s generally agreed that it would take awhile to recover and clean up from this past weekend’s historic blizzard, which dumped some two feet of the snow on Arlington. But that’s not stopping a myriad of complaints from rolling in.
Since the storm county crews and private contractors have been working in shifts around the clock to clear roads, sidewalks and parking lots. As expected, even today there are plenty of examples of places untouched or barely touched by snow crews.
Some Arlington residents — especially those along major arteries and Metro corridors — have had their street cleared to the point where it’s drive- or walk-able. Others, especially those in single-family home neighborhoods, have not been so lucky.
As of 1:30 this afternoon, Arlington County said half of all residential streets have been plowed. Snow crews have been working for 92 straight hours, the county said.
Some residents who remain snowed in are taking the “keep calm and carry on” approach. Others, however, are upset and are expressing their displeasure on TV, on social media and in emails to ARLnow.com.
After the jump: some of the letters — and photos — sent to ARLnow.com by local residents.
This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Rosslyn resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!
Question: I just listed my home for sale and now it’s covered in two feet of snow. How bad is this?
It’s certainly not going to make selling your home easier and if you’re in the first 30 days of your listing (the most likely window to get a full offer), it’s a tough break, but hope is not totally lost. While showing activity and chances of receiving an offer will be low, internet search activity will be up. If your Realtor brought in a great photographer for some eye-catching pictures, this storm may actually help you sell your home by attracting extra attention online.
- Shovel walkways and parking. Make sure there are at least two clearly visible places to park.
- If vacant, keep the heat running so your home is a pleasant place to escape the cold. This is good winterization practice to prevent pipes from bursting too.
- Add a weather mat, shoe rack/mat, and a basket of shoe slipcovers to prevent dirt and water being tracked through your home.
- If you’re taking listing photos now, don’t use an exterior photo with snow everywhere as your first picture unless it really works. Open with another appealing photo and consider taking new exterior photos once the snow melts.
- Follow-up immediately with anybody who sees your property over the next week. Only the most serious, interested buyers are trekking out to properties right now.
During Snowmagedon Feb 5-6 2010, we got about 18 inches of snow. Here’s a look at the number of homes that went under contract before, during, and after that period. It took about 2 weeks for activity to pick back up to “normal” levels.
On average, sellers took a 3.3% reduction from list price (including seller credits) on the 89 contracts from 2/5-2/20.
If you have the flexibility to wait another week to put your home on the market, it’s in your best interest to do so. You can consult your Realtor about using the Coming Soon feature for now, which allows you a limited listing without accruing days on market (key metric to maximize sale price).
Remember, you’re not the only house for sale in Arlington dealing with the impact of the blizzard, so the competitive playing field is (mostly) level. Good luck and stay strong. 45+ degree weather and sun are around the corner!
Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 2420 Wilson Blvd #101 Arlington, VA 22201, (202) 518-8781.
Snowy Scenes in Arlington Make National TV — A number of national television outlets have used video of snowy streets and outdoor activities in Arlington during their coverage of the East Coast blizzard. [ABC News, Weather Channel]
Groundhog Day at Aurora Hills Library — The 1993 Bill Murray classic Groundhog Day will be played “over and over again” at the Aurora Hills library branch on Tuesday, Feb. 2, starting at 1 p.m. [Arlington Public Library]
APS: Please Clear Your Sidewalks — In a letter to parents, Arlington Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy urges Arlingtonians to clear sidewalks and bus stops in their neighborhood so that students can go back to school safely. APS is closed through at least Wednesday. Students have Monday off due to a regularly-scheduled grade preparation day. [Arlington Public Schools]
Photo courtesy Bryanna Lansing
Tired of waiting for county plows to show up in their no-outlet residential street, a group of neighbors in Dominion Hills took matters into their own hands.
We’re told that neighbors banded together to shovel off N. Arlington Mill Drive, near Bon Air Park, all the way to Wilson Blvd.
As of early Tuesday morning, county snow crews had plowed 30 percent of residential streets, with a focus on especially hilly roads and streets near schools.
Traffic volume on I-395, I-66 and Route 50 was relatively light this morning. Some delays were reported on I-395 at King Street earlier, possibly the result of snow clearing operations.
Every Metrorail line is running every 12 minutes except the Silver Line, which remains closed. WMATA was unable to open aboveground service on the Orange Line between East Falls Church and Vienna this morning, so Ballston is the Virginia end of the line.
Metrobuses are operating on a “severe snow plan” with half hour delays, while Arlington Transit service is operating on a Sunday schedule between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. with “severe service” detours. Only the ART 41, 42, 45, 51, 55 and 87 lines are running.
Arlington County snow removal crews, meanwhile, are making slow but steady progress on clearing neighborhood streets. Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services said this morning that 30 percent of residential streets had been plowed.
The Office of Personnel Management announced Monday night that federal offices would remain closed Tuesday, though “emergency and telework-ready employees required to work must follow their agency’s policies.”
Arlington County government offices, facilities and courts — with the exception of General District Court — are scheduled to reopen at noon on Tuesday.
“Unscheduled leave and telework options are encouraged for County employees, with supervisor’s approval,” the county noted in a press release.
Arlington public libraries will open at noon on Tuesday, but children’s programs are cancelled. Many Arlington parks and recreation programs are also cancelled. Schools remain closed.
Trash and recycling collection, meanwhile, is also still suspended, but may resume on Wednesday.
County snow crews and contractors are continuing to work around the clock to clear snow and ice from local streets.
“County crews are now deep into Phase 3 of snow cleanup operations, focusing on residential streets,” the press release said. “In many areas, crews have had to bring in heavy construction equipment to break through snow/ice banks at the ends of streets so plows can get in.”
“The goal is to get to all neighborhood streets by Tuesday night but it may take until Wednesday, Jan. 27, to reach some sections given the amount of snowfall and related conditions, including buried parked cars,” the press release continues. “County officials are asking residents for continued patience as enormous amounts of snow are removed from roadways and, in many cases, transported miles away.”
The county’s snow removal ordinance remains suspended “because of the massive amounts of snow that fell on area sidewalks.”
“No citations will be issued during the cleanup,” the county said. “However, the goals behind the ordinance remain… so all efforts to clear sidewalks for the community are appreciated.”
Arlington’s Office of Emergency Management warned that an overnight refreeze could make for treacherous driving early Tuesday morning. “Please use extra caution,” OEM urged in an Arlington Alert.
Among the county officials getting back to work on Tuesday will be members of the Arlington County Board.
“The Arlington County Board will convene as scheduled Tuesday, Jan. 26, at 3 p.m.,” said the county press release. “It will defer consideration of both the January Consent and Regular Agendas to the Recessed Meeting now scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 28.”
Photo courtesy James Mahony