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by ARLnow.com — February 15, 2016 at 9:45 am 0

Snow on 2/15/16

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 THE WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IS NO LONGER IN EFFECT.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.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

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.

by ARLnow.com — February 14, 2016 at 3:35 pm 0

Ice on tree branches 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.

The good news is that Monday is a federal and state holiday, though forecasters say an icy Tuesday morning commute is also a possibility.

… 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.

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.

by ARLnow.com — February 12, 2016 at 2:25 pm 0

Ahead of tonight’s potentially disruptive snow, Arlington Public Schools has cancelled all evening activities.

From APS:

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.

https://twitter.com/WakeAthletics/status/698221328172711937

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:

by ARLnow.com — February 12, 2016 at 12:15 pm 0

Traffic in Arlington on Jan. 20VDOT and Arlington County says it will have crews pre-treating roads ahead of a potentially disruptive period of snow during the evening commute.

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.

by ARLnow.com — February 12, 2016 at 9:05 am 0

Bike tracks in the snow (Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick)

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

by Andrew Ramonas — February 11, 2016 at 3:50 pm 0

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.”

Snowzilla Graphic (Image via YouTube/Arlington County)

Image via YouTube/Arlington County

by Andrew Ramonas — February 10, 2016 at 1:15 pm 0

Snow piled in front of a stop sign during the January 2016 blizzard (photo via 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

by ARLnow.com — February 8, 2016 at 2:10 pm 0

Very heavy traffic during a snowy evening commute on Jan. 20, 2016Update at 3:20 p.m. — WMATA says Metrobuses will operate on a Moderate Snow Plan on Tuesday.

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.

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.

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.

If you must be on the road, check www.511virginia.org or use the mobile app before leaving for road conditions.

Follow @vadotnova on Twitter.

VDOT’s Northern Virginia District includes Loudoun, Fairfax, Prince William and Arlington counties (Arlington maintains its own secondary roads).

by ARLnow.com — February 5, 2016 at 12:05 am 0

Snow falls on 3/25/14 (file photo)Arlington may be on the edge of some accumulating snowfall Friday morning.

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.

From NWS:

… 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.

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.

by ARLnow.com — February 3, 2016 at 11:40 am 0

US Postal Service mail truck in the snow 2/21/15Residents from various parts of Arlington are reporting continued mail delivery problems a week and a half after the January blizzard.

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.

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by ARLnow.com — February 1, 2016 at 10:45 am 0

Six-foot high mountains of snow in the Taylor Elementary school zone (file photo)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.”

File photo

by ARLnow.com — January 29, 2016 at 2:55 pm 0

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

by ARLnow.com — January 28, 2016 at 3:45 pm 0

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.

Yet, local establishments like A-Town Bar & Grill, Don Tito and Liberty Tavern did just that.

On Tuesday night, at ARLnow Presents: Running a Restaurant in Arlington, several prominent Arlington restaurant owners told attendees how they pulled it off.

A-Town snow shovel (photo via Facebook)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.

Video courtesy Arlington Independent Media. Photo via Facebook.

by ARLnow.com — January 28, 2016 at 11:30 am 0

Arlington Public Schools logo(Updated at 1:15 p.m.) Arlington Public Schools will be closed Friday, for the seventh weekday in a row.

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.”

by ARLnow.com — January 27, 2016 at 3:30 pm 0

Front end loaders clearing snow during the January 2016 blizzard (Flickr pool photo by Starbuck77)

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.

Snow piled in front of a stop sign during the January 2016 blizzard (photo via Arlington County)“They’re all pretty exhausted, but they’re committed to doing their jobs,” said Schwartz. “They’re been working flat out as hard as they can.”

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.”

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