Arlington, VA

Morning Notes

Amazon Nears Thousandth HQ2 Hire — “Even amid the region’s economic shutdown, Amazon has still been staffing up its HQ2 offices in Arlington, quickly approaching its 1,000th hire at the second headquarters campus, said Brian Kenner, head of HQ2 policy. ‘We’ve been very happy with the caliber of candidates,’ Kenner said.” [Washington Business Journal]

Pandemic Making Single-Family Homes Pricier — “Could the bloom be off the rose when it comes to urban (or urban-village) living? Figures are preliminary at best, but there is some inkling that the COVID-19 pandemic may be changing patterns among home-buyers. ‘Relatively better performance of single-family homes in relation to multi-family condominium properties clearly suggest migration from the city centers to the suburbs,’ said Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association Realtors, in parsing sales data from May.” [InsideNova]

New Arlington Poet Laureate — “Award-winning poet and Marymount University professor Holly Karapetkova has been selected as the second Poet Laureate of Arlington County. During her two-year appointment, which begins July 1, 2020, she will serve as an advocate for poetry and the literary arts, working to raise Arlingtonians’ consciousness and appreciation of poetry in its written and spoken forms.” [Arlington County]

Snubbed Business Owners Speak Out — “ASAP Screen Printing is a small business. Yet the Arlington County government did not find the company small enough to deserve assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic, instead providing grants to the likes of” hotels and franchisees of chain restaurants like Subway and Jimmy John’s, writes ASAP owner Mohammad Shiekhy. [InsideNova]

Toppled Tree Knocks Out Power to Neighborhood — A large tree fell, took down utility lines, and knocked out power to more than 100 homes in North Arlington’s Bellevue Forest neighborhood last night. [Twitter]

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(Updated at 3 p.m.) A portion of Old Dominion Drive is closed after a large free fell and landed on a passing car.

The incident happened around 1:30 p.m. just east of the intersection of Old Dominion Drive and N. Thomas Street, near Dorothy Hamm Middle School and The Horizons Apartments.

The tree fell on a car heading eastbound on Old Dominion Drive, crushing most of the frontend. The driver, who suffered minor cuts and some chest pain, told ARLnow that he did not notice the tree falling until it was too late.

“It was very shocking,” said the driver, Michael. “If I did not have my seatbelt on, we would not be talking right now.”

As of 2 p.m. the road was still closed in both directions, as VDOT crews with chainsaws, a front loader and dump trucks were working to clear the large tree from the roadway. Police are also on scene, helping to direct traffic.

Elsewhere in Arlington, there have been numerous reports of downed trees, branches and wires amid today’s gusty winds.

A tree that fell this morning near the intersection of 23rd Street S. and S. Dinwiddie Street, near Wakefield High School, closed the road and knocked out power to the neighborhood. As of 2 p.m. Dominion’s website reported 124 customers in the area were still without power, with no estimated restoration time.

A Wind Advisory remains in effect until 6 p.m.

Map via Google Maps

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Update at 8:50 a.m. — Traffic has resumed flowing in both directions as firefighters were able to secure the line. At least one lane remains blocked.

Earlier: A quick-moving line of storms that packed gusty winds pushed through Arlington during the morning rush hour, downing some trees and utility lines.

The biggest impact thus far is on Columbia Pike, which is blocked at S. Taylor Street by a low-hanging wire.

Drivers should expect significant delays and detours between Four Mile Run Drive and S. George Mason Drive.

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(Updated at 5:20 p.m.) More than 500 Dominion customers — mostly homes — were without power in several North Arlington neighborhoods Wednesday morning.

The outage affected portions of Virginia Square, Cherrydale and Donaldson Run, among other neighborhoods, according to Dominion’s outage map. Power was expected to be restored at some point in the afternoon.

As of 10 a.m. Dominion reported 529 customers in the dark, down from an initial 2,600+ customers without power reported earlier.

Dominion spokeswoman Peggy Fox said the outage was caused by a tree that fell onto power lines.

“The outage was caused by a 3rd party (not associated with Dominion Energy) trimming trees,” Fox told ARLnow via email. “A tree came down on our lines and broke two cross arms and a pole… It caused significant damage and left many customers without power today. We are lucky nobody got hurt.”

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(Updated at 6:30 p.m.) Nearly 400 Dominion customers are reported to be without power in the area around Wakefield High School on this snowy Tuesday night.

The outage follows a report of a live wire that fell across S. Chesterfield Road, prompting a road closure near the high school, according to police radio traffic. Dominion says the outage is caused by a tree on a power line and the estimated restoration time is between 7-10 p.m.

Currently, the outage is mostly affecting the Claremont neighborhood. Earlier, some 3,500 customers were said to be without power in Claremont and portions of surrounding neighborhoods like Shirlington and Fairlington.

Arlington County Police tweeted video of power lines sparking and an apparent transformer explosion on Chesterfield Road near Route 7, encouraging residents to “stay clear of downed trees and power lines.”

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(Updated at 2:55 p.m.) A large tree has fallen and is completely blocking the intersection of Yorktown Blvd and N. George Mason Drive.

Police and firefighters are on the scene. The tree reportedly also brought down power lines at the intersection, which is just down the street from Yorktown High School.

Drivers should expect detours in the area while crews work to remove the tree from the roadway. Eastbound traffic on Yorktown Blvd is being diverted onto 28th Street N., near the high school, according to scanner traffic.

Pedestrian traffic from the high school may also be re-routed.

Separately, further down Yorktown Blvd from the fallen tree, Arlington County firefighters were on the scene of a possible gas leak at Nottingham Elementary as of 1:30 p.m. The school was evacuated while firefighters investigated a reported gas odor.

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A tree has reportedly fallen, blocking the ramp from westbound Lee Highway to I-66, near Rosslyn.

Both lanes of the ramp are currently blocked. Drivers, including the driver of a commuter bus, could be seen heading back up the ramp in reverse. An Arlington County Police officer and VDOT sign truck are now on scene and blocking off the ramp.

Those on Lee Highway hoping to reach I-66 should continue heading westbound to the entrance near Spout Run.

No injuries have been reported as a result of the tree falling.

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(Updated at 5:35 p.m. on June 30) A woman was killed by a falling tree limb on the 2600 block of S. Walter Reed Drive this afternoon.

The incident happened shortly before 2 p.m. Initial reports suggest a portion of a tree fell and landed on an older adult woman, who was knocked unconscious and trapped underneath.

Arlington County Fire Department spokesman Capt. Ben O’Bryant tells ARLnow a large tree limb fell and struck the woman on the bike path that runs along the street. First responders freed the woman and rushed her to a nearby hospital with serious injuries, O’Bryant said, but she later died at the hospital.

Arlington County Police are asking anyone who may have been in the area and witnessed what happened to call 703-558-2222.

Thursday evening, Arlington County released a statement about the incident, which happened on county-owned parkland, offering condolences to the woman and her family.

Arlington County is heartbroken that a community member was struck by a falling tree limb in a park this afternoon.  Our condolences and thoughts are with the family.

The incident occurred around 1:45 p.m. when a woman was walking along a path in Lucky Run Park. Apparently, a tree limb fell from an 80-foot oak and struck her. Firefighters responded to the scene and transported her to a local hospital with serious injuries. She was later pronounced deceased.

Safety is our number one priority. The County is investigating further to determine as many details of what happened as possible.

A resident tells ARLnow the woman lived nearby and had recently retired.

Map via Google Maps

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Arlington still is not fully recovered from yesterday’s severe thunderstorm, which packed winds near 70 miles an hour and left a trail of destruction in its wake.

N. Glebe Road remains closed between Route 50 and N. Quincy Street in Ballston, as crews continue to work to clear fallen trees, replace splintered utility poles and re-string power lines. It’s a similar story on N. Barton Street between 10th and 12th streets, in the Clarendon area, which is still closed nearly 18 hours after the storm despite.

In Arlington County, as of 9:15 a.m., about 6,400 Dominion customers were still without power — down from an outage peak of about 36,000 customers. The largest remaining outages are in and around the Rosslyn-Ballston and Lee Highway corridors.

Police say the county’s 911 call center received a total of 48 calls for trees down and 39 calls for wires down after the storm. The call center received 130 calls in the first half hour after the storm alone, according to the fire department.

Police and firefighters — as well as Dept. of Environmental Services, Dominion and other utility crews — all worked overnight to restore power and services, mark off and clear downed trees and wires, and direct traffic around closures and non-functioning traffic signals.

More via social media:

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Morning Notes

Landmark Trees Felled During Storm — A well-known, historic oak tree near the Reevesland farmhouse, one of seventeen designated specimen trees on private property in Arlington, was among the trees that fell during yesterday’s storm. Trees were also downed in Arlington National Cemetery; one tree crushed a car. [Twitter, Twitter]

May 23 Storm vs. 2012 Derecho — “The ~36,000 Dominion customers without power in Arlington at the post-storm peak today is just over half the ~68,000 after the 2012 derecho.” [Twitter]

Rosslyn Trump HQ Rent Raises Questions — “President Trump was ‘thrilled’ that his campaign acquired northern Virginia office space at ‘bargain basement’ rates, a campaign official told the Washington Examiner in an interview in the plush 14th floor offices overlooking the Potomac River from Arlington, Va. But campaign finance specialists say the ‘steal’ could violate election law, which views below-market rates for rent as an illegal in-kind campaign donation.” [Washington Examiner]

Median Home Price in Arlington Up $100K — “Amazon’s impending move to Northern Virginia has had a significant impact on home list prices in Arlington County, a new analysis by online real estate platform Realtor.com finds. The median list price for a home there has grown 17 percent since last November.” [Curbed]

Amazon Employees Seeking Furnished Apartments — “Oakwood, which already managed a full Crystal City building at 505 18th St. South, recently extended its deal at the property for another five years, Eicholtz said. She said Oakwood is already seeing demand from Amazon employees, but it is not just coming in Crystal City.” [Bisnow]

Another County Board Contender — “Arlington resident Arron O’Dell has qualified to be on the ballot in the Nov. 5 County Board race. ‘My focus is on affordability. I will work to keep Arlington the place we enjoy living in now while controlling costs and taxes’ and ‘making the county more efficient and small-business friendly,’ O’Dell said on a nascent campaign website.” [InsideNova]

Police Chase Ends in Pentagon City — “Alexandria [Police] chased a robbery suspect on NB I-395… Chase reportedly ended at Army Navy Drive and S. Hayes Street near Pentagon City mall. Three suspects in custody.” [Twitter]

Senators Unveil Metro Funding Proposal — “Metro, which is about to undergo extensive summer track work, would receive $150 million a year for badly needed capital improvements under legislation outlined Thursday by U.S. senators from Virginia and Maryland.” [WTOP, Blue Virginia]

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Update at 8:40 p.m. — Closures along Lee Highway and N. Glebe Road, among others, are expected to remain in place into the morning rush hour, according to Arlington Alert.

Update at 7 p.m. — Lee Highway is blocked at N. Nottingham Street, just west of the District Taco, due to a downed tree, according to scanner traffic. Reported power outages are down to about 28,500 in Arlington.

Update at 6 p.m. — Power outages in Arlington have reached a new peak of 35,719 customers, per Dominion’s website. Firefighters, meanwhile, are continue to respond to numerous reports of trees and wires down on houses — and across sidewalks and roadways — as well as a number of vehicle crashes. A tree is reported down on a car at the intersection of N. Kennebec Street and 11th Road N. in the Westover neighborhood, according to the National Weather Service.

Update at 5:20 p.m. — Dark traffic signals is causing gridlock on local roads. A Google traffic map shows significant delays, particularly around the Ballston area. Arlington Public Schools and Arlington Transit buses are reported to be delayed due to heavy traffic.

Video recently posted of the storm arriving in Ballston shows a transformer explosion.

Update at 4:55 p.m. — Dominion has posted the following message on its website about the storm recovery.

Dominion Energy’s northern region has been impacted by severe thunderstorms, which included 70 mph wind gusts and lightning. These locations are the most impacted:

  • Alexandria
  • Fairfax
  • Woodbridge
  • Springfield
  • Leesburg
  • Fredericksburg

Customers have reported several spans of wire, trees and tree limbs down on the ground and over roadways.

We are still getting impacted by this line of storms. Our crews are working as quickly and as safely as possible to restore power. As soon as we are able to do a thorough assessment of the damages, we will be able to establish an estimated time of restoration.

Please stay back from all downed wires or damaged equipment, and call us immediately to report these damages at 1-866-DOM-HELP or 1-866-366-4357. You may also report power outages online by clicking here. If using a generator, please follow your manufacturer’s guidelines to operate it safely.

We appreciate your patience.

Dominion Energy

Update at 4:50 p.m — Due to the extensive storm damage, some parts of Arlington are not expected to have their power restored for hours. Dominion’s map shows the estimated restoration time for some large outages as 5-10 p.m., while others do not have an estimated time of restoration. N. Glebe Road is expected to remain closed south of Ballston, near 4th Street N., for about 12 hours per an Arlington Alert.

Volunteer firefighters have started responding to some calls to help work down the fire department’s backlog, per scanner traffic. Among the calls handled by ACFD are numerous stuck elevators, caused by power outages; several people were just freed from a stuck elevator at Don Tito’s in Clarendon, per scanner traffic.

Update at 4:35 p.m. — Dominion is now reporting just under 35,000 customers without power in Arlington. Among the neighborhoods without power is a large portion of residential north Arlington; several neighborhoods along Columbia Pike; most of Clarendon, Virginia Square and Ballston; Shirlington and Fairlington; and Aurora Highlands and Arlington Ridge.  

Updated at 4:20 p.m. — Photos from the scene show extensive storm damage to trees and power lines on N. Glebe Road south of Ballston. Police have requested additional units to the area for crowd control. Arlington’s 911 call center is “slammed” with calls and police have a 20-call backlog, per scanner traffic.

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