FLASH FLOOD WATCH til 7pm for metro DC/northern Piedmont. Rainfall rates of 1-3" possible; multiple storms may track over same area. pic.twitter.com/c2NAsZaK6T
— NWS DC/Baltimore (@NWS_BaltWash) July 6, 2017
Arlington County is under a flash flood watch until 7 p.m. tonight, with the rest of the D.C. metropolitan area.
The National Weather Service said between one and three inches of rain are possible, with multiple rounds of rainfall throughout the day. More showers are expected this afternoon, and thunderstorms may also hit the region.
NWS advises that those living near rivers, streams and creeks should watch water levels during heavy rain.
The rain is coming down & rush hour is not over yet. Reports of downed trees & ponding. Lights on, go slow, expect debris in road. Be safe.
— VDOT Northern VA (@VaDOTNOVA) July 6, 2017
Update at 5:55 p.m. — The Flash Flood Watch was extended until 2 a.m.
Flash Flood Watch (in green) EXPANDED/extended until 2 AM tonight. pic.twitter.com/H3uHQgQ1zj
— NWS DC/Baltimore (@NWS_BaltWash) July 6, 2017
Update at 3:05 p.m. – Arlington is now under a severe thunderstorm warning until 3:45 p.m.
Severe Thunderstorm Warning including Washington DC, Arlington VA, Silver Spring MD until 3:45 PM EDT pic.twitter.com/AySeHmQm1r
— NWS DC/Baltimore (@NWS_BaltWash) July 1, 2017
More from the National Weather Service:
At 259 PM EDT, a severe thunderstorm was located over Reston, moving east at 35 mph.
HAZARD…60 mph wind gusts.
IMPACT…Damaging winds will cause some trees and large branches to fall. This could injure those outdoors, as well as damage homes and vehicles. Roadways may become blocked by downed trees. Localized power outages are possible. Unsecured light objects may become projectiles.
Earlier: The National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm watch for Arlington County, in effect until 9 p.m. tonight.
A severe thunderstorm watch has been issued for parts of DE, DC, MD, NJ, PA, VA until 9 PM EDT pic.twitter.com/x2iwMd6Gec
— NWS DC/Baltimore (@NWS_BaltWash) July 1, 2017
The watch spreads across an area covering six states on the East Coast. NWS warns of isolated hailstones the size of ping pong balls, wind gusts up to 70 mph and frequent lightning.
STORM TEAM 4 WEATHER ALERT: If you live in an area shaded in pink , severe T'storms are possible this afternoon. pic.twitter.com/ZJejtYU7eg
— somara theodore (@somaratheodore) July 1, 2017
Arlington County and the rest of the D.C. metropolitan area is under a Code Orange alert today (Friday) for its air quality.
With temperatures and humidity expected to build today and continue through the Fourth of July holiday, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments issued its alert, warning that sensitive groups could be affected and should avoid strenuous activity or outdoor exercise.
More from MWCOG and the National Weather Service:
The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments in association with Maryland Department of the Environment, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, and District Department of Environment has issued a Code ORANGE Air Quality Alert Friday for the DC metro area.
A Code Orange Air Quality Alert means that air pollution concentrations within the region may become unhealthy for sensitive groups. Sensitive groups include children, people suffering from asthma, heart disease or other lung diseases and the elderly. The effects of air pollution can be minimized by avoiding strenuous activity or exercise outdoors.
For more information on ground-level ozone and fine particles… visit www.cleanairpartners.net.
MWCOG forecasts that the air quality will drop down to moderate levels this weekend.
Image via Environmental Protection Agency’s AirNow service
Sun Gazette’s County Board Endorsement — The Arlington Sun Gazette newspaper has endorsed Erik Gutshall in the Democratic County Board caucuses, which are happening this week. At the same time, the paper urged readers to also consider Kim Klingler, thanks in part to her background on public safety issues. [InsideNova]
SoberRide Triples Cinco de Mayo Usage — Having switched from offering free taxi rides to free Lyft rides, the regional SoberRide anti-DUI program reported that its ridership on Cinco de Mayo tripled this year: 676 riders compared to 225 last year. [Washington Regional Alcohol Program]
Hurricane Hunters at DCA — Government officials and members of the public were on hand at Reagan National Airport yesterday to tour the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s hurricane hunter aircraft. Among those on hand were acting FEMA director Bob Fenton and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. The director of the National Hurricane Center called it “the biggest, baddest hurricane awareness tour stop we have ever had.” [Roll Call, Capital Weather Gang]
TV Station Visits Local School — WJLA (ABC 7) and meteorologist Brian van de Graaff broadcast live from Hoffman-Boston Elementary School, near Columbia Pike and I-395, yesterday as part of the station’s “lunchbox weather” program. [WJLA]
Activists Target FCC Chair’s Arlington Neighbors — In their fight to retain net neutrality policies, activists have been leaving advocacy materials for and knocking on the doors of FCC Chair Ajit Pai’s neighbors in Arlington. Pai has suggested such policies should be rolled back. [Silicon Beat, DSL Reports, Popular Resistance]
Arlington Water Quality Report Posted — The results of Arlington County’s annual water quality testing have been published online. Per a press release: “Based on sampling data taken throughout the year at our treatment plant and distribution system, the report confirms that Arlington’s high-quality drinking water meets and exceeds all federal and state requirements.” [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
The National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm warning for southeastern Arlington until 9:30 a.m.
Severe Thunderstorm Warning including Washington DC, Arlington VA, Alexandria VA until 9:30 AM EDT pic.twitter.com/WQOoHZTTw5
— NWS DC/Baltimore (@NWS_BaltWash) May 5, 2017
NWS said severe thunderstorms are along a line from Fort Belvoir to near Prince Frederick, and are moving north towards the D.C. metro area at 65 miles per hour. Residents should expect gusting winds up to 60 miles per hour that could cause some trees to fall and damage homes and cars. Heavy rain is expected to last all morning.
NEW: Severe Thunderstorm Warning now includes Washington, DC and parts of Montgomery, Fairfax, & Arlington counties until 9:30am pic.twitter.com/DNuemdjuZi
— Mike Thomas (@MikeTFox5) May 5, 2017
The Capital Weather Gang noted this morning that some isolated storms may be possible in the region later this afternoon. Those storms could be powerful, and bring with them hail, wind and even a tornado.
More from NWS:
The National Weather Service in Sterling Virginia has issued a
* Severe Thunderstorm Warning for…
The District of Columbia…
Central Anne Arundel County in central Maryland…
Northern St. Marys County in southern Maryland…
Southeastern Montgomery County in central Maryland…
Northwestern Calvert County in southern Maryland…
Prince Georges County in central Maryland…
Northeastern Charles County in southern Maryland…
Southeastern Arlington County in northern Virginia…
Southeastern Fairfax County in northern Virginia…
The City of Alexandria in northern Virginia…
* Until 930 AM EDT
* At 835 AM EDT, severe thunderstorms were located along a line
extending from near Fort Belvoir to near Prince Frederick, moving
north at 65 mph.
HAZARD…60 mph wind gusts.
IMPACT…Damaging winds will cause some trees and large branches
to fall. This could injure those outdoors, as well as
damage homes and vehicles. Roadways may become blocked by
downed trees. Localized power outages are possible.
Unsecured light objects may become projectiles.
* Locations impacted include…
Arlington, Alexandria, Waldorf, Bowie, Annapolis, Clinton, College
Park, Crofton, Fort Washington, Greenbelt, Langley Park,
Beltsville, Fort Hunt, Groveton, Forestville, Huntington, Largo,
Coral Hills, Bladensburg and Mayo.
Next Tuesday, for the first time at Reagan National Airport, the public can tour four planes that fly into hurricanes for better weather forecasts.
Hurricane Hunter aircraft pilots from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Air Force will be on hand, as well as hurricane experts. Dr. Rick Knabb, director of the National Hurricane Center, NHC hurricane specialists and local National Weather Service meteorologists will educate residents of vulnerable communities about hurricane preparedness.
NOAA will be joined by staff from FEMA, local and state emergency management offices, non-profit organizations such as the American Red Cross, and other partners.
Participating aircraft are the WC-130J, the Lockheed WP-3D Orion “Hurricane Hunter,” the NOAA G-IV and NOAA’s King Air Special Mission. All the planes are used to gather data on hurricanes and forecast their future intensity.
Tours are scheduled to be open to the public from 2-5 p.m.
Registration is not required for the public tours, although no backpacks or large bags are permitted. Tours begin at the aircraft hangar near the Signature Air terminal at shuttle bus stop No. 9. Four pre-selected school groups of 80 local fourth- and fifth-graders will also tour the event and aircraft that morning.
Image via National Weather Service
There’s been a lot of clean-up in Arlington following last Thursday’s strong storms that produced a weak tornado.
The National Weather Service says the tornado formed adjacent to the Army Navy Country Club and lasted for six minutes on its 4.5 mile journey through Pentagon City and into Washington, D.C. The F-0 tornado had peak winds of 60-70 miles per hour.
The Army Navy Country Club property experienced quite a bit of damage, and a spokesperson issued the following statement to ARLnow on Monday:
“The tornado did interrupt some of the Club’s golf operations, as we had to close 18 of the 27 holes of golf in the Club’s Arlington location. Due to the tornado, we lost dozens of trees, several water coolers, trash cans, and benches on the course. We are fortunate that the path of the tornado did not cause any injuries or damages to the buildings.”
The last time a tornado was recorded in Arlington was on September 24, 2001, when an F-1 that originated in Fairfax County traveled northeast for 15 miles through Alexandria and Arlington, then it crossed the 14th Street Bridge into the District. It caused extensive damage and injured two people in south Arlington.
The scene was different for Thursday’s tornado in Arlington and the two others confirmed in the region that day, said Chris Strong, a warning coordination meteorologist with NWS Baltimore/Washington. Not only were the tornadoes weaker, but they also formed in a different manner.
“These weaker ones last week were basically eddies along a gust front, rather than more classic supercell thunderstorm tornadoes,” Strong says. “Those eddies produced small whirls of wind that in narrow corridors snapped some trees and caused siding and roofing damages.”
Some of that damage occurred when a portion of the facade and roof of the Macy’s at the Pentagon City mall ripped off and fell onto a car, resulting in one minor injury.
Technological advances have prompted changes in how local emergency managers warn the public about tornadoes and other weather emergencies. Some parts of the country, especially those that are more prone to tornadoes, use sirens as a warning. But sirens aren’t necessarily as effective in Arlington and the District, partially because of the dense buildings and foliage.
“Tornado sirens are not used much in this region of the country,” Strong said. “One of the reasons they work better in tornado alley is the wide open spaces with lack of trees that allows the sound to travel well.”
The county has begun “phase three” of its snow removal process, during which workers will clear snow-covered neighborhood streets. Crews may take until Tuesday night to reach every street, the county said.
Though some major roads remain treacherous due to patches of ice, most traffic across the area appeared to be light or moderate with no major backups or road closures reported as of 8 a.m. this morning.
We appreciate your patience- we're making progress! This is a huge operation & it may take until Tues night to reach all the streets. #ARLwx
— Arlington DES (@ArlingtonDES) January 25, 2016
Want to know which streets are clear? Arlington’s snow plow map keeps track of where road crews have and haven’t been. And starting at noon today, residents can use the county’s snow reporting form to “identify snow issues that need attention.” Residents can also report issues by calling the streets hotline at 703-228-6485.
Most roads throughout the region are currently buried in snow and ice as snowflakes continue to fall.
Residents are being strongly urged by Virginia’s Department of Transportation (VDOT) to stay off the road unless absolutely necessary, but it seems like many across the area are heeding that advice.
Normally busy streets across Arlington have been virtually devoid of cars all morning. Though some people have ventured out into the snow and ice — two drivers were spotted struggling to climb a hill on Wilson Boulevard in Rosslyn earlier this morning — many appear to have stayed home.
Those that do drive, expectedly, are running into trouble. According to scanner traffic, a few cars have gotten struck on treacherous roads throughout the area, including one emergency vehicle.
More than a foot of snow has already fallen across the Arlington area, according to the National Weather Service. And it’s only going to get worse.
Wind gusts of up to 50 miles per hour, whiteout conditions and up to another foot of snowfall are possible through late tonight, says the Capital Weather Gang.
According to the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), most roads throughout the area are in “moderate to severe” condition, meaning that a layer of snow or ice partially or fully covers the roadway. VDOT added that workers in Northern Virginia will attempt to clear interstates, high-volume roads and subdivisions throughout the day.
Residents are being strongly urged to stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary. Most seem to be heeding the advice, as traffic is nearly nonexistent even on normally busy roads in Ballston. Still, some people are making a go of it, despite VDOT’s advice. A pair of drivers were observed struggling to climb a hill on Wilson Boulevard in Rosslyn around 7:30 a.m. this morning.
Though the snowy conditions thwarted drivers across the area, Dominion has not reported any widespread power outages throughout the area since the blizzard began.
Here’s what some other ARLNow readers reported on Twitter throughout the night and early this morning:
— Joel Holland (@joelkentholland) January 23, 2016
— Matt Madigan (@maddogrow) January 23, 2016
— Cameron B Sutton (@cbsutton70) January 23, 2016
— Tim Regan (@MrTimRegan) January 23, 2016
— mohamed amine idriss (@maicsimo) January 23, 2016
— Heather (@dcheatherc) January 23, 2016
— Elizabeth Rosas (@ElizaMRosas) January 23, 2016
— Hieu Nguyen (@HieuN78) January 23, 2016
— JJ Atala (@jjatala) January 23, 2016
— Katharine Hale (@KatharinehHale) January 23, 2016
@ARLnowDOTcom heard some thundersnow!!
— Jackie (@LittleNewton) January 23, 2016
A sure sign autumn has arrived is the number of squirrels scampering around the county collecting nuts. But residents in many parts of Arlington will notice a lot less squirrel scampering than in years past.
It appears most parts of the county have fewer squirrels this year. Arlington County Natural Resources Manager Alonso Abugattas confirms that from spring through October — although no hard numbers yet are available — there have been “reports of fewer squirrels and anecdotal evidence” of a smaller population.
Abugattas said although many people immediately point to last year’s cold winter as the culprit, that’s probably not directly the cause. He said it would be very unlikely for large numbers of squirrels to die here by freezing to death.
“These animals, squirrels and so forth, if they have an adequate food supply, their little motors can keep them going and they can survive. If they have food they can keep their metabolism up and the cold won’t affect them as much,” he said. “Remember, we have squirrels way up in Canada, so they’re used to that weather. These animals are remarkably resilient.”
A more likely scenario, according to Abugattas, is that last year’s small acorn crop negatively affected the squirrel population. Many squirrels probably struggled to find adequate food with the decrease in acorns, but the problem is very localized. Certain neighborhoods where the animals managed to find other sources of food — such as bird feeders or berries — didn’t see the sharp decline other neighborhoods experienced.
“Places where they’ve been able to find an alternate food source, those may have been able to bounce back. It really depends on local conditions at that site. I still don’t think there are many places where there are extra squirrels, which we saw a few years ago,” said Abugattas.
Because it is the beginning of the season, so far the robustness of the 2014 acorn crop is not known. Researchers have begun analyzing acorn production but won’t have a better idea of the crop specifics for another couple of months. It’s something naturalists are paying close attention to due to the amount of wildlife that oak trees support.
“I don’t think I’ve come up with a more important tree in our woods, as far as its importance to wildlife,” said Abugattas. “More than 600 different species depend on oaks. Caterpillars, birds, bears, turkeys, deer.”
And of course, the squirrels. Although this year seems to have been an overall down year for the local squirrel population, Abugattas offers a reminder of how quickly it could see a resurgence.
“Squirrels are rodents, so like other rodents they can reproduce fairly quickly. If they have an adequate food supply they can reproduce twice or three times per year,” he said. “In fact, we’ve probably just had another batch born. Again, it’s all anecdotal at this point, but we could see the population bounce back in many areas rather quickly.”
The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch for Arlington and the rest of the D.C. metro area. It remains in effect until 2:00 a.m. on Wednesday.
Rain is expected to continue through the evening and the area may also see thunderstorms.
* SHOWERS…WITH EMBEDDED AREAS OF HEAVY RAINFALL…WILL CONTINUE
THROUGH TONIGHT. ALTHOUGH IT WONT BE RAINING ALL THE TIME…
PERIODS OF HEAVY RAIN WILL LEAVE THE GOUND WATER CLOGGED…
RESULTING IN POTENTIAL FLOODING.
A FLASH FLOOD WATCH MEANS THAT CONDITIONS MAY DEVELOP THAT LEAD
TO FLASH FLOODING. FLASH FLOODING IS A VERY DANGEROUS SITUATION.
YOU SHOULD MONITOR LATER FORECASTS AND BE PREPARED TO TAKE ACTION
SHOULD FLASH FLOOD WARNINGS BE ISSUED.
For one day only, drivers parking in Arlington are getting a reprieve. Because the frigid temperatures are a danger to enforcement workers and because the weather is causing an increase in meter malfunctions, meters will not be enforced.
The Department of Environmental Services maintains the county’s meters and reports this week’s colder weather and last week’s freezing precipitation led to a higher than usual number of malfunctions on the multi-space meters that dispense tickets. An average day typically requires around 15 repairs throughout the county. However, there were 29 repairs last Thursday, 76 on Friday and 61 yesterday.
DES also has received a higher volume of calls to the broken meter hotline (703-228-3298). Instead of the usual 40 calls per day, 90 came in on Friday and 117 came in on Saturday and Monday. DES does not yet have a tally for today, but anticipates similar numbers.
The multi-space meters have a wireless connection that automatically informs DES of any malfunctions, but the department relies on phone calls for learning about problems with coin operated meters.
Although DES maintains the meters, members of the Arlington County Police Department take care of enforcement. In light of the issues today, the department decided to suspend meter enforcement.
“Enforcement has been suspended due to a combination of the extreme cold weather creating a danger to public service aides, and the growing number of malfunctioning meters,” said ACPD spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. “That’s just for today.”
(Updated at 2:55 p.m.) The cold temperatures have a lot of people cranking up the heat, but that’s putting stress on the region’s power grid. Dominion Power is asking customers to reduce any unnecessary use of electricity and alter the hours for major appliance use.
Dominion is one of the power providers in the 13 states and District of Columbia that use the PJM Interconnect power grid. PJM informed all of its clients that the power grid is currently under stress because of the increase in electric heat use due to the frigid temperatures. It’s asking customers to help conserve energy.
“We are asking customers to consider altering their normal pattern of power usage to mitigate the draw that is on the electrical grid right now,” said Dominion Power spokesman Chuck Penn. “We are confident today, as we were yesterday, that we have sufficient power capacity to meet the demand, there are just some steps utilities are asking customers to take to ease the load. We are just responding to the request from PJM Interconnect.”
Customers are asked to avoid using major appliances — such as stoves, dishwashers and clothes dryers — during the peak morning hours of 6:00-9:00 a.m. and the peak evening hours of 3:00-7:00 p.m. Customers are asked to lower their thermostats to between 65 and 70 degrees during the day in order to conserve energy. Dominion has additional energy saving tips on its website.
Arlington’s Emergency Winter Shelter in Courthouse (2049 15th Street N.) opened for around-the-clock services on Monday and will stay open, as a wind chill advisory remains in effect until 6:00 p.m. The shelter has been used by 75 people during the cold snap, and another 10 were provided with cots and blankets in the lobby of the nearby Detention Center. On Tuesday afternoon, DHS made the decision to keep the shelter open continuously on Wednesday as well.
“The good thing about this cold snap is that we had plenty of advance warning so we were able to let people know they needed to get off the streets and come inside,” said Department of Human Services spokesman Kurt Larrick. “A-SPAN did a great job of letting unsheltered homeless people in the community know that it was going to get really, really cold, and that we would have a warm bed for them.”
(Updated at 4:15 p.m.) The National Weather Service has upgraded the Severe Thunderstorm Watch for Arlington and surrounding areas to a Severe Thunderstorm Warning. It is in effect until 4:30 p.m.
* SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR…
THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA…
SOUTHERN MONTGOMERY COUNTY IN CENTRAL MARYLAND…
NORTHEASTERN CITY OF FAIRFAX IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA…
CITY OF FALLS CHURCH IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA…
ARLINGTON COUNTY IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA…
CITY OF ALEXANDRIA IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA…
WESTERN PRINCE GEORGES COUNTY IN CENTRAL MARYLAND…
EASTERN FAIRFAX COUNTY IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA…
* UNTIL 400 PM EDT
* AT 328 PM EDT…A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WAS DETECTED NEAR LAKE
BARCROFT…OR NEAR FALLS CHURCH…AND WAS MOVING EAST AT 20 MPH.
THIS STORM IS CAPABLE OF PRODUCING DAMAGING WINDS IN EXCESS OF 60
* LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE…
THE WOODROW WILSON BRIDGE…
REAGAN NATIONAL AIRPORT…
THIS IS A DANGEROUS STORM. IF YOU ARE IN ITS PATH…PREPARE
IMMEDIATELY FOR DAMAGING WIND GUSTS AND FREQUENT CLOUD TO GROUND
LIGHTNING. MOVE INDOORS TO A STURDY BUILDING AND STAY AWAY FROM
NWS has also issued a Flash Flood Warning until 6:00 p.m. Drivers are cautioned not to attempt to cross standing water, as it may be deeper than it appears.
More strong storms are possible tonight, and the area remains under a Severe Thunderstorm Watch until 9:00 p.m.