The Capital Weather Gang reports that as Friday night wears on, the chances of light snow, or a mix of snow and rain, will increase. A mix of snow and rain is likely to fall during Saturday, with as much as an inch or two expected to accumulate depending on the severity of the storm.
County government has been planning all year for any winter weather, including budgeting $1.4 million for snow removal, stockpiling 9,200 tons of salt and spending 1,950 hours training snow crews. The team is made up of 92 drivers and 46 trucks.
Crews from the county’s Department of Environmental Services were out this morning with liquid de-icer to pre-treat some county streets.
— Arlington DES (@ArlingtonDES) December 8, 2017
Work on snow-affected roads is broken into four phases, per a county press release:
- Phase 1: Snow crews pre-treat main roads before a storm.
- Phase 2: During the storm, the priority is to keep main arteries passable for emergency vehicles and public transportation.
- Phase 3: Plowing of residential streets and trails begins. It’s important to know that these streets may only be passable with one lane and you may not see bare pavement.
- Phase 4: After the storm, cleanup operations begin, which includes treating ice on the roadways.
As well as more than 1,000 lane miles of county streets, crews will also clear nearly 350 bus stops and shelters, 35 miles of sidewalks and 21 pedestrian bridges or overpasses. Ten miles of trails and three miles of protected bike lanes also will be cleared.
And residents can play their part in helping make snow clearing as easy as possible:
- 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 plows have more room to maneuver
- Clear your sidewalks and scoop snow towards your house, not the street, BUT
- 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
- Stay connected through the Snow and Ice Central webpage and DES social media platforms for updates on snow phases, transportation, trash and other important notifications. Follow on Twitter @ArlingtonDES and on Facebook at Arlington County Department of Environmental Services.
Crews from the Virginia Department of Transportation will also be pre-treating roads ahead of any snow. VDOT urged drivers to give their trucks room to work.
Crews will be pretreating roads today & tmrw between rush hours ahead of potential winter weather during Friday's PM commute. Pls give tanker & safety trucks room to work. Learn more: https://t.co/2gX5CDGM8i #brinelines pic.twitter.com/T7YP4Hq3cD
— VDOT Northern VA (@VaDOTNOVA) December 7, 2017
Our latest calculations for the chance of 2" or more of snow highlights the area from central Virginia up the I-95 corridor. For more graphics, visit: https://t.co/FdluCAnbTi. pic.twitter.com/gIDKzkFz8x
— NWS DC/Baltimore (@NWS_BaltWash) December 8, 2017
NEW: Snow is coming. Here's CWG's snow accumulation outlook for Saturday, as well as information on storm timing and our impacts analysis. Follow this link, which will be updated throughout today: https://t.co/84HdbBUrOy
— Capital Weather Gang (@capitalweather) December 8, 2017
ACPD is monitoring the weather conditions for tomorrow. If there is any change to the performance schedule, we'll post an update on our social media accounts.
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) December 8, 2017
Arlington County and the D.C. region will be under a freeze watch from Friday evening until Saturday morning as cold temperatures descend on the area.
An Arctic blast of cold air arriving tonight (Thursday) will bring temperatures in the 20s on Friday night and Saturday morning.
The National Weather Service said sensitive plants may be damaged or killed, and NWS recommends protecting from the cold.
From the National Weather Service:
FREEZE WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM FRIDAY EVENING THROUGH SATURDAY MORNING… * TEMPERATURES… LOWS AROUND 20 INLAND AREAS, MID 20S FOR THE URBAN CENTERS AND ALONG THE WESTERN SHORE OF THE CHESAPEAKE BAY AND TIDAL POTOMAC RIVER * IMPACTS… FROST AND FREEZE CONDITIONS WILL DAMAGE OR KILL SENSITIVE VEGETATION ON FRIDAY NIGHT. TAKE STEPS NOW TO PROTECT TENDER PLANTS FROM THE COLD. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… A FREEZE WATCH MEANS SUB-FREEZING TEMPERATURES ARE POSSIBLE. THESE CONDITIONS COULD KILL CROPS AND OTHER SENSITIVE VEGETATION.
Much colder weather is on the way as a strong cold front moves across the region late tonight and early Friday.The coldest night will be Friday night when temperatures bottom out in the upper teens to 20s. pic.twitter.com/BLtg07bLsj
— NWS DC/Baltimore (@NWS_BaltWash) November 9, 2017
Freeze Watches are in effect for those portions of our region which are still considered to have an active growing season. Northern Maryland may see a freeze tonight, while they and the rest of the region will definitely see a freeze Friday night! pic.twitter.com/vGQXkRAu2W
— NWS DC/Baltimore (@NWS_BaltWash) November 9, 2017
Arlington and other parts of the D.C. area are under a Frost Advisory tonight.
Temperatures are expected to dip into the mid-30s early Wednesday morning, potentially damaging sensitive plants.
From the National Weather Service:
… FROST ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 1 AM TO 9 AM EDT WEDNESDAY… * TEMPERATURES… DROPPING INTO THE MID 30S BY DAWN, ESPECIALLY AWAY FROM LARGER BODIES OF WATER AND URBAN AREAS. * IMPACTS… A FROST ADVISORY MEANS THAT WIDESPREAD FROST IS EXPECTED. SENSITIVE OUTDOOR PLANTS MAY BE KILLED IF LEFT UNCOVERED. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… A FROST ADVISORY MEANS THAT WIDESPREAD FROST IS EXPECTED. SENSITIVE OUTDOOR PLANTS MAY BE KILLED IF LEFT UNCOVERED.
Forecasters say Arlington could break its rainless streak next week, depending on what happens with Tropical Depression 16, which is expected to turn into Tropical Storm Nate.
The storm has the potential to intensify rapidly and could strike the Gulf Coast as a strong tropical storm or Category 1 hurricane this weekend. The storm is expected to make its way north just as a cold front is pushing into the East Coast.
— Capital Weather Gang (@capitalweather) October 4, 2017
The rain could arrive in Arlington by late Sunday night, but timing depends on how quickly the front moves through and its clash with the depression. That also would affect how much rain falls, but the Capital Weather Gang predicts it could be several inches.
The National Hurricane Center predicts that this storm will bring “torrential rain” to Central America, but cautions that it’s too early to determine any further impacts this early.
— NHC Atlantic Ops (@NHC_Atlantic) October 4, 2017
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.”