Newsletter

Morning Notes

Winter Storm Warning in Effect — Fairfax County has its first snow of the year. The D.C. area will remain under a Winter Storm Warning until 4 p.m. today (Monday), with the National Weather Service forecasting 3-7 inches of snow and wind gusts of up to 35 miles per hour, making travel difficult. [NWS]

FCPS Closed for Day Due to Snow — Instead of returning to classrooms as anticipated, Fairfax County Public School students will have an extra day of winter break. In expectation of snow, schools have been closed today with no virtual learning, and all activities on school grounds have been canceled, including extracurricular programs and adult classes. [FCPS]

Snow Closes Tysons Mass Vaccine Site — The Virginia Department of Health is closing all of its mass COVID-19 vaccination sites, including the one at Tysons Corner Center, today “out of an abundance of caution for patients and staff.” Those with appointments will be notified and can visit vase.vdh.virginia.gov to reschedule. [VDH]

Vienna Authorizes COVID-19 Testing Site Extension — The Personic Health Care drive-through COVID-19 testing site on Maple Avenue will be allowed to continue operating through the end of January. The facility was supposed to vacate the Emmaus United Church of Christ parking lot on Dec. 31, but with cases still high, Town Manager Mercury Payton granted it a “wind-down period” in response to a request from the church. [Town of Vienna]

Dangerous Driving Filmed on Beltway — A Reddit user posted a dashcam video last week that showed a near-collision where a pickup truck tries to drive a sedan out of its lane on the Capitol Beltway inner loop near Tysons. While there was no crash, the Virginia Department of Transportation shared the video as an example of the dangers of road rage. [NBC4]

Woman Arrested After Police Pursuit Near Scotts Run — Around 4:53 p.m. on Dec. 26, Fairfax County police officers recognized a vehicle that was reported stolen in a neighboring jurisdiction and attempted to stop the driver at Chain Bridge Road at Colshire Drive. The driver, an 18-year-old woman from D.C., hit two occupied police vehicles and fled, striking four other vehicles before she was stopped and arrested. [FCPD]

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Thursday Morning Notes

Fairfax County Cancels Vaccine Clinics Due to Storm — The Fairfax County Health Department has canceled the COVID-19 vaccination clinics it had scheduled for today, with the National Weather Service predicting snow and ice will make travel difficult. People who had appointments will receive an email with a link to reschedule. [Fairfax County Government]

Fairfax County and Falls Church City Close for Winter Storm — Fairfax County government offices and courts are closed today, and employees have been granted emergency administrative leave. The City of Falls Church has shuttered all city buildings, including the community center and library, but virtual services are still available. The City “cautions residents to stay home and off the roads as conditions are very icy.” [Fairfax County Government, City of Falls Church]

FCPS Cancels All Classes and Other School Activities — Fairfax County Public School buildings are closed today, and all in-person and virtual classes have been canceled, along with other activities on school grounds. The Fairfax County School Board will still hold a virtual meeting tonight starting at 7 p.m. [FCPS]

Virginia to Allow Up to 250 People at Outdoor Sporting Events — “Virginia governor Ralph Northam announced Wednesday he will expand the number of spectators allowed at outdoor sporting events to 250 people. The expansion of capacity limits will be officially implemented Monday.” [Washingtonian]

Bicycling Advocates Praise Fairview Park Nursing School Plan — The Fairfax County Planning Commission approved the Arizona College of Nursing’s proposal to create a school in an office building on Fairview Park Drive in Falls Church on Jan. 27. The project agreement includes a commitment to provide space for a future shared-use bridge over I-495 and install bicycle racks outside the building. [Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling]

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As of 1:00 p.m., about 1.5 inches of snow have fallen in the Tysons area today in Fairfax County’s first blast of winter weather of the season, the National Weather Service reported.

The snow, which has now mostly transitioned to rain, has affected a number of local community services.

The McLean Community Center will close at 4 p.m. today due to the ongoing inclement weather.

The Vienna Community Center also announced shortly after noon that it will close at 4:30 p.m., and all parks and recreation classes and programs for this afternoon and evening have been canceled.

In the City of Falls Church, recycling and yard waste collection has been halted for the remainder of the day “due to increasingly hazardous winter weather.” The city says collection may resume tomorrow, or potentially at a later date depending on when conditions improve.

“You may leave your recycling can and yard waste out at the curb if it does not impede vehicle or pedestrian traffic, or will not run off into the storm drain,” Falls Church City said.

Fairfax Connector is still operating normally, but the local bus service says “passengers should expect delays due to deteriorating conditions.”

Fairfax County is under a winter weather advisory until 1 a.m. on Thursday as well as a flood watch, which will remain in effect until 7 a.m. tomorrow.

Staff photo by Angela Woolsey

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All Fairfax County Public Schools students will learn virtually tomorrow (Wednesday) as the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area braces for its potential first snow of the year.

While the heaviest precipitation is expected to fall more toward the western part of Virginia, the National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory at 4:00 p.m. today for Fairfax County, predicting that the area will see mixed precipitation with about one to three inches of snow and sleet accumulation.

The advisory will be in effect from 10 a.m. on Wednesday to 1 a.m. on Thursday.

“Plan on slippery road conditions,” the NWS says. “The hazardous conditions could impact the morning or evening commute.”

That forecast is a slight downgrade from the agency’s projections on Monday, when it issued a winter storm watch suggesting that Fairfax County could see more than five inches of snow.

Still, FCPS has decided to close all school buildings to students. Here is the full news release:

All Fairfax County Public Schools’ students will participate in virtual learning tomorrow.

Students will have synchronous (teacher-led) instruction.

Information about food distribution will be sent separately.

The following activities in schools and on school grounds are canceled:

  • appointments for in-person assessments
  • extracurricular activities
  • interscholastic contests
  • team practices
  • field trips
  • middle school after-school programs
  • professional learning and training courses
  • adult and community education classes
  • recreation programs and community use by outside groups not affiliated with FCPS
  • School age child care (SACC/SRS) centers are closed.

Organizers of virtual school events will reach out to participants regarding the status of the event.

Public school bus support for non-school programs is canceled.

While division operations are open, access to school facilities is limited and school work spaces for instruction are unavailable. All teachers, instructional assistants, and other less-than-12-month staff should telework from home. Program managers will inform staff if or when school building work spaces are available. School Office and Central Office 12-month employees who can telework should telework or follow supervisor direction for reporting in-person.

Staff photo by Catherine Douglas Moran

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Update on 7/10/19 — Both lanes of Kirby Road from Dolley Madison Blvd. to Claiborne Drive are open, but traffic barriers have been set up past that, according to information from the Fairfax County Office of Emergency Management and forwarded by Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust.

Earlier: Severe weather damage will keep Kirby Road closed in McLean to through-traffic for the foreseeable future.

The road runs from Dolley Madison Blvd near the George Washington Memorial Parkway down to Great Falls Street. But flooding at Pimmit Run from storms yesterday means that while residents in the area are able to access their homes, the route no longer connects Dolley Madison Blvd to Old Dominion Drive.

https://twitter.com/VaDOTNOVA/status/1148731850686439424

“We have no specific timeline, but it will be weeks,” Ellen Kamilakis, a spokesperson for the Virginia Department of Transportation, told Tysons Reporter. “The water tore right through the road [and] exposed the area underneath all the way.”

Part of the upper asphalt is visible carved away by the storm, but Kamilakis said the damage underneath is so extensive that the road would not be able to support the weight of a car. Kamilakis said the road will require complete reconstruction — and a review of whether the road needs stormwater upgrades.

Earlier today (Tuesday) traffic on the road was stopped near Dolley Madison Blvd as the crew worked to finish clearing a debris-cluttered bridge, but Kamilakis said the closure will be tightened up to just the area immediately surrounding the broken section of the road.

Kamilakis said the cleaning crews had been working overnight to clear away the debris, and the VDOT Twitter noted that the efforts were rewarded by one local man who brought water to the workers.

Those trying to get from northern McLean to areas near Arlington will either have to go thrown “downtown” McLean or go further east to Glebe Road.

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Tonight’s weather might be ugly, but anyone hoping for another snow day might be out of luck.

The National Weather Service is forecasting a possible one to two inches of snow in the Tysons area from 7 p.m. tonight (Thursday) through 1 p.m. tomorrow (Friday).

NWS has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for the area:

…WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 10 PM THIS EVENING TO 10 AM EST FRIDAY… * WHAT…SNOW AND SLEET EXPECTED. TOTAL SNOW AND SLEET ACCUMULATIONS OF 1 TO 3 INCHES EXPECTED. * WHERE…THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, PORTIONS OF CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN MARYLAND AND NORTHERN AND NORTHWEST VIRGINIA. * WHEN…FROM 10 PM THIS EVENING TO 10 AM EST FRIDAY. A BRIEF PERIOD OF MODERATE TO HEAVY SNOW MAY OCCUR BETWEEN 2 AM AND 6 AM. * ADDITIONAL DETAILS…PLAN ON SLIPPERY ROAD CONDITIONS. THE HAZARDOUS CONDITIONS COULD IMPACT THE MORNING COMMUTE. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY MEANS THAT PERIODS OF SNOW, SLEET OR FREEZING RAIN WILL CAUSE TRAVEL DIFFICULTIES. EXPECT SLIPPERY ROADS AND LIMITED VISIBILITIES, AND USE CAUTION WHILE DRIVING. WHEN VENTURING OUTSIDE, WATCH YOUR FIRST FEW STEPS TAKEN ON STEPS, SIDEWALKS, AND DRIVEWAYS, WHICH COULD BE ICY AND SLIPPERY, INCREASING YOUR RISK OF A FALL AND INJURY. &&

The Virginia Department of Transportation said on Twitter that it will be spot-brining hotspots — including bridges, ramps, and overpasses — and commuters should plan to adjust travel times or telework.

Citing an “abundance of caution,” tomorrow’s planned Vesper Trail ribbon-cutting event is cancelled and will be rescheduled.

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The City of Falls Churched announced via a Simpsons GIF that trash and recycling curbside pickup services delayed yesterday on account of the snowstorm have been rescheduled for this Saturday.

Trash pickup for other localities started sooner. In Vienna, trash pickup canceled yesterday was picked up earlier today, though the town asked locals not to include brush or bulk items.

Roughly 90 percent of Fairfax County residents and businesses use a private collection service and are encouraged to reach out to their chosen provider to find out when trash services resume.

American Disposal Services, one of the largest private collection services in the county, announced that its Wednesday trash pickup service was also postponed to the weekend. According to the website:

Wednesday Residential service will be made up on Saturday, February 23, 2019. Please have trash and / or recycling out the night before to ensure collection.

Commercial and Roll off service will be on a one day delay. Wednesday service will be performed Thursday, Thursday service will be performed Friday, Friday and Saturday services will be performed Saturday.

The collection service also asked that the lots near dumpsters and the wheels are cleared of any ice.

At least one Falls Church resident noted on Twitter, though, that some Fairfax Public Works employees were braving the foul weather yesterday to pick up bulk trash on the street.

Photo via Facebook

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It’s cold out and the snow is still piling up in the streets, but that hasn’t kept some stores from opening. Tysons currently has around three inches of snow on the ground.

Tysons Corner Center said in a tweet this morning that it would be open, though individual retailers within the store might be closed.

The security office at Tysons Galleria said that the mall is closed today as a result of the snow.

The Tower Club Tysons will be open with a limited menu until 2 p.m., with an anticipated opening and normal hours at 7 a.m. on Thursday.

While the emergency departments remain open, Inova’s physical therapy location in Tysons is closed today, as are several other Inova programs across the county. Ninotch massage and sports therapy also announced its Tysons location is closed today.

The lunch special event at TenPenh near Tysons Galleria is also postponed, though the restaurant remains open.

Vienna government facilities and community centers are closed today. Maple Avenue Restaurant in Vienna announced that it would also be closed today.

All library branches are closed today as is the Fairfax Animal Shelter, which advised locals to stay cuddled up at home with their pets.

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(Updated at 9:30 a.m.) The Beltway and I-66 are mostly wet and drive-able as snow continues to fall, but it appears that the vast majority of drivers are heeding calls to stay off the rods today.

Only very light traffic could be seen on either highway as of 9 a.m., normally a time when both would be jammed with commuters.

It’s a similar story on Route 123 in Tysons and other local arteries, but with more snow in the road and fewer cars. Neighborhood roads and side streets are snow-covered but largely passable for those with the right tires and vehicles.

As of 8:45 a.m., Virginia State Police reported 11 crashes during the storm in its Fairfax Division.

VDOT is continuing to urge drivers to stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary today, with morning snow giving way to sleet and freezing rain in the afternoon, to be followed by plain rain which will make everything a slushy mess.

“Drivers are asked to avoid travel for safety today as a winter storm moves through the region with a range of precipitation,” VDOT said. “Pockets of heavier snow may limit visibility and stick to the pavement, and a mix of freezing rain may quickly make roads slick.”

The federal government is closed today. Fairfax County schools, government offices, courts and park authority facilities are closed. The Fairfax Connector is running on a Saturday schedule. City of Falls Church government and schools are also closed.

Two inches of snow had fallen on Tysons as of 8:30 a.m., according to the National Weather Service.

In addition to asking residents to stay off the roads during the storm, authorities are encouraging locals to take it easy while shoveling today’s wet snow. Per the fire department:

Your Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department encourages you to take safety precautions if you are going to shovel snow.

It is important to consider your physical limitations. Wear weather appropriate gear to keep you warm. Only shovel snow if you are physically able to do so. This snow is a wet and heavy type of snow. Remember to take it slow when shoveling snow!

Update at 1 p.m. — As the snow changes over to sleet and freezing rain, 3.5 inches of accumulation are being reported in Falls Church and 4.2 inches have been reported in Vienna, according to National Weather Service spotters.

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(Updated at 4:35 p.m.) Fairfax County Public Schools will be closed tomorrow (Wednesday) due to a winter storm that’s just hours away from reaching the area.

A Winter Storm Warning has been issued ahead of the storm, which is expected to drop several inches of snow and some sleet and freezing rain on Fairfax County.

Despite VDOT pretreating local roadways, authorities are urging residents to stay off the roads — if at all possible — after the flakes start flying early Wednesday morning. Delays and cancellations are likely for schools, governments and flights Wednesday.

More from the National Weather Service:

…WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 1 AM TO 7 PM EST WEDNESDAY… * WHAT…HEAVY MIXED PRECIPITATION EXPECTED. TOTAL SNOW ACCUMULATIONS OF 3 TO 6 INCHES AND ICE ACCUMULATIONS OF UP TO ONE TENTH OF AN INCH EXPECTED. * WHERE…THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND PORTIONS OF CENTRAL MARYLAND AND CENTRAL AND NORTHERN VIRGINIA. * WHEN…FROM 1 AM TO 7 PM EST WEDNESDAY. SNOW WILL OVERSPREAD THE AREA EARLY WEDNESDAY MORNING AND MIX WITH AND CHANGE TO SLEET AND FREEZING RAIN DURING THE LATE MORNING AND EARLY AFTERNOON HOURS WEDNESDAY. PRECIPITATION WILL CHANGE TO PLAIN RAIN WEDNESDAY EVENING. THE HEAVIEST SNOW IS LIKELY WEDNESDAY MORNING. * ADDITIONAL DETAILS…TRAVEL COULD BE VERY DIFFICULT. THE HAZARDOUS CONDITIONS COULD IMPACT THE MORNING OR EVENING COMMUTE. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… A WINTER STORM WARNING MEANS SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF SNOW, SLEET AND ICE WILL MAKE TRAVEL VERY HAZARDOUS OR IMPOSSIBLE. WHEN VENTURING OUTSIDE, WATCH YOUR FIRST FEW STEPS TAKEN ON STEPS, SIDEWALKS, AND DRIVEWAYS, WHICH COULD BE ICY AND SLIPPERY, INCREASING YOUR RISK OF A FALL AND INJURY. &&

More via social media:

https://twitter.com/VaDOTNOVA/status/1097896285967994880

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