I-66 Ramp Near Vienna to Close Tonight — The ramp from westbound I-66 to the Vienna/Fairfax-GMU Metro station will close for approximately three weeks start at 11 p.m. today (Friday). The closure is needed for utility work related to the I-66 Express Lanes expansion. Drivers will be detoured via Route 123 (Chain Bridge Road) South and I-66 East, with the Nutley Street exit as an alternative. [VDOT]
What Happened to Yesterday’s Snow — “After our forecast of a coating to two inches of snow in the region, most places saw no accumulation Thursday morning. Some spots didn’t even see a flake, only raindrops…The flawed predictions can be traced to computer model errors and the inability of human forecasters to adequately account for them.” [Capital Weather Gang]
ABC Stores Change Hours Due to Covid — The Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Authority will adjust operating hours at all of its stores to noon starting Monday (Jan. 24), citing reduced staffing capacity due to COVID-19 cases among workers. Closing hours remain the same, and curbside pickup and delivery services are still available. [WTOP]
McLean School Awards Student for Service — “The Potomac School has announced its first-ever Potomac School Award for Exemplary Service to recognize individuals who make a difference through service to others. The inaugural award went to Ericc Powell, a volunteer with Habitat for Humanity Metro Maryland.” [Patch]
County to Talk Affordable Housing — “Fairfax County and the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority, in partnership with the George Mason School of Business, is planning the third annual Fairfax County Housing Symposium for Thursday, March 17, 2022, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The theme of this year’s event is ‘Affordable Housing: A Foundation for Economic Recovery, Growth, and Opportunity.'” [Housing and Community Development]
County Board to Vote on New Electoral District Map — “The Board of Supervisors’ last full meeting of 2021 will include an agenda of district-specific and countywide proposals. The major items up for consideration are redistricting of the Board of Supervisors and School Board districts as well as expansion of tax relief for seniors and people with disabilities.” [Patch]
Wet Snow Possible Tomorrow — A cold front headed for the D.C. region could bring the first measurable snowfall of the season. Forecasts suggest up to an inch of accumulation is likely, with a ceiling of 3 inches, and the precipitation isn’t expected to stick around long, though the timing could cause some trouble in coinciding with the morning commute. [Capital Weather Gang]
Falls Church Shuts Down New Taco Restaurant — The popular Arlington-based food truck La Tingeria has occupied its new brick-and-mortar site at 626 S. Washington Street in Falls Church for less than a month, but the city plans to revoke its certificate of occupancy, citing complaints about customers parking in nearby residential neighborhoods. [ARLnow]
Santa Hitches Ride in Mosaic District Autonomous Shuttle — “Santa Claus gave Rudolph and the other reindeer a night off as he rode to his Target appearance in the latest driverless technology, RELAY. Santa waved happily to the crowds in Mosaic as his sleigh, aka the autonomous shuttle, wound its way down District Avenue.” [Department of Economic Initiatives]
Kansas Gives Preview of Capital One Hall Show — “Carry on all you wayward classic rock listeners! Kansas is ready to rock the brand new Capital One Hall in Tysons, Virginia, on Dec. 19…The band will perform the full “Point of Know Return” album, as well as other huge hits.” [WTOP]
Photo by ERTRIPP9/Twitter
Warmer Winter Expected — “According to the National Weather Service (NWS), we will see above normal temps this winter w/ an equal chance of above, near, or below normal precipitation. We urge you to be prepared for #WinterWeater to keep you and your family safe!” [Ready Fairfax/Twitter]
Pandemic Prompts Change at Fairfax County Meals on Wheels — “Roycraft said that he, along with about 480 volunteers, used to deliver meals to elderly people in Fairfax County about three times a week. When the pandemic struck, this changed…But then, even as pandemic restrictions eased up, the county decided not to return to a volunteer-based delivery system.” [Fairfax Times]
McLean Student Bakes Way onto Food Network — “What started as a pandemic hobby has evolved into a small business for Finley, who estimates she has completed 20 orders to date, including cakes, cupcakes and cookies. Her skill caught the attention of the Food Network, which offered her the chance to compete in its Kids Baking Championship, premiering Dec. 27.” [WTOP]
Why Johnny Depp Sued Amber Heard in Fairfax County — “Despite the subtle language, the tenuous connection to Virginia, and the previous loss in court on a stronger claim, Depp sued Heard in Fairfax County — and has won four motions to dismiss in three years. On October 13, 2021, a Fairfax County judge ruled that because the processors and ink cartridges that delivered the words to the public were located in Virginia, Depp could sue Heard for libel in the state.” [Northern Virginia Magazine]
Local Church Collects Food Donations With Drive-Thru Nativity — For a second year in a row, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in McLean will hold a drive-thru Nativity event next week that will double as a food drive to support the nonprofit SHARE of McLean. Last year’s event drew over 1,000 cars and brought in enough donations to last the food bank two months. [Patch]
(Updated at 3 p.m.) Roughly 800 people in Dunn Loring are currently without power as rain continues to fall throughout the D.C. metropolitan area.
While flooding impacts appear to be more concentrated to the east in Arlington, Alexandria, and D.C. so far, Dominion Energy reports that 420 customers around Cedar Lane and Electric Avenue have lost power due to a broken pole.
There is also a power outage in Idylwood affecting 373 customers, though the cause of that outage is pending investigation.
The utility company estimates that power will be restored at both sites between 4 and 9 p.m.
The Fairfax County Police Department confirmed that the following roads have been closed:
- Old Courthouse Road at Besley is closed due to flooding
- Idylwood Road at Cedar is blocked due to down wires
- Georgetown Pike between Utterback and Springvale is closed due to a downed tree
As of 3 p.m., Lawyers Road at Hunter Mill Road in Vienna has also been closed due to high waters, according to Fairfax Alerts.
Autumn has arrived, and that means Vienna homeowners are about to shift from mowing their lawns to raking them.
However, exactly when that transition will begin remains a little hazy.
The Town of Vienna announced earlier this week that fall leaf collection is coming soon, but the specific details of this year’s schedule have not yet been determined, according to town spokesperson Karen Thayer.
“The weather has been so warm, we haven’t seen much leaf litter, yet,” Thayer told Tysons Reporter. “Typically leaf collection starts toward the end of October or beginning of November, and the timeline depends on Mother Nature.”
According to the Virginia Tourism Corporation, Northern Virginia’s average temperature in October is 69 degrees Fahrenheit, and fall foliage in the region usually reaches peak color around Oct. 15-25.
This October, though, temperatures have lingered in the 70s with today (Friday) reaching a high of 83 degrees, even as winter arrived early on the other side of the country.
The unusually mild weather falls in line with scientists’ expectations for how the seasons will evolve with climate change, according to the Capital Weather Gang, which predicts that the western cold front will travel east and bring more typical autumnal conditions by Sunday (Oct. 17).
Given the weather’s current volatility, the Town of Vienna is holding off on announcing a concrete timeline for its fall leaf collection, though some other localities in the area, including the cities of Falls Church and Alexandria, have already unveiled start dates.
Once collections begin, Vienna’s crews will make at least three passes through town by the end of the calendar year. Residents can see the routes through a map on the town website, and “Leaf Collection Coming Soon” signs will be posted in local neighborhoods in advance of each round.
Leaves should be raked to the curb for collection, or they can be bagged and picked up as part of Vienna’s weekly trash collection services, the town says in its news release:
Residents are asked to rake leaves to the curb for collection. Leaf piles should be free of limbs, sticks, acorns, and other debris that may clog the vacuum hose.
Alternatively, Town residents may, if desired, bag leaves for pick up on regular weekly trash collection days. Please place leaves in paper yard waste bags available at garden and home supply stores or loose in a can. In accordance with anti-pollution laws, burning leaves is prohibited. For more information about leaf collection, call 703-255-6380.
Rake leaves just to the curb. Raking leaves into the street is dangerous because:
- Cars parked on leaf piles may catch fire.
- Children playing in the leaves may be struck by a passing vehicle.
- Leaves may prevent rainwater from reaching storm drain inlets.
(Updated at 8:40 a.m.) Flood Watch in Effect — Fairfax County is under a Flood Watch into this afternoon, as “significant” rain is expected. Several roads have been closed due to flooding or downed trees, including Potomac River Road at Georgetown Pike, Lawyers Road at Hunter Mill, and Old Courthouse at Besley Road. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, FCPD]
Suspect in Tysons Sexual Assault Charged in New Incident — Fairfax County police have filed new sexual assault charges against a Woodbridge man who was arrested on Sept. 3 in connection with a sexual assault reported at a Tysons hotel in July. Reported on Aug. 26, the second incident involved the man allegedly assaulting a woman he’d arranged to meet at a hotel in the Seven Corners area. [Patch]
FCPS Shares SAT Results — The Class of 2021 performed above the national average on the SAT with just a 4.4% drop in participation, compared to a 31.4% global decline, despite the challenges of conducting standardized testing during the pandemic, Fairfax County Public Schools reported yesterday (Wednesday). Results from the College Board showed that Asian and white students recorded higher average scores than their Black and Hispanic counterparts. [WTOP]
Area Officials Consider Prioritizing Equity in Planning — The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments board will vote on Oct. 13 on a regional transportation and land use plan that would prioritize low-income residents and communities of color when allocating funds for affordable housing, transportation, and other projects. Planners say the move would help address disparities in health outcomes and access to transit and other services. [The Washington Post]
Tysons Media Company Has Suitors — “Tegna Inc. (NYSE: TGNA), the Tysons-based operator of dozens of U.S. television stations, said Tuesday it has recently received multiple acquisition proposals — a new round of overtures after offers last year were pulled as the Covid-19 pandemic was taking hold. According to reports, media mogul Byron Allen is teaming with alternative investment firm Ares Management Corp. (NYSE: ARES) on a bid, while private equity giant Apollo Global Management Inc. (NYSE: APO) and Standard General LP are joining on another.” [Washington Business Journal]
Regional Park Authority Founders Celebrated — The Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority recently lauded the achievements of its founders, including conservationist Ira Gabrielson, who gave land to Fairfax County that became Oakton’s Gabrielson Gardens Park. Started 62 years ago, NOVA Parks has preserved more than 12,000 acres of land and oversees attractions like the Washington & Old Dominion Regional Trail. [Sun Gazette]
Updated at 3 p.m. — Swinks Mill Road in McLean has reopened after floodwaters swept debris onto the bridge at Scott Run this morning.
Updated at 12:10 p.m. — A Tornado Watch has been issued for the D.C. area, including Fairfax County, until 7 p.m.
Updated at 11:30 a.m. — All activities scheduled to take place in Fairfax County Public Schools this afternoon and evening have been canceled due to the anticipated inclement weather.
Earlier: Several feet of water surrounded a car on a road in Wolf Trap this morning (Wednesday) after an overnight storm passed through Fairfax County, producing flooding with more rain expected to fall throughout the day.
The National Weather Service issued a Flood Warning at 8:35 a.m. today (Wednesday) for central Fairfax County and Northern Virginia that will be in effect until noon.
“At 8:35 a.m. EDT, stream gauges report water levels continue to rise from earlier heavy rain,” the NWS said in the alert. “Flooding is already occurring in the warned area. Between 1.5 and 2.5 inches of rain have fallen.”
A Flash Flood Watch is also in effect for much of the D.C. area through 8 a.m. tomorrow (Thursday).
Fairfax County officials warned people not to drive through flooded routes. It was unclear the extent of rescue efforts that occurred in Wolf Trap, which the county first described as Vienna. A spokesperson later said officials responded to the 9900 block of Browns Mill Road.
Officials closed several roads due to flooding, including Old Courthouse and Besley roads in Tysons, Fairfax County Police Department reported.
Locations expected to face flooding include Dunn Loring, Great Falls, Merrifield, Pimmit Hills, Tysons, and Vienna.
The Virginia Department of Transportation’s Northern Virginia District reported at 8:55 a.m. that Swinks Mill Road has been closed just north of Scott Run, posting a photo on Twitter of damage to a bridge over the stream.
McLean: Swinks Mill Rd is closed just north of the bridge over Scott Run. The bridge itself is fine. Crews will be removing debris and repairing the approach to the bridge. This is not expected to be a long-term closure. pic.twitter.com/cCUuvQN3fO
— VDOT Northern VA (@VaDOTNOVA) September 1, 2021
The flooding and rain come courtesy of Tropical Depression Ida, the remnants of the hurricane that slammed the Gulf Coast earlier this week.
While the storm is expected to become post-tropical today, it could still bring three to eight inches of rain with some higher amounts through Thursday, and significant and life-threatening flash flooding is likely in the mid-Atlantic, the NWS Weather Prediction Center said in a 5 a.m. bulletin.
“We are expecting several inches of rain today from the remnants of Hurricane Ida, picking up in intensity in the early afternoon until around midnight,” Fairfax County said in a post on its emergency information blog. “We have already experienced an early morning storm that has led to power outages, swift water rescues and numerous road closures due to downed trees and flooded roads.”
The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department is urging people to avoid driving through flooded or closed roadways, noting that stalled and trapped cars put the driver, passengers, and first responders in unnecessary danger.
“By now, many drivers across Fairfax County know which roads traditionally flood,” the department wrote in a blog post. “FCFRD asks that if you need to be on the roadways today that you stay informed and plan alternate routes around flooded roadways. Our firefighters and paramedics do not want to meet you by (a preventable) ‘accident’!”
Prepare for Remnants of Hurricane Ida — Tropical Depression Ida is expected to hit the D.C. area today (Wednesday). A Flash Flood Watch will take effect this morning, and Gov. Ralph Northam has already declared a state of emergency. Fairfax County says to avoid flooded streets, remove valuables from basements, and ensure storm drains and gutters aren’t clogged, and Falls Church City residents can borrow sandbags until 3 p.m. [Fairfax County Emergency Information]
County Grants Program Now Accepting Applicants — Fairfax County’s new Active and Thriving Community Grants Program opened its application portal yesterday (Tuesday) and will accept applicants until 11:59 p.m. on Sept. 14. Approved on July 27, the program will allocate $10 million in federal relief money to select small businesses and nonprofits negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. [Fairfax County Government]
FCPS Ready to Help Afghan Refugee Students — “[Annandale resident] Tahir is awaiting the arrival of his wife and other children, who were among thousands of Afghans who fled after the Taliban takeover earlier this month…When his family arrives, one of his priorities will be enrolling the children in school. A spokesperson for Fairfax County Public Schools said faculty and staff are already helping Afghan refugees enroll their children and providing them with additional support to help students adjust to their new environment.” [Inside NoVA]
Longtime Falls Church Crossing Guard Retires — “It was almost like any other day as Audrey Luthman greeted students heading to school Tuesday morning. She’s helped Falls Church students cross the roads safely since 1971, but her work has come to an end…City of Falls Church officials and families gathered Tuesday morning to celebrate Luthman’s 50 years of service and retirement.” [Patch]
(Updated at 4:45 p.m.) A thunderstorm that has reportedly dropped hail in nearby Arlington County and D.C. has also knocked out power for more than 3,000 McLean residents.
A Severe Thunderstorm Warning was issued for northeastern Fairfax County, though it was scheduled to end at 4:45 p.m.
According to Dominion Energy’s outage map, power outages attributed to failed circuits were affecting 1,638 customers around Ingleside and Langley as well as 839 customers in the area around the Route 123 and George Washington Memorial Parkway interchange.
Another 703 customers in downtown McLean are also without power, though a cause is still under investigation.
Crews are awaiting assignment, and an estimated time of restoration for the power outages is pending investigation, according to Dominion.
In addition, traffic delays may be coming after a downed tree was reported on the southbound GW Parkway after Route 123.
[8/26 at 4:13 PM] A Severe Thunderstorm Warning has been issued until 4:45 PM for Northeastern Fairfax County. Significant lightning is associated with these storms. Please move indoors immediately. #VaWx pic.twitter.com/8EmcwGPhyE
— Ready Fairfax (@ReadyFairfax) August 26, 2021
#McLean SB George Washington Pkwy after RT-123, tree down. Follow authority direction #vatraffic #dtcraffic
Listen live to WTOP's latest traffic reports every 10 minutes on the 8s. https://t.co/k7ONQAzTiR or on the WTOP app
— WTOP Traffic (@WTOPtraffic) August 26, 2021
(Updated at 10:15 a.m.) A Flash Flood Warning has been issued for much of northeastern Fairfax County with a particular emphasis on the Tysons and Vienna area.
By 8 a.m., between one and three inches of rain had already fallen, and instances of flash flooding have been reported throughout the morning. The National Weather Service alert warned of “life threatening flash flooding of creeks and streams, urban areas, highways, streets, and underpasses.”
The alert is in effect until 11:45 a.m.
9:02 am: Numerous reports of flooding continue to come in from near Vienna/Tysons into the District. Rainfall rates of as much as an inch in 15 to 20 minutes or three inches per hour. Best to continue to stay off local roads unless absolutely necessary. https://t.co/KkgWXGd3jT pic.twitter.com/1OOYCNyee6
— Capital Weather Gang (@capitalweather) August 20, 2021
Police also reported that several roads have closed due to flooding, including Arlington Boulevard (Route 50) at Prosperity Avenue in the Merrifield area.
By 10:02 a.m., Beulah Road at Browns Mill Road in Wolf Trap, Hilltop Avenue at Cedar Lane in Dunn Loring, and Georgetown Pike at Swinks Mill Road by Scott’s Run were added to the list of flooding-induced road closures.
“Turn around, don’t drown when encountering flooded roads,” the NWS said in a flood warning for the DC region this morning. “Most flood deaths occur in vehicles.”
At least one person got stuck in a vehicle in the Vienna area on Old Courthouse and Beasley roads but self-evacuated, the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department said.
UPDATE: driver self evacuated. No injuries. All units returning to service. Roadway will be closed. Seek alternate route. #FCFRD encourages drivers to #TurnAroundDontDrown! Don't drive into flooded roads or around barriers closing roads. #weather #traffic https://t.co/lFRbDeUxc2
— Fairfax County Fire/Rescue (@ffxfirerescue) August 20, 2021
The fire department also responded to a fallen tree in the McLean area that crashed into a home in the 800 block of Dolley Madison Boulevard and toppled an oil tanker.
Units on scene of a tree into a home in the 800 block of Dolley Madison Boulevard in McLean area. Medium size tree fell. Minimal damage. All occupants safe. Oil tank toppled over. Haz Mat crews evaluating. Situation stable. Most units returning to service. #FCFRD #weather pic.twitter.com/xuMvmlIxId
— Fairfax County Fire/Rescue (@ffxfirerescue) August 20, 2021
Emergency responders said they expect several calls for help as people attempt to drive through flooded, and sometimes closed, roadways “only to stall and become trapped.”
They encouraged people to seek alternate routes and plan their travel.
A flash flood watch, which means flooding is possible, also involved part of DC and areas of Maryland (including Bethesda, Potomac, Rockville, and surrounding areas) for this morning. An earlier alert, also a flash flood watch, identified other parts of Virginia (such as Manassas and Stafford).
“Heavy rainfall may result in rapid rises on streams, creeks, and in urban and poor drainage areas,” the NWS said.
The NWS also says that isolated severe thunderstorms, and some possible flooding, could occur on Saturday and Sunday (Aug. 21 and 22) as a slow-moving system approaches from the Great Lakes this weekend.
Photo via NWS