Tysons, VA

Fairfax County and the rest of the D.C. area could experience wind gusts of up to 50 miles per hour this afternoon.

The National Weather Service issued a Wind Advisory for the region last night that will be in effect from 2-6 p.m. today (Tuesday).

“Gusty winds could blow around unsecured objects,” the NWS said. “Tree limbs could be blown down. A few power outages may result.”

The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department advises securing outdoor objects and keeping electronic devices charged.

The wind advisory comes as refrozen ice lingering from yesterday’s snow and sleet wreak havoc on local roads. The Virginia State Police reported shortly after 7 a.m. that its troopers had cleared 13 traffic crashes since approximately 4:15 a.m. and were in the process of investigating another 32 crashes in the Northern Virginia region.

“The majority of the crashes have involved only damage to vehicles. No fatal traffic crashes reported,” VSP Public Relations Director Corinne Geller said, advising drivers to slow down and watch for black ice this morning, especially on overpasses and bridges.

In Fairfax County, first responders were on the scene of a two-vehicle crash on Leesburg Pike over Columbia Pike in the Bailey’s Crossroads area of Falls Church around 7:45 a.m. Ice blocking the westbound left lane further contributed to travel delays.

Staff Photo by Jay Westcott

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Virginia to Become First Southern State to Abolish Death Penalty — “State lawmakers gave final approval Monday to legislation that will end capital punishment in Virginia, a dramatic turnaround for a state that has executed more people in its long history than any other. The legislation repealing the death penalty now heads to Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam, who has said he will sign it into law, making Virginia the 23rd state to stop executions.” [AP News]

Bank Proposed to Replace Peet’s Coffee in Vienna — The Town of Vienna Board of Zoning Appeals is scheduled to consider a conditional use permit to turn the former Peet’s Coffee on Maple Avenue into a drive-thru Burke & Herbert Bank on Mar. 17. Peet’s permanently closed its store in Vienna last summer. [Vienna Patch]

Fairfax County Lowers Flags to Commemorate COVID-19 Victims — “The U.S., Virginia and Fairfax County flags are lowered to half-staff in respect and memory of the more than 500,000 Americans, including over 7,400 Virginians, who have died from COVID-19. The flags will remain at half-staff until sunset Friday, Feb. 26.” [Fairfax County Government/Twitter]

Metro Seeks Public Input on Budget — The public comment period for Metro’s FY 2022 budget is officially open. With rail ridership down 90% and bus ridership down 60% during the pandemic, the proposed budget could close 22 stations, consolidate bus lines, reduce train and bus service, and result in employee layoffs. The comment period ends at 5 p.m. on Mar. 16. [Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority]

Black Ice Makes Travel Hazardous — With temperatures at or below freezing, roads could have slick spots through mid-morning. Police urge caution as icy roadways have been reported throughout Fairfax County. [NWS/Twitter, Fairfax County Police Department/Twitter]

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The National Weather Service issued a Winter Weather Advisory at 8:43 a.m. today for much of the D.C. area, including Fairfax County.

Precipitation started falling early this morning and could result in up to an inch of snow accumulation. The alert will remain in effect until 3 p.m.

Here is the full alert:

…WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT UNTIL 3 PM EST THIS AFTERNOON…

* WHAT…Rapid onset of snow which will result in snow covered roadways. Snow accumulations of up to one inch.

* WHERE…Portions of central and northern Maryland and northern Virginia.

* WHEN…Until 3 PM EST this afternoon.

* IMPACTS…Plan on slippery road conditions. The hazardous conditions will impact the morning or evening commute.

“Slow down and use caution while traveling,” the NWS said. “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.”

Photo by Jessica Fadel on Unsplash

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11 finalists have emerged from the 45 teams that joined Fairfax County’s inaugural Smart City Challenge, a virtual “hackathon” where participants developed projects that utilize technology to address societal issues.

However, the advancing teams will have to wait a little longer than expected to vie for the competition’s top prizes, which include more than $350,000 in cash and in-kind prizes as well as the chance to work on a pilot project for Fairfax County and the City of Fairfax.

Shortly after releasing the list of finalists, organizers Smart City Works and the McLean-based Refraction announced yesterday (Wednesday) that the concluding event — where the finalists will pitch their ideas live to a panel of judges — and subsequent awards ceremony have been postponed by a week to Feb. 25 due to weather concerns.

“The National Weather Service is forecasting a winter storm in the greater Washington, DC region tomorrow with power outages ‘likely.’  If even one team is unable to pitch due to a power outage, it would be unfair,” the Smart City Challenge team said in a message to participants.

The organizers say they decided to delay the finale, which was scheduled to take place today from 6-8:30 p.m., after consulting with their partners on the challenge, a group that includes the utility Dominion Energy and Fairfax County.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay are among the speakers scheduled for the event, which remains open for registration.

The Smart City Challenge kicked off on Jan. 23. In addition to the competition, it featured different virtual panels on topics like sustainability and housing that were open to the general public.

“The Smart City Challenge is the perfect opportunity to tap bright minds to improve the lives of everyone in the Washington, DC area through technology, innovation, and problem-solving,” Refraction CEO Esther Lee said. “We are excited to bring together forward-thinking businesses, entrepreneurs, universities, government, and nonprofits to showcase collaboration and thought leadership.”

The competition finalists will be evaluated based on innovation, impact, practicality, and equity by a panel of six judges, including Lee, Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust, and Smart City Works Venture Labs CEO David Heyman.

The finalist teams are listed below, along with their proposed projects: Read More

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All Town of Vienna government offices and facilities will be closed tomorrow (Thursday) as the D.C. region braces for a winter storm that could deliver up to six inches of snow and a quarter inch of ice.

The town-wide closure extends to the Vienna Community Center, and all parks and recreation classes and programs have been canceled, along with Thursday trash pick-up services.

A Board of Architectural Review meeting that was scheduled to take place at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow has been postponed.

“This decision was necessary to ensure the safety of Town employees and because it is anticipated that all staff hands will be needed for snow removal,” the Town said in a statement.

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for Fairfax County and the rest of the D.C. area starting at 3 a.m. tomorrow and lasting until 6 a.m. Friday.

Residents are being advised not to travel, and Dominion Energy says it is preparing for potential multiple-day power outages throughout the state, including in Northern Virginia.

Metro will operate buses on a moderate snow service plan, while maintaining regular weekday rail operations, though de-icer trains and heaters will be utilized.

Fairfax Connector will offer full service tomorrow, but some routes will be detoured and could be further modified or suspended based on road conditions. A full list of missed stops can be found on the transit service’s website.

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The D.C. metropolitan area, including Fairfax County, could get up to six inches of snow in a storm expected to arrive early tomorrow (Thursday) morning.

The region is now under a Winter Storm Warning, a step up from the Winter Storm Watch that the National Weather Service issued yesterday afternoon.

Issued at 10:24 a.m., the warning will take effect at 3 a.m. on Thursday and stay in place until 6 a.m. Friday. The NWS says there will be heavy snow mixed with sleet and freezing rain, forecasting three to six inches of snow and one-tenth to one-quarter inch of ice accumulation.

More details from the alert are below:

* WHEN…From 3 AM Thursday to 6 AM EST Friday. Snow will begin between 3 and 5 AM. Snow will change to a mixture of sleet and freezing rain during the late morning and early afternoon hours.

* IMPACTS…Power outages and tree damage are likely due to the ice. Travel could be nearly impossible. The hazardous conditions could impact the morning or evening commute.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS…Snow Thursday morning will be heavy at times with snowfall rates around 1 to 2 inches per hour possible along with visibility reduced to around one-quarter mile at time.

Warning that the storm is expected to have “significant road impacts,” the Virginia Department of Transportation is advising residents to prepare to stay home and avoid nonessential travel tomorrow and on Friday.

VDOT says its crews are finishing pretreatment of about 2,000 lane miles of interstates and primary roads in Northern Virginia. About 3,000 pieces of equipment will be ready tonight to treat roads, and plowing will start once two inches of snow have accumulated.

“Additional equipment and crews are on standby to report, including to handle downed trees or limbs from ice,” VDOT said in a news release.

The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department suggests testing smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to ensure they work, charging cell phones and tablets, and using a flashlight or other battery-powered device if power goes out.

With communities elsewhere in the U.S. struggling to stay warm in frigid temperatures due to power outages, one Tysons resident is offering free firewood to anyone who needs it in the Tysons and Vienna area in advance of the coming winter storm.

“We had many trees taken down, and my husband took up chopping wood as a COVID project,” Rhea Baker told Tysons Reporter. “We personally do not have a working fireplace, so I have much more than I can use in my backyard fire pit.”

Baker, who works as an insurance agent with State Farm, says she also has ice scrapers that she is able to give away.

Staff photo by Jay Westcott, photo courtesy Rhea Baker

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More snow is expected later this week.

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch for most of the region from late Wednesday night through late Thursday night.

Snow accumulations of five or more inches and total ice accumulations of more are possible.

More from the alert is below.

IMPACTS…Power outages and tree damage are likely due to the ice. Travel could be nearly impossible. The hazardous conditions could impact the morning or evening commute.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… Monitor the latest forecasts for updates on this situation.

Photo by Jessica Fadel on Unsplash

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Fairfax County is now under an Ice Storm Warning after the National Weather Service upgraded the Winter Storm Watch it had put out for the D.C. area starting this morning.

Issued at 1:56 p.m., the ice storm warning will remain in effect until 7 a.m. tomorrow (Sunday). The NWS projects that the region will see 0.2-0.3 inches of sleet and freezing rain, which has been leaving roads slick with ice throughout the day.

“Roadways are becoming very icy and dangerous,” the NWS warns. “Avoid all unnecessary travel.”

This is the first time that an ice storm warning has been issued for the D.C. area since Feb. 12, 2008, according to Washington Post meterologist Matthew Cappucci.

The Virginia Department of Transportation is warning people to stay off the roads, noting that pavement could be slick even after it is treated.

The Fairfax County Park Authority announced at 2:19 p.m. that all of its facilities will close at 3:30 p.m., and all activities and programs scheduled after that time have been canceled for today. All activities on Fairfax County Public Schools grounds had already been suspended.

In the Tysons area, The Boro has canceled its scheduled Valentine’s drive-in movie screening of “Crazy, Stupid, Love” due to the inclement weather, though tomorrow’s screening of “Valentine’s Day” is expected to take place as planned.

Dominion Energy reported that ice damage to power lines is causing power outages in some areas.

The NWS advises anyone who must travel to take a flashlight, food, and water in case of an emergency. Power outages are also possible.

“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 NWS said.

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The weekend is nearly here, and in February 2021, that apparently means that Fairfax County is once again expected to get hit with a blast of frigid, even icy weather.

The National Weather Service issued a Winter Storm Watch for the D.C. region shortly after 6 p.m. last night. The alert will take effect tomorrow (Saturday) morning and last until 7 a.m. on Sunday (Feb. 14).

Here are more details from the alert:

…WINTER STORM WATCH IN EFFECT FROM SATURDAY MORNING THROUGH SUNDAY MORNING…

* WHAT…HEAVY ICING POSSIBLE. TOTAL SNOW ACCUMULATIONS OF UP TO ONE INCH AND ICE ACCUMULATIONS OF ONE QUARTER OF AN INCH POSSIBLE.

* WHERE…THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, PORTIONS OF CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN MARYLAND AND NORTHERN VIRGINIA.

* WHEN…FROM SATURDAY MORNING THROUGH SUNDAY MORNING.

* IMPACTS…POWER OUTAGES AND TREE DAMAGE ARE POSSIBLE DUE TO THE ICE. TRAVEL COULD BE NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE.

A second message released today (Friday) at 8:36 a.m. reiterates that the watch is in effect from Saturday to Sunday morning and that there is “potential” for a quarter inch of ice or more to accumulate. However, it does not mention possible snow accumulation.

The NWS advises travelers to plan on slippery road conditions.

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Prepare for more snow in the region later tonight and into tomorrow.

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for most of the region. The advisory is in effect from 7 p.m. today through 10 a.m. tomorrow.

NWS expects snow accumulations of between one to three inches. More from the alert is below.

IMPACTS…Plan on slippery road conditions. The hazardous conditions could impact the morning or evening commute.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… Slow down and use caution while traveling.

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.

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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