Sunset at a snowy Lake Thoreau (photo by Marjorie Copson)
Snow Closes Schools Again — Fairfax County Public Schools are closed again today (Friday) as the school system anticipated snowfall overnight into this morning. This is the last allotted traditional snow day of the year. The National Weather Service projected snow accumulation of 2 to 4 inches for the D.C. region. [NWS]
New Reston Fire Station Gears Up for Service — Some Fairfax County Fire and Rescue personnel spent Thursday moving. The department gave a sneak peek inside its new Reston fire station yesterday, as staff moved to the new location from a temporary station. [FCFRD/Twitter]
More COVID Testing Centers Coming to Virginia — Gov. Ralph Northam announced $5 million for new COVID-19 community testing centers, which will be near or on the same property as existing mass vaccination centers that have been operating since October, including one in Tysons. [Governor’s Office]
Police Shoot Man Who Aimed Bow and Arrow — A 50-year-old Chantilly man was charged with attempted aggravated murder of a police officer after he aimed a compound bow at officers Tuesday, prompting one to shoot him, the Fairfax County Police Department says. The man’s injuries were not life-threatening, and no officers were injured. [FCPD]
Parents Group Press for In-person Teaching — “COVID is not going away,” members of the Fairfax County Parents Association said in a statement released Jan. 2. “We must learn to live in a world where COVID exists, and where children are still receiving access to a robust, in-person education.” [Inside NoVa]
Get Free Coffee for Blood Donations — In exchange for a blood donation, the American Red Cross will hand out coupons for a free pound of Dunkin’ Donuts packaged ground coffee that can be redeemed at Dunkin Donuts in the Reston area. To schedule a donation, download the Red Cross Blood Donor app or visit RedCrossBlood.org. [Patch]
One Year Since Capitol Was Stormed — The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chair Jeffrey McKay joined many marking the one-year anniversary of the Jan. 6 attack, releasing a statement. “It is important for all of us to remember across the political spectrum, that democracy is something we must always defend.” [Twitter]
Reston on Low End of Snow Totals — Around 5 inches of snow were measured in Reston and 4.5 inches in Herndon yesterday (Monday) from the season’s first winter storm. Estimated accumulations varied across Fairfax County, from 3.5 inches in Sterling to 11.8 inches in Franconia. [NWS]
Fairfax County Government Opens Late — “Fairfax County Government will open at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 4, with unscheduled leave granted for employees.” [Fairfax County Government]
FCPS Closed For Day Again — Fairfax County Public Schools has extended winter break for a second day, with school facilities closed and all activities on school grounds canceled. As of last night, FCPS expected to have COVID-19 testing sites open for staff but not students, though the schedule is expected to be finalized today (Tuesday). [FCPS]
Fairfax Connector Operates Limited Service — “As wintry weather and icy conditions continue to impact Fairfax County and the National Capital Region, Fairfax Connector will be operating Saturday service on Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022.” [FCDOT]
Reston Hospital Pauses COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate — While many area health care systems have maintained requirements that employees get vaccinated against COVID-19, HCA Healthcare Inc., the company that owns Reston Hospital Center, has paused its mandate after a federal court ruling in November. A spokesperson says the vaccine is still strongly encouraged, and a majority of staff have gotten vaccinated, but a specific number was not provided. [Washington Business Journal]
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.”
[2/22/21 @ 8:50 AM] A Winter Weather Advisory is now in effect until 3 PM this afternoon. Expect snow accumulations of up to 1 inch that will result in snow covered roads. Slow down & use caution when driving. Also, beware of icy sidewalks & steps! #FFXSnow #WinterWeather pic.twitter.com/E18QdmjcE2
— Ready Fairfax (@ReadyFairfax) February 22, 2021
— WXGeek (@WXStormGeek) February 22, 2021
Photo by Jessica Fadel on Unsplash
The D.C. area is hunkered down for another winter storm today (Thursday) that could last into Friday morning.
At 1:05 p.m., the National Weather Service downgraded its earlier winter storm warning to a Winter Weather Advisory. As of 8:30 this morning, the NWS had projected one to three inches of snow, a drop down from previous forecasts of three to six inches of accumulation.
However, with the addition of freezing rain and ice, the roads are still going to be slippery, making travel a challenge.
In previous years, icy road conditions would have made for treacherous commutes to work and school, but the novel coronavirus pandemic has forced many to work and learn from home. Still, the frequency of winter weather events over the past few weeks can feel disruptive, even if not much snow has actually materialized so far this year.
How do you feel about all this winter weather? Do you wish there was more snow, or are you comfortable with the amount that Fairfax County has gotten? Are you ready for warmer weather yet?
Photo via Fairfax County Police Department
Fairfax County and much of the region could see up to nine inches through tomorrow.
The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for the region last night. Snow accumulations between four and nine inches are expected.
The Virginia Department of Transportation is urging residents to avoid unnecessary travel during today’s storm.
So far, crews are treating roads and will begin to plow snow once it accumulates throughout the day.
“With more than 3,000 pieces of equipment, crews will work around the clock on state-maintained roads, focusing on clearing roads that carry the most traffic first. These include interstates, primary roads, and routes connecting public safety and emergency services. Crews can then focus on neighborhoods and lower-volume roads,’ VDOT wrote in a statement earlier this morning.”
Here’s more from NWS:
…WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 1 AM SUNDAY TO MIDNIGHT EST SUNDAY NIGHT…
* WHAT…HEAVY SNOW EXPECTED. SNOW ACCUMULATIONS THROUGH SUNDAY NIGHT AROUND 3 TO 6 INCHES WITH ICE ACCUMULATIONS AROUND ONE TENTH OF AN INCH.
* WHERE…THE WASHINGTON METROPOLITAN AREA.
* WHEN…FROM 1 AM SUNDAY TO MIDNIGHT EST SUNDAY NIGHT. SNOW WILL OVERSPREAD THE AREA BETWEEN 3 AND 5 AM EARLY SUNDAY MORNING. THE STEADIEST SNOW WILL FALL THROUGH SUNDAY AFTERNOON BEFORE TAPERING OFF TO AN INTERMITTENT MIX OF LIGHT SNOW, SLEET, AND FREEZING RAIN. ADDITIONAL SNOW IS EXPECTED MONDAY THROUGH MONDAY NIGHT WITH ADDITIONAL ACCUMULATIONS MOST LIKELY AROUND 1 TO 3 INCHES, BRINGING THE STORM TOTAL ACCUMULATIONS AROUND 4 TO 8 INCHES.
* IMPACTS…TRAVEL WILL BE VERY DIFFICULT SUNDAY THROUGH TUESDAY MORNING DUE TO A PROLONGED PERIOD OF SNOW AND WINTRY PRECIPITATION WITH TEMPERATURES NEAR OR BELOW FREEZING.
IF YOU MUST TRAVEL, KEEP AN EXTRA FLASHLIGHT, FOOD, AND WATER IN YOUR VEHICLE IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY.
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.
VDOT also issued the following tips for residents
Stay home and avoid driving throughout the storm. Heavy snow bands will mean reduced visibility and potential for conditions to deteriorate quickly. Should the higher end of forecasts materialize, it will take some time to make a passable lane on all roads.
Park in driveways or a single side of the street to allow a wider path for plows.
View tips on shoveling driveways, as the plows will push some snow back. Take frequent breaks, especially when shoveling heavy, wet snow.
If you absolutely must travel, completely clear your car, reduce speeds significantly and use these winter driving tips. Use extreme caution on areas prone to freezing such as bridges, ramps and overpasses. Be prepared with gas and wiper fluid tanks and an emergency kit.
— Fairfax County Police (@FairfaxCountyPD) January 31, 2021
Photo via Doug Errett/Twitter
General Assembly Convenes Today — “Already, Democrats submitted more than 260 bills for consideration in the upcoming session… It’s been 20 years since the Democrats have had this kind of control in Richmond, but more realistically, those with the kind of progressive values of the current majorities have never come close to running the show in Richmond before.” [Falls Church News-Press]
Topgolf Competitor Seeks Site in Northern Virginia — “Spot Golf is currently in discussions with Billy Casper Golf to construct a venue at 1757 Golf Club.” [Washington Business Journal]
Local Startups Get Top Honors — “Reston-based analytics software developer QOMPLX (fka Fractal Industries) was ranked as fifth-highest and Herndon-based satellite operator HawkEye360 as seventh-highest in a list of “11 D.C. Startup Fundings Above $50 Million in 2019,” compiled by DC Inno.” [Fairfax County Economic Development Authority]
Photo by Philip Lilienthal
The first snow of 2020 is blanketing Reston and Herndon with a light cover of snow.
Although no major traffic incidents have been reported, readers should expect a slow afternoon commute today.
Here’s more from social media:
Driving homework assignment 2:
✔️ Slow down and be patient; we're all trying to get somewhere.
✔️ Wipers on? Headlights on.
✔️ Leave room to brake as roads get more slippery. https://t.co/FNvP7NOPAK
— Fairfax County Government (@fairfaxcounty) January 7, 2020
— Eddie (@WFOcom) January 7, 2020
Big flakes in Reston. Main roads slushy and slippery. But it sure is pretty. pic.twitter.com/wp8z1cGCmC
— Douglas H. Errett (@MrErrett) January 7, 2020
Photo 1 by Twitter/MrErrett; 2, 3 and 4 by Brian Murphy
Fairfax County public schools are planning to open on a two hour delay Monday due to possible snow and freezing rain overnight.
A Winter Weather Advisory is now in effect, as forecasters caution of a potentially difficult morning commute.
More from the National Weather Service:
…WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 7 PM THIS EVENING TO 10 AM EST MONDAY… * WHAT…SNOW, SLEET AND FREEZING RAIN EXPECTED. TOTAL SNOW ACCUMULATIONS OF UP TO ONE INCH AND ICE ACCUMULATIONS OF LESS THAN A TENTH OF AN INCH EXPECTED. * WHERE…THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA ALONG WITH PORTIONS OF CENTRAL MARYLAND, CENTRAL, NORTHERN AND WESTERN VIRGINIA AND EASTERN WEST VIRGINIA. * WHEN…FROM 7 PM THIS EVENING TO 10 AM EST MONDAY. * ADDITIONAL DETAILS…PLAN ON SLIPPERY ROAD CONDITIONS. THE HAZARDOUS CONDITIONS WILL IMPACT THE MONDAY 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. THE LATEST ROAD CONDITIONS FOR THE STATE YOU ARE CALLING FROM CAN BE OBTAINED BY CALLING 5 1 1. &&
The Virginia Dept. of Transportation is urging Northern Virginia residents to expect icy conditions and, if possible, telework Monday morning.
“VDOT asks that drivers be alert to a potential mix of snow, sleet, and freezing rain to impact roads,” the transportation department said Sunday afternoon. “Crews have brined roads which will assist at the onset of the storm, but drivers are asked to prepare now for impacts to the morning rush hour.”
“If you must drive” in the morning, VDOT said, “add in extra time to drive slower.”
More via social media:
Due to the winter weather advisory in effect for tonight and early tomorrow morning, all Fairfax County public schools will open two hours late Monday, Feb. 11, 2019 (Condition 3B). School offices and central offices will open on time.
— Fairfax Schools (@fcpsnews) February 10, 2019
A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect from this evening into Monday morning. Snow, sleet and freezing rain is expected, Accumulations of up to 2 inches of snow, and less than a tenth of an inch of ice is possible. Visit https://t.co/DtvXcTe0Qk for the latest information. pic.twitter.com/G8jjVwa4km
— NWS DC/Baltimore (@NWS_BaltWash) February 10, 2019
Local police and law enforcement officials are advising commuters to exercise caution as they head out today. A winter weather advisory, which was initially in effect until 1 p.m. today, has been extended to 4 p.m.
Two roads in Reston, Fox Mill Road at Folkstone Drive and Wiehle Avenue at Inlet Court, which were closed earlier this morning, are now open, according to the Fairfax County Police Department. FCPD is maintaining a list of all closures in the county online.
Here’s more from social media:
— Grant Gongloff (@GrantGongloff) November 15, 2018
— Robyn (@Luxnoctis) November 15, 2018
This story has been updated.
Fairfax County Public Schools will be closed tomorrow as a spring snow storm sweeps through the region.
Although snow fall is mainly over, the risk of refreezing is possible tonight.
Photo by Michael Piper
Even though a few flakes to a few inches are predicted to fall Thursday evening, most of the precipitation in Reston turned to intermittent sleet and cold rain throughout the day.
Fairfax County Public Schools announced at 4 p.m. there would be an additional snow day on Friday as residents continued to dig out.
So how bad was it? National Weather Service trained spotters (and a few unofficial residents with rulers) put the snowfall at about 13.5 inches, give or take a little drifting.
That makes the Wednesday night-Thursday night storm pretty bad, but not the worst one-day total we have seen around here. It was, however, the most that fell in one day since Dec. 19, 2009, when 15 inches fell at Dulles. The “Snowmaggedeon” storm of February 2010 dumped 32 inches at Dulles, but that was over a three-day period.
The 13.5 inches ranks this storm No. 6 in one-day totals as measured at Dulles.
An additional one-to-three inches of snow may fall Thursday night. The Winter Storm Warning remains in effect until 1 a.m. Friday.
Many people heeded officials’ warnings to stay off the roads, but some ventured out. Virginia State Police reported 78 traffic crashes, 172 disabled vehicles and 510 calls for service through noon on Thursday.
There was one death reported, when a Virginia Department of Transportation contractor was hit by another truck in Ashburn.
Others just had fun. There were dogs playing, snowmen sprouting — and this guy “waterskiing” down Ridge Heights Road.
Many Reston businesses were closed Thursday as crews still had not plowed some streets. Want to know when your street might be plowed? Visit www.vdotplows.org.
FCPS has already used seven snow days, and Friday will be the eighth. Makeup days will be held Feb. 17 and April 7. According to the school calendar, the school year may be extended a day to June 23 in exchange for today’s snow day, though FCPS has not made an official announcement. Friday’s snow day may not need to be made up.
Check out a gallery of great Reston snow photos here.
Photo of Reston Town Center Thursday morning by Ed Scheudel vis Twitter.
On Tuesday, schools were closed as the first snowstorm of 2014 dumped snow onto Fairfax County streets. On Wednesday, they were closed again as plows and shovels still had work to do. On Thursday, still closed, leading many parents scrambling for child care and wondering if the 2013-14 school year will indeed go into late June.
Fairfax County has now used six snow days this school year. There will be make-up days on Feb. 17 and April 7, but tacked-on days to the school year may be a real possibility now.
In years with lots of snow, the snow days issue becomes a perennial source of frustration. With more than 180,000 students and a footprint of 406 square miles, size is part of the issue. The county is so large, even the climate can be different. The same storm can pile six inches of snow in Reston but only two in Lorton — yet the communities (and the 1 million-plus people who live in them) are in the same school system.
School Board at-large member Ryan McElveen said Wednesday night the decision to close schools for a third straight day was made because of road conditions and extremely cold temperatures in the forecast.
“Back roads are dangerous, particularly with the freezing overnight,” he told Reston Now. “After a week of not being used, our buses are going to have major issues starting up.”
While FCPS will probably never break into school systems run by each town/jurisdiction (the way it is done in places such as New Jersey, Massachusetts and Ohio), what can be done to make weather impact more “local” and manageable?
FCPS already operates in eight clusters, with each area under the supervision of a cluster superintendent. Would going to a cluster system for weather impact be a viable system for Fairfax County?
“Breaking decisions up by cluster would be just too difficult to manage,” says McElveen. “Loudoun is in a very similar situation as we are, where the eastern part of the county is so different geographically from the western part.”
FCPS outlines the decision making process on its website.
“Fairfax County Public Schools is aware of the implications of opening school during less than perfect conditions and of delaying or closing schools when poor weather conditions exist or are predicted,” says the school system. “The school system understands that its students are better served–both academically and socially — by being in school.”
“On the other hand, the school system knows that it operates within an area whose transportation system has difficulty operating efficiently even when the weather is perfect. Fairfax County’s transportation system includes high speed, high volume roadways such as Route 66, Route 495, Route 95, the Fairfax County Parkway, and others. The county’s transportation system also includes narrow, winding roads in still relatively rural parts of the county such as Clifton and Great Falls.”
Fairfax County Public Schools students will have another snow day on Wednesday, Jan. 22.
School is canceled for the second straight day, FCPS officials announced about 6:50 p.m. on Tuesday. About five inches of snow fell Tuesday in Reston, and snow was still falling at nightfall.
Adding to the snow cleanup, temperatures are expected to be in the single digits Wednesday morning.
Fairfax County students have now used more than the allotted number of snow days built into the school year. Tuesday’s snow day will be made up on Feb. 17, which was supposed to be the President’s Day holiday. Wednesday’s snow day will be made up on April 7, a previously scheduled workday.
Photo of Lake Fairfax Park in snow by Robbie Nolan via Twitter