As a new wave of snow accumulation is set to fall on Reston and the surrounding areas, Reston Association is clarifying its policies regarding snow removal.
In preparation for potential snow accumulation, the Reston Association (RA) issued a press release noting that “the responsibility for snow removal in Reston is shared” among Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), RA, cluster associations, individual residents and businesses.
Some RA members said they were alarmed that pathways were not cleared earlier this month.
In a letter to RA, Steven Graul, a Reston resident, wrote that Lake Anne Plaza was ‘caked thick with ice’ and remained ‘impassable and dangerous’ for more than a week.
‘It’s simply unacceptable for RA to be excusing their lack of resources for the failure on this issue. This needs to be a community priority and take precedent over other wasteful programs, which provide little or no community benefit, except perhaps to sustain the size and cost of the RA machine itself,’ he wrote.
RA is responsible for plowing snowfall on the 55 miles of pathways it owns and maintains and the access areas to village centers. Members of RA’s Central Services Facilities (CSF) will plow the pathways when snowfall reaches over two inches, according to the association’s site.
Mike McNamara, the Director of Maintenance for RA, will ultimately make the call whether or not to plow the pathways after conferring with CSF crew and mechanics.
On Feb. 3, RA turned to Twitter to explain why snowfall was not cleared from pathways. RA stated that due to a lack of snow, CSF crews could not utilize snowplows because it would risk damaging the pathways and plows. RA did state that hand crews were dispatched to clear snow.
In addition to four plows that can be used, RA’s site advises it has CSF members “to clear walkways, stairs and certain smaller pathways around community buildings and other high traffic areas in the community.”
The association’s site says that each of the four runs of pathways takes between four and five hours to clear.
While RA’s policies are to clear paths as possible, it does not guarantee that pathways will be completely clear after each storm. This is a result of changing temperatures, and hilly areas and heavily shaded locations that are vulnerable to refreezing. Hand crews and other personnel will inspect each area after a storm to address pathways as needed, according to RA.
RA also encouraged residents in its press release to shovel sidewalks and other pedestrian walkways. The association also advised that clusters could hire private contractors to remove snow from parking lots as well as other common areas.
Though RA doesn’t maintain roadway sidewalks, it will work to provide access to schools as much as possible through its pathways.
To report a dangerous section of pathway to RA, members may call the CSF’s main number 703-437-7658 or email [email protected]
VDOT is responsible for clearing snow from all state-maintained roads. VDOT’s road-clearing priority roads include interstates and most primary roads, snow emergency routes and heavily trafficked roads, and other residential roads. The department also offers a virtual map that residents may check to gauge the plowing status of their neighborhoods.
Photo by Marjorie Copson
Updated at 3:55 p.m. — NWS issued a Winter Weather Advisory for Fairfax, saying snow accumulation less than 1 inch is likely between 7 a.m. and noon on Friday. From 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. tomorrow, locals can expect surface temperatures “well below freezing.”
Earlier: The National Weather Service is warning drivers about possible icy roads Friday morning if snow hits Reston and surrounding areas.
NWS issued a Special Weather Statement Thursday afternoon to alert locals of possible snow tomorrow (Feb. 1).
More from the National Weather Service:
POTENTIAL WINTER COMMUTING HAZARD FOR THE BALTIMORE / WASHINGTON METRO AREAS FRIDAY MORNING…
There is a potential for hazardous commuting conditions for the Friday morning commute. A period of snow is POSSIBLE (a 30 percent chance south of Washington D.C. up to a 70 percent chance
in and north of Baltimore) Friday morning across the Baltimore / Washington metro areas. Snow may accumulate up to an inch for metro Washington D.C.. Snow may accumulate around an inch for
Baltimore with 1 to 2 inches possible north of Baltimore.
If this threat does materialize during the Friday morning rush-hour, many untreated roads could quickly turn icy. This could lead to dangerous traveling conditions, multiple accidents, and extensive delays.
If commuting Friday morning, be aware of the POSSIBILITY of significant travel disruptions. Plan ahead by allowing for extra travel time, and consider using public transportation and telework options.
Snow tomorrow would be an early kick-off to the Capital Weather Gang’s predictions that February will have above average snowfall.
Drivers are encouraged to monitor forecasts and plan extra travel time during the morning rush hour.
The Virginia Department of Transportation tweeted that it is watching the weather as well.
Be alert for this potential weather Friday morning. https://t.co/NXpvPbMwIb
— Fairfax County Government (@fairfaxcounty) January 31, 2019
Photo by Marjorie Copson
Updated at 4:45 p.m. — Includes information from Fairfax County Public Schools.
Fairfax County is reminding locals of winter safety tips as the first snowfall of the year is anticipated to appear this weekend.
The National Weather Service forecast expects 3 to 4 inches, with snow moving into the area most likely after 1 p.m. on Saturday (Jan. 12) afternoon. By nightfall, about half of an inch will probably be on the ground, a Fairfax County Emergency Information post says.
Locals can expect temperatures tomorrow in the low to mid-30s with calm winds. Overnight, a steadier snowfall is expected to bring another 2 to 4 inches with temperatures in the upper 20s with a light wind of 5 miles per hour.
On Sunday (Jan. 13), snow should continue and then taper off by around 1 p.m. with temperatures in the low to mid-30s again. Winds may reach 5 to 8 mph. Additional snow showers on Sunday evening may occur, but aren’t expected to add to the accumulation.
In a video posted today (Jan. 11), Courtney Arroyo from the county’s Emergency Management Office urges residents to prepare by imagining the worst case scenario.
Her advice includes:
- making a communications plan including out of town contacts
- having alternative plans for work, daycare and elder care
- stocking up on items to survive at home for up to 72 hours, including nonperishable food, water, medications and any supplies for pets and children
- staying off of the roads
“Don’t get blindsided,” she says.
Meanwhile, Fairfax County Public Schools tweeted that all activities scheduled in Fairfax County public schools and school grounds are canceled beginning at 5 p.m. on Saturday and all day Sunday.
Happy Friday! With snow predicted for our region in the coming days, here are a few winter weather reminders as we head into the weekend: https://t.co/SmzA17v5Go @ReadyFairfax @fairfaxcounty @ffxconnector @VaDOTNOVA pic.twitter.com/stuHNqPukB
— Sharon Bulova (@SharonBulova) January 11, 2019
— Capital Weather Gang (@capitalweather) January 11, 2019
Photo via Charlotte Geary
This story has been updated
Temperatures likely will reach the upper 40s Sunday in Reston, with some peeks of the sun, according to Weather.com.
Christmas Eve is more likely to be wet, though, with a 40 percent chance of rain in the morning. But with the high and low temperatures expected to stay above freezing (47 and 36 degrees, respectively), rain probably won’t turn to freezing rain or snow. The chance of precipitation goes down to only around 10 percent by Christmas morning.
During the past 25 years, the chances of Northern Virginia seeing a white Christmas on any given year have stayed around 25 percent, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. In fact, the only areas of the U.S. where chances are 50 percent or above are in “the mountainous West, northern New England and the far northern tier,” NOAA says.
Reston and the greater D.C. area have had a white Christmas less than 10 times in the past 127 years, according to Reston Patch and DCist. Snow was last on the ground on Christmas in 2009, after the “Snowpocalypse” hit the area.
Some Restonians were caught off-guard as heavy snow during rush hour created poor driving conditions Thursday evening.
Forecasters had predicted earlier in the day that rain would turn to snow overnight in the areas west of Washington, D.C.
But the first flakes began falling in Reston about 4 p.m., and by 7 p.m. close to two inches had fallen. That was more than snowplows could manage quickly, and the road conditions were generally poor by early evening.
Temperatures are expected to remain cold and windy Friday, with wind chills in the single digits.
Reston Now will update this story should the weather cause any closings Friday morning.
How was your ride home? How are the roads by your house? Tell us in the comments