It’s Now “Officially” Winter

preparing for snow

Posted at 9 a.m.

Today, Sunday, Dec. 21, marks the winter solstice and begins the first official day of winter. And because of this — coupled with the slight chance of snow in the forecast for this weekend — we wanted to share some snow tips to take before snow or ice arrives that will make your life a little easier.

We’re not suggesting you have to run out to the grocery store this weekend and stock up on supplies (like the squirrel above), but we do encourage you to maintain an emergency supply kit at home, work and in your vehicle and replenish it regularly so you are prepared in case of a major snow storm.

Now we do realize that these aren’t emergency-related tips, but we hope that they are something you might not have heard of before and that will ease your frustration when dealing with an ice covered car or truck.

Infographic Tips Before it Snows

While these tips are designed to help you get in and out of your vehicle easier — think less scraping and defrosting — and get moving more quickly, we do encourage you to be aware of road conditions whenever you are out and about on the county’s roadways.

The most important safety tip is to get where you need to be before the weather gets bad. If we can minimize traffic on roads it’ll help VDOT snow plows clear the roads quicker while also giving public safety responders an easier path while responding to emergencies.

The National Weather Service reports that death or serious injury is more likely to occur as a result of traffic accidents than the direct impact of the storm itself.

After the Snow

If you must go outside after a snow fall (or during), be careful on walkways and roads, which can be dangerous despite appearances. Also, travel in the day if you can when visibility is better and stay on main roads (avoid back road shortcuts) that have priority for snow plowing.

Our emergency management office has lots of information and guidance on how to prepare for a winter storm. And make signing up for weather alerts from Fairfax Alerts part of your winter weather readiness efforts. You can sign up right now — it’ll only take a couple of minutes.

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4 responses to “It’s Now “Officially” Winter”

  1. YooperGal says :

    A regular plastic bag on the mirror works much better than a Ziploc bag, because you can tie the handles around the base of the mirror (tie a bow, so that they’re easy to remove) and that helps keep the bag from blowing off. You can use and re-use the bags many times.

    Also, a large-sized, thick/heavy-ply trash bag works great to keep a vehicle’s side windows free from ice/snow.

    First, unfold the bag into its normal flat (rectangular) shape. To get maximum coverage, first turn the bag on its side, so that it’s wider from side-to-side than from top to bottom. Then, then carefully tuck one side of the bag into the top of the side door of your vehicle, followed by carefully tucking the top and bottom sides of the bag around the sides of the vehicle’s doors. Gently close the door to secure them in place.

    It’s helpful to use a piece of tape to hold the shape of the bag, before you close the door, and it’ll also make it easier to slip the bags back into place over and over again, before every ice, sleet or snowstorm. (NOTE: Blue painter’s tape works best, because it isn’t as sticky as other tape, so it’ll be easier to remove the tape when spring arrives, at which time you can re-purpose the bags for their original purpose — to hold trash.)

    This trash bag method works really great in helping keep ice and snow from falling on or sticking to the vehicle’s side windows all winter — and the best thing is that these bags can be re-used over and over again. Just shake the snow or ice off the bags after you take them off the door to get inside your vehicle to go somewhere. And, you can keep these trash bags in your car, so that they’re readily available to use anytime that you’re parked outdoors.

    Just one final tip. It’s best to use a good quality (heavy-ply) large trash bag, because they’ll fit well on almost any door, and are durable enough to be re-used all winter long. And, again, once winter is over, you still can use the bags for your trash.

  2. megchelina bos-beijer says :

    and slow down!

  3. susie7504 says :

    I really appreciate all of your alerts. Thank you and Merry Christmas.

  4. jCEANb says :

    Use newspaper bags on the wipers (sox get soggy or freeze to everything! Why ziplock (brand advert?)? I use a breadbag tag (bigger is better, rather than twist-tie) to snug the mirror bag around the mirror neck against wind blow-off. Bag zippers & twist-ties do not work well in the cold.
    (Advert!) I use Rain-X ((there might be other brands of wax in solvent), that keeps rain, sleet, snow, and condensation from sticking to the windows & mirrors (inside & out). It takes a bit of elbow grease, and lasts a couple months. I also dramatically improves vision thru rain: no more rippled sheets of water.