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VDOT Says Roads Treacherous; Numerous Accidents Reported

Posted at 5:05 p.m.

Truck Accident

Police are receiving numerous accident reports as road conditions worsen.

Road conditions remain treacherous around the region this afternoon and there are multiple road closures throughout the county. Fairfax County 9-1-1 has received calls from drivers asking about abandoning their vehicles. These vehicles will be towed at the owner’s expense. If you can safely move your vehicle out of travel lanes you can call a tow truck to get the vehicle home; any vehicle left for more than 12 hours or deemed a road hazard by the police will be towed.

Abandoned vehicles may also contribute to accidents and the owner will be ticketed in this event. Exiting your vehicle puts you and other drivers in danger. If your vehicle is stuck and you are in danger, call 9-1-1, but otherwise you should have it towed.

Please remain off the roads if possible. Visibility is limited, temperatures are dropping and conditions are further deteriorating.

More than 3,800 trucks continue to plow roads in Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William and Arlington counties according to VDOT. Staying off the roads allows crews to work safely. Crews are spreading salt and abrasives, as appropriate, concentrating their response efforts on the most heavily traveled routes. VDOT’s goal is to have all state-maintained roads passable within 48 hours after a storm ends. This storm; however, may deliver a second punch as temperatures drop to record levels and icy conditions remain likely into Friday.

Help Keep Fire Hydrants Clear of Snow

Posted at 4 p.m.

If you’re out shoveling snow, please take some time to clear fire hydrants.

clear fire hydrants of snowThe expected snow accumulations combined with the after-effects of plowing roads may result in many fire hydrants partially or completely buried in snow. By keeping fire hydrants clear of snow, you can help firefighters to easily locate hydrants and access water quickly, preserving valuable time to potentially save lives and structures while the snow is still on the ground.

Seconds count if a fire breaks out, so a cleared fire hydrant will make a significant difference. Clear a three-foot radius around hydrants. There’s a lot of snow, so it may be tempting to move snow from around your car or sidewalk to any open space, but please keep hydrants clear. Our firefighters thank you in advance!

Video: Please Stay Off the Roads

Posted at 3:30 p.m.

Dave McKernan, emergency management coordinator, is urging residents to stay off roads this afternoon. According to McKernan, there are significant road hazards as a result of the weather.

Our emergency operations center is monitoring numerous accidents and impassable roads due to icy conditions.

Shovel Smart: Tips for Removing Snow Safely and Without Injury

snow shovel

Posted at 1 p.m.

Several inches of snow have fallen throughout areas of the county and the storm isn’t done with us yet! Today’s snow is falling heavy and wet, so we ask that you take care while removing snow to avoid strain and injury.

Shoveling snow can by physically demanding and can lead to injuries such as sprains and strains, but even more serious heart attacks. Please follow these safety tips when you go out in today’s wintry weather:

  1. If you or someone you are with begins to have chest discomfort, especially with one or more of the other signs of a heart attack, call 9-1-1 right away.
  2. If you have a history of heart disease do not shovel without your doctor’s okay.
  3. Shovel small amounts of snow at a time.
  4. Push the snow instead of lifting where possible. If you have a driveway, move snow to the opposite side of where a plow will push.
  5. Use proper form if lifting is necessary: keep your back straight and lift with your legs.
  6. Avoid shoveling under snow and ice covered trees and roof lines due to possible falling limbs, ice and snow.
  7. Take breaks while shoveling and do not overexert yourself, especially if you are inactive or over 40.
  8. Dress in layers and wear warm clothing.

More in this short video:

As for sidewalks, the state and the county do not clear snow and ice from public walkways (sidewalks and trails). While not legally obligated, residents and businesses are asked to help keep sidewalks safe for pedestrians, people with disabilities, elderly and children.

Check out our new resource page, “Take Your Snow and Shovel It” for more information, including this guide on who removes snow:

Snow removal responsibilities

Winter Storm Warning Issued for Fairfax County and Region

Posted at 3 p.m.

Apparently Old Man Winter isn’t ready to retire. It seems that he has more winter weather in store for us!

The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a winter storm warning from midnight tonight until 9 pm. tomorrow, Thursday, March 5. A winter storm warning for heavy snow means severe winter weather conditions are expected or occurring. Significant amounts of snow are forecast that will make travel dangerous. Roads will become snow covered and visibilities will drop to around a quarter-mile at times making travel dangerous.

Winter Storm Warning March 4, 2015

Traveling

With this forecast, you are reminded to get where you need to be before the weather gets bad.

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) reports that by midnight, more than 3,800 trucks will be staged along interstates, major roads and neighborhood streets. With the storm expected to begin as rain, however, crews will not pre-treat for this storm. They will treat roads with salt and sand during sleet and freezing rain, and begin to plow as the storm transitions to accumulating snow.

“We’re asking drivers to prepare now for a long couple of days,” said Branco Vlacich, VDOT’s district maintenance engineer for Northern Virginia. “It will be vital to stay off the roads tomorrow, as conditions will be treacherous during the storm. Crews will also need that room to clear snow quickly during the day, because frigid temperatures overnight and through the weekend will mean repeated refreeze of any accumulation left on the road.”

Forecast

snowflake-icon Tonight: Occasional rain before 2 a.m., then rain and sleet between 2-5 a.m., then rain, snow, and sleet after 5 a.m. Low around 27. North wind 7 to 13 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100 percent. New snow and sleet accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

snowflake-icon Thursday: Snow and sleet, becoming all snow after 8 a.m. Temperature falling to around 19 by 1 p.m. North wind 10 to 14 mph, with gusts as high as 21 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100 percent. New snow and sleet accumulation of 4 to 8 inches possible.

snowflake-icon Thursday Night: Snow likely, mainly before 7 p.m. Cloudy during the early evening, then gradual clearing, with a low around 9. Wind chill values as low as -3. North wind around 11 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60 percent. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

weather forecast

What You Can Do

  • You are encouraged to stay off roads throughout the day tomorrow to provide crews as much room as possible to plow and treat roads.
  • You should park vehicles in driveways or on the odd-numbered side of the street to allow plows room to pass.
  • And when shoveling snow, remember to shovel snow to the right of your driveway as you face the road. This prevents snow from piling up when your street is plowed or re-plowed.

More information on preparing for this winter storm can be found on our website at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/living/winter and www.fairfaxcounty.gov/emergency/hazards/winter-storm-snow-cold.htm.

Trash and Recycling Collection Cancelled; Private Trash Collection Services Likely Affected

Posted 7:30 a.m.

Due to existing road conditions, Fairfax County trash and recycling collection in sanitary districts (15 percent of county households) has been cancelled for Tuesday, Feb. 17. Collections are planned to resume in sanitary districts on Wednesday (weather and road conditions permitting) on the following schedule:

  • Tuesday and Wednesday collections customers will be collected on Wednesday, Feb. 18
  • Service will return to normal on Thursday

Please check the trash/recycling county customer website for updated service information.

Private Trash/Recycling

The impact of the winter weather may also be affecting the operations of private trash and recycling collectors. Customers of private service providers (more than 85 percent of county households) should contact their trash and recycling collector directly for any changes in service. Contact information for private trash and recycling collectors operating in Fairfax County is available online.

If your trash collection service has been postponed until another day please remove your trash containers from the curb in order to enhance the effectiveness of snow clearing operations and to avoid having your containers damaged or buried in snowbanks.

Board of Supervisors Will Meet Feb. 17 at Noon

Posted 11:14 p.m.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors meeting will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 17, however the meeting time has been changed. The meeting will begin at noon with the budget presentation by County Executive Ed Long. No presentations to the public will be held.

Also, only two afternoon public hearings will be held: Lake Anne Development Partners (Hunter Mill District) and Wesley Hamel Lewinsville (Dranesville District). All other scheduled public hearings are being deferred until the next scheduled board meeting on March 3. For more information on the Board of Supervisors and meetings, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/government/board.

Otherwise, Fairfax County government offices, courts and schools are closed Feb. 17.

Government Offices and Courts Closed Feb. 17

Posted 10:35 p.m.

County, Courts and School Status

  • Fairfax County Government offices will be CLOSED Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015. Emergency service personnel should report as scheduled. The Board of Supervisors will meet at noon.
  • Fairfax County Courts will be CLOSED on Feb. 17.
  • Fairfax County Public Schools are CLOSED Feb. 17. School Age Child Care (SACC) centers will be closed.

Transportation: Connector, Fastran

  • Fairfax Connector bus service may be affected by the inclement weather. Check the Connector Web page at fairfaxconnector.com for the current operating status.
  • For information about FASTRAN, call 703-222-9764, TTY 711, or online at fairfaxcounty.gov/ncs/fastran.htm.

Recycling and Trash

Public Meetings

Police Accident Policy Now in Effect

Posted 6:25 p.m.

Though it’s best to stay home tonight if you can, our Police Department will only be responding to accident reports that meet the following criteria:

  • Injuries.
  • Hit and run.
  • One or more vehicles are not drivable.
  • Active argument or conflict between the drivers.

If you call in a routine accident (703-691-3121, TTY 711) that does not meet the above criteria, you will be directed to exchange information with the other driver and to notify your insurance company.

If you need to drive, have emergency supplies in your vehicle: water, food, blankets, flashlight, charged smartphone and extra batteries at a minimum.

9 Things to Know for Upcoming Snow

Posted 11:22 a.m.

As you’ve likely heard, the National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning from 4 p.m. Monday to noon on Tuesday with 6-8 inches predicted for most of Fairfax County. The latest snowfall prediction map is here:

Feb. 15-16 snow predictions

As the storm approaches, here are 9 things to know:

1.) Get Where You Need to Be Before the Weather Gets Bad: Snow is expected to start falling around 4 p.m. so there’s still time to prepare.

2.) VDOT Snow Plowing: The Virginia Department of Transportation is responsible for snow removal on most county roads. VDOT is aggressively pre-treating roads throughout Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William and Arlington counties in advance of the snow. By 4 p.m., almost 4,000 trucks will be staged along interstates, major roads and neighborhood streets. You can visit www.vdotplows.org to see the status of plowing in your neighborhood as the storm unfolds. VDOT has more information, including key tips to prepare.

3.) Neighbors: Please make plans to check in on elderly or other housebound people to make sure they are OK and have supplies. After the storm, help dig them out if you’re nearby.

4.) Hypothermia Prevention: If you see an unsheltered person who may be at risk of hypothermia, call the police non-emergency phone line at 703-691-2131, TTY 711.

5.) Pets: Don’t forget your pets — as conditions deteriorate, bring pets/companion animals inside; move other animals to sheltered areas with non-frozen drinking water.

6.) Fire Hydrants: Depending on how much snow we get, there may be a need to dig out fire hydrants. Please note their location near your home now. If you’re able and if we get enough snow, please help dig out fire hydrants when the snow ends.

7.) Fill Your Car: If you have a car, fill your gas tank before the snow flies. Here’s more information on winterizing your vehicle.

8.) Stay Informed: We have many ways you can choose to stay informed:

9.) Shoveling: Make plans to remove snow now. Check out our new resource page, “Take Your Snow and Shovel It” for more information, including this guide on who removes snow:

Snow removal responsibilities

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