A storm system is forecast to affect Virginia this afternoon/evening through early Monday morning with freezing rain and a wintry mix. The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for our area through Monday morning. A winter storm watch means there is a potential for significant snow accumulations that may impact travel.
As you know, we will be monitoring events as they occur and get you updated information from VDOT, Dominion Power, local officials and others. Please share this newsletter and info with friends and/or follow us on Facebook as the situation develops.
At the beginning of this winter season, the Northern Virginia District of VDOT presented their Snow Briefing for the upcoming winter season and I am pleased to inform you that they have made significant improvements in their winter preparation efforts.
New tools that VDOT has developed include:
A mobile weather station for roads A new 22,000-ton salt dome A fleet of trucks to help clear the I-495 Express Lanes A pilot program where the public can track snow removal in their neighborhoods A portable snow melter for park-n-ride lots so to quickly access needed parking spaces 1,200 more trucks than during the severe winter of 2010. Nearly 4,000 trucks and plows, mostly contracted, will now be available for snow and ice removal in northern Virginia Expanded pre-treating of roads
VDOT is responsible for plowing the public roads including interstate, primary, secondary and residential roads in Fairfax County and Loudoun County. Roads will be plowed when there is a two inch accumulation, and clearing is done on a priority basis, with interstates and high volume roads cleared first. There are over 4000 pieces of equipment ready to go in Northern Virginia to clear our roads. Remember to try to park in your driveways, and if you must park in the street, park on the odd numbered side if possible.
VDOT's winter resources
For snow removal information:
To see the status of plowing in your neighborhood: http://novasnowplowing.virginia.gov
For real-time traffic updates and road conditions: Visit http://www.511virginia.org/, download the 511 smartphone app, or follow @511northernva on Twitter Reporting unplowed roads or hazardous conditions: email email@example.com or call 1-800-FOR-ROAD (800)-367-7623
For general VDOT info: Follow VDOT on Facebook at www.facebook.com/VirginiaDOT, on Twitter @VDOT, and visit www.VirginiaDOT.org
To make the snow removal process easier, VDOT has a few recommendations and reminders for local citizens:
1. When shoveling your own sidewalk/driveway, leave at least 5 feet of snow from the curb until after the plow has passed through.
2. Park your car on the odd numbered side of the street or in driveways. The more cars are parked on the street, the less amount of snow is able to be plowed.
3. Stay off the road if there are reports of a storm. Abandoned cars are one of the biggest obstacles to the plowing process.
4. Remember that it is harder for crews to plow packed snow and especially ice. Don't expect to be able to see black pavement once the plow comes through.
5. The goal is to make all roads one lane passable, not clear them completely of snow.
I invite you to continue to report downed power lines and power outages in your neighborhood to Dominion at 1-866-DOM-HELP or 1-866-366-4357. Customers may also report outages on their website, www.dom.com, or their newly upgraded mobile site at http://m.dom.com. I've provided more contact information below.
Other Important Emergency Contact Information
2-1-1 Virginia is serving as the public inquiry number for Virginia residents.
5-1-1 is to be used for the latest in road conditions
#77 on a cell phone to report a traffic crash or traffic emergency
Only call 9-1-1 in a true emergency.
Fairfax County non emergency number: 703-691-2131
Loudoun County non emergency number: 703-777-1021
As always, during every storm, please do not hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at (703) 772-7168 if you are having issues regarding either plowing or storm outages. I hope this will be a non-event winter in terms of weather, but it is necessary to be prepared.
I try to be accessible to my constituents in as many ways as possible. For more information, please visit my website, www.delegatecomstock.com, where you can read my blog for up-to-date information on Virginia, click to follow me on Facebook, (www.facebook.com/BarbaraComstockVA) or Twitter, ( www.twitter.com/BarbaraComstock).