The National Weather Service is predicting a major winter storm for the Mid-Atlantic region tonight and tomorrow, and has declared a Winter Storm Warning for the Alexandria area from tonight at midnight through Monday at 6 p.m.
Significant accumulation of ice and heavy snow may result in a Level 2 storm, which means some residential roads may not be clear until later in the week. This type of precipitation often results in power outages. The City urges all residents and businesses to prepare for the possibility that it may not be safe to travel for three or more days, and that power may be out during this period.
"The best thing you can do to protect your family or your business against any type of unforeseen emergency year-round is to have three days of food, water, and medicine available and to have a plan for what to do if you can't travel safely," said Mark Penn, the City's emergency management coordinator. "In this case, the emergency is not unforeseen. Even if we don't get all the weather the forecast says is possible for a given storm, it's always smart to be prepared."
The forecast calls for rain prior to ice and snow, which will make pretreating roads ineffective. Nevertheless, crews are staging equipment and preparing to work 24 hours a day to clear roads if necessary. Residents and businesses can help by staying off the roads during and after snowfall, not parking on snow emergency routes, promptly clearing sidewalks and entrances, not shoveling snow into the street, and clearing snow from around fire hydrants and storm drains.
The City clears snow from more than 560 lane miles of roadway, 20 miles of City-owned walkways and trails, and 44 acres of municipal parking lots or City-owned squares. Roads are plowed by priority, with primary and snow emergency routes cleared first, followed by secondary routes and then residential streets. During a major storm, it may only be possible to plow roads so that they are passable for emergency vehicles, rather than down to the pavement across all travel lanes. Use the City's SnowReport tracking system to check on plowing priorities, the status of your street, or to submit a concern.
If your power goes out, report it to Dominion Virginia Power at 866.DOM.HELP(866.366.4357) or www.dom.com. To report a water main break or for questions about water service, contact Virginia American Water at 800.452.6863. For Alexandria City Public Schools operating status, see www.acps.k12.va.us/emergency.
For questions or concerns about storm response, call 703.746.HELP. Please call 911 only in the case of a life-threatening emergency or serious crime.