UPDATED: 9 AM Thursday
And so with a slight whimper, Snowquester began to melt and life returned to normal. County government and courts are open on a regular schedule today, buses and trains are running. Fairfax schools open two hours late.
UPDATED: 1 PM
Like the ax-wielding budget cuts after which it is named, the storm Snowquester arrived right on schedule and went to work upsetting normal patterns of life in the Fairfax area.
Light snowfall began Tuesday night but by Wednesday morning huge flakes of wet snow began falling and sticking to roadways, sidewalks and, most ominously, power lines.
Schools were closed and many businesses declared a holiday. Fairfax County government announced that it would close at noon.
Metrorail is running a normal schedule and buses are trying to navigate their regular routes. MetroAccess is not operating today.
Virginia State Police say the biggest problem with I-66 has been in Fauquier County. Since 5 a.m. this morning, there have been approximately a dozen crashes occurring in the east and westbound lanes of I-66 in Fauquier County. No injuries were reported in any of those crashes, according to spokeswoman Corinne Geller.
The most significant crash involved a jack-knifed tractor-trailer in the westbound lanes of I-66 at the 31-mile marker in Fauquier County. The vehicle ended up blocking all westbound lanes. No one was injured in the crash. As of 12:15 p.m., all westbound lanes have been re-opened.
Fairfax County Fire and Rescue is asking residents to help clear fire hydrants that may be blocked by snow.
“Snowquester” is expected to bring up to 5 inches or more of snow to the region by the time it eds. Fairfax County has the usual cautions in this video:
NWS reports that the precipitation will be mixing with and changing to snow Tuesday night, with snow continuing into Wednesday evening, causing difficult driving conditions. Heavy wet snow and gusty winds also could lead to power outages.
The Weather Service, however, notes that “uncertainty remains with the track of the low and location of the rain/snow line,” which ultimately will determine snowfall totals. There also is a potential for flooding of creeks and streams if heavy rain occurs Wednesday, or if significant snow melt occurs thereafter.
The Capital Weather Gang has dubbed the potential storm “Snowquester” and that big March snows “can and do happen at the close of winter.” The most snow D.C. has ever seen on one day in March is the 11.5″ on the 29th in 1942. The largest March snowstorm on record is 12 inches, way back on the 27th-28th of 1891.
Residents are encouraged to stock up today on winter preparedness emergency supplies and other preparedness items, such as :
- Have extra batteries in case of power outages.
- Keep cellphones charged and purchase a charger for your car if you don’t already have one.
- Purchase rock salt or more environmentally safe products to melt ice on walkways. Visit the Environmental Protection Agency for a complete list of recommended products. Sand also is helpful to improve traction.
- Make sure that snow shovels and other snow removal equipment are in a convenient place and ready to use if necessary.
Should significant snow affect our area, please minimize travel and remember to “get where you need to be before the weather gets bad.” If travel is necessary, keep an emergency supply kit in your vehicle. Also, don’t forget your pets — bring pets/companion animals inside; move other animals to sheltered areas with non-frozen drinking water.