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Winter Weather Advisory
Friday, February 5, 2010

Dear Friends,

By now you know we have a severe winter storm on the way. Governor McDonnell has already declared a state of emergency. This declaration authorizes state agencies to assist local governments responding to the storm. Road crews and the National Guard will be prepared to respond. Currently the weather warning extends from 10a.m. Friday morning through late Saturday evening.

Given this situation, we want to work with you and VDOT to best address the record snows, and identify problem areas wherever we might be able to assist. I will be in touch with our VDOT personnel to keep them apprised of the road and neighborhood conditions throughout the district. Fairfax County DOT also is supposed to communicate with VDOT, however, if you have a safety concern regarding a specific roadway or situation, please feel free to email us at my office at: [email protected]gov and we will also communicate those concerns directly with VDOT. You can also directly communicate your concerns with VDOT at 703-383-8368 (non emergency number for 8a.m. — 5p.m. but they can also link you to an urgent line if needed) or [email protected].

Of course, power outages are also a possibility in these circumstances so do keep safety numbers handy. Power outages can be called in to 888-667-3000. You can also get storm tips from Dominion Virginia Power at: http://dom.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=43&item;=855. A constituent sent along some other helpful tips in the event of power outages: cover a pile of wood with a tarp near your back door for the fireplace (if you have one) and fill a bathtub with water.

As for snow removal, it is important to note that VDOT crews first clear interstates, primary roads and routes that connect localities, fire stations, employment hubs, military posts, schools, hospitals and other important public facilities. They will then treat secondary roads and subdivision streets, but crews will focus efforts on roads carrying the most traffic. For residential streets, it is not VDOT's practice to plow curb-to-curb, nor to bare pavement. VDOT has more than 1,700 plows, spreaders and other pieces of equipment that will be working the storm in northern Virginia if needed. VDOT crews do end up working around the clock through the storm with the goal of having all roads passable within 48 hours after a storm ends. Of course with record storms such as what is expected today, as well as the storm we had in December, meeting these goals are particularly challenging.

For updates on road conditions, as well as real-time weather conditions, traffic incidents and traffic camera video, you can also visit www.511Virginia.org. For overall winter weather information, VDOT's Web site includes frequently asked questions, driving tips and tools for motorists to learn more about VDOT's winter preparedness at http://www.virginiadot.org/travel/snow.asp.

Another resource that I always value for local information is Sharon Rainey's "My Neighbors Network" which can be found at: http://www.myneighborsnetwork.com . For those not familiar with the network, it began in 2000 in Great Falls. The network shares information on the website and through emails about just about anything going on in our community -- community events, car accidents, traffic, school closings, crime situations, health information, as well as referring outstanding local businesses to one another. Participants share information with the network and the network often is the first to let you know about a car accident in our community or a particular need for a family or business in our community. This is a great new media tool right in our local community to stay on top of local developments.

For more information about Virginia's efforts to prepare for winter weather and other emergencies, visit www.ReadyVirginia.gov. The National Weather Service, Virginia Department of Emergency Management, Virginia Department of Social Services and other state agencies have created the "Ready Virginia" resource to provide residents and visitors with a one-stop shop for emergency preparedness tips and information.

You can also visit my website at www.delegatecomstock.com for updates. Keep in touch and be careful this weekend.


Barbara Comstock

Paid for by Friends of Barbara Comstock.