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Snow Storm Update from Terrie Suit
Thursday, February 11, 2010

February Snowstorm UPDATE

Current situation

·         Virginia can expect winds of 20-30 mph with gusts up to 40 mph statewide through this evening.  These winds will continue to blow snow, decreasing visibility and creating hazardous driving conditions.  

·         With the 9.8 inch two-day snowfall total measured at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, the seasonal snowfall total in Washington, D.C. stands at 54.9 inches, which breaks the previous all-time seasonal snowfall record for Washington, D.C. of 54.4 inches set in the winter of 1898-99.

·         More than 21 structures have suffered roof collapse around the state.  Only licensed professionals should clear snow from roofs

·         Around-the clock efforts continue to clear historic snowfall accumulations throughout much of the commonwealth.  Road plowing and power restoration will be complicated and delayed by the additional snow.

·         Dominion Virginia Power and electric power cooperatives across Virginia are reporting approximately  12,000 power outages .  

State efforts

    • Virginia Department of Transportation crews in northern Virginia and the northern Shenandoah Valley are getting assistance battling the fourth winter snowstorm to befall the area in the last two weeks.
        • Additional VDOT crews from Hampton Roads, Richmond, Lynchburg and Salem were dispatched early this week to assist with removal of more than 30 inches of snow that accumulated this past weekend.
        • VDOT is now deploying more than 50 additional state and contract pieces of equipment and operators to northern Virginia today to assist with cleanup efforts.
        • Crews in northern Virginia are having an especially challenging time reaching subdivision streets and secondary roads.  The large pickup trucks VDOT uses to clear snow from a typical four- to six-inch storm cannot handle the deep snow still blanketing some neighborhoods.  Additional larger trucks and front-end loaders have been brought in to clear subdivision and side streets.
        • Significant progress had been made through Tuesday to clear subdivisions streets from last weekend’s storm, but crews had not reached every neighborhood.  Snow removal equipment was recalled to clear higher traffic roads Tuesday and Wednesday, and will return to subdivision streets as soon as possible.


    • The Virginia National Guard has approximately 500 Soldiers on state active duty.  Activities include transporting first responders, critical staff, stranded civilians and patients to medical facilities and assisting local emergency operations centers.  VNG teams are currently working in high impact areas.
    • The Virginia State Police have responded to 1,009 traffic crashes and 1,043 disabled vehicles.  A total of 2,793 calls have been dispatched.

What the public should do

    • Be aware of the current weather forecast for your area.  The National Weather Service provides local winter weather advisories, warnings and safety information at http://www.weather.gov .
    • Wind chill reflects how wind and cold feel on exposed skin.  As wind increases, heat is carried away from the body at a faster rate, driving down skin temperature (which can cause frostbite) and eventually the internal body temperature (which can kill).  Animals are also affected by wind chill.
        • The best way to avoid hypothermia and frostbite is to stay warm and dry indoors.  When you must go outside, wear several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing. Trapped air between the layers will insulate you.  
        • Remove layers to avoid sweating and subsequent chill.  Outer garments should be tightly woven, water repellent, and hooded.  Wear a hat, because half of your body heat can be lost from your head.  Cover your mouth to protect your lungs from extreme cold.  Mittens, snug at the wrist, are better than gloves.  Try to stay dry and out of the wind.
          --National Weather Service

·         Have food, water, a battery-powered radio, flashlight and extra batteries on hand.

·         Check on your neighbors, especially older Virginians, to make sure they have what they need and that they are safe.  

·         Real-time road conditions are available by calling 5-1-1 or visiting http://511Virginia.org .

·         Residents should dial 9-1-1 and #77 only in life-threatening emergencies.  

·         211 and 211Virginia.org

        • Through 211, the Virginia Department of Social Services can help residents seeking shelter locations, assistance for an elderly or disabled person, and those who are concerned about an unsheltered individual or family at risk of hypothermia.  
        • All referrals are confidential, and you can search for these same services on http://211virginia.org .


    • Avoid overexertion during clean up.  Shoveling snow or pushing a car can bring on a heart attack or make other medical conditions worse.  
      Signs of a heart attack include chest discomfort, discomfort in other areas of the upper body--especially in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach. Shortness of breath may occur with or without chest discomfort. Other signs include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or light-headedness.
    • Be careful using generators and space heaters. Do not operate generators indoors.  Safety information is available at http://www.ReadyVirginia.gov .
    • Residents should be aware of the weight loads that snow can create, especially on flat roofs.  Residents should not put untrained individuals on roofs to clear snow.  As soon as possible, have a professional licensed contractor remove snow from every roof surface, including roof overhangs and covered porches.
        • Evacuate the building if you notice any of the warning signs of potential roof collapse. Call 9-1-1 if your roof collapses.
        • Do not attempt to clear the snow off your roof; do clear downspouts and drains.
        • Clear snow away from fire hydrants.
        • Take precautions to prevent fires, including unplugging appliances after power outages.


    • Virginia Rail Express will not be running.
    • Metrorail service will be limited to underground stations only
    • Metrobus and MetroAccess service remains suspended
    • GRTC Transit System is operating regular service on all routes, though there may be delays.
    • DC Circulator service will begin at 10 a.m. on two routes: Union Station-Georgetown and Woodley Park-Adams Morgan-McPherson Square Metro.
    • Richmond International, Lynchburg, Charlottesville-Albemarle and Roanoke airports – open with delays and some cancellations
    • Washington Dulles and Reagan National - no flight operations until further notice.


    • Information about open shelters is available at by dialing 2-1-1, or online at www.211virginia.org   and http://februarywinterstorm.tumblr.com/ . Local media will also carry information about open shelters.
    • Public shelters are a last resort and may or may not provide food and water.  You should take the following with you to the shelter:


        • A three-day supply of water and non-perishable food items, including any special dietary needs.
        • A three-day supply of special items for any elderly, disabled or infant members of your household
        • Blankets, pillows, linens and something to sleep on, such as a cot, air mattress or cushion
    • Before you leave, bring your pets inside and make sure they have food and water.
    • Smoking, alcoholic beverages and weapons are not allowed in shelters.

Paid for by Friends of Barbara Comstock.