Thursday and Friday Commutes Could Be Difficult… Are You Prepared?

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Thursday and Friday Commutes Could Be Difficult… Are You Prepared?

For Immediate Release: January 4, 2017

The National Weather Service forecast for Alexandria calls for an 80 percent chance of snow on Thursday evening, January 5, with the potential for snow to begin as early as 4 p.m.  While the forecast calls for light precipitation, the timing of the storm has the potential to significantly disrupt Thursday evening and Friday morning commutes in the region.

The City of Alexandria urges all residents, businesses, and commuters to make a plan for how to avoid getting stuck in rush hour gridlock, driving in unsafe conditions, or getting stranded on the way to or from home.  “Nightmare commutes” are often caused when motorists drive to or from work despite a forecast that warns of trouble.  Motorists are urged to take forecasts seriously and plan for where they and their families could stay in the event roads are too dangerous to drive.

"The best thing you can do to protect yourself and your family 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 Corey Smedley, Deputy Fire Chief for Emergency Preparedness and Homeland Security. "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."

Motorists should also consider the following when rush hour storms are in the forecast:

  • Monitor weather forecasts frequently for changes in storm timing and intensity.
  • Consider using public transit options like DASH, Metrobus, Metrorail, and VRE.
  • Use off-street parking if possible, such as home garages and driveways or public parking garages.
  • Do not drive when it is unnecessary or unsafe to do so.  When driving in any precipitation, reduce your speed and use your wipers and headlights.
  • Be especially cautious on bridges, ramps, overpasses, and steep grades.
  • Keep your gas tank and wiper fluid full, and your tires at the correct pressure.
  • Always carry a working cell phone with a charged battery, roadside assistance information, and an emergency roadside kit.
  • If you are stranded or must pull over, do not exit your vehicle unless it is safe to do so; call for help when possible.

After snowfall, remember that sidewalks, driveways, and entrances are the responsibility of the adjacent property owner, occupant, or community association. Snow and ice must be cleared from all paved sidewalks abutting adjacent property within 24 to 72 hours of the end of the snowfall, depending on the storm response level as indicated at www.alexandriava.gov. Failure to clear sidewalks may result in the City having the work done and charging the cost to the property owner, or fining the property owner $50.  The City has devoted additional resources this snow season to clearing City-owned sidewalks and paths within the required time.

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 or use Call.Click.Connect. Please call 911 only if you need immediate police, fire, or emergency medical assistance. 

For details, including storm level definitions and preparedness information, visit www.alexandriava.gov/Snow, sign up for the City’s Alexandria eNews service at www.alexandriava.gov/eNews, or connect online at www.alexandriava.gov/SocialMedia.  For updates during the storm, visit www.alexandriava.gov.

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This release is available online at www.alexandriava.gov/95538.

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