ALEXANDRIA, VA – The nation is bracing for Winter Storm Elliott, and temperatures are forecast to drop sharply in the next 24 hours. The City of Alexandria has issued the following important information and resources about snow and ice removal, staying warm and safe, and being prepared for storms.
Snow Removal — Responding to winter weather events is one of the City’s top priorities. City crews clear snow from 561 lane miles of roadway, 20 miles of City-owned walkways and trails, and 44 acres of municipal parking lots or City-owned squares. Snow and ice removal from this large network of streets and sidewalks takes time, hard work, and communication between residents, business owners, and City government. While commuting and travel patterns have significantly changed during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is still important to keep the transportation network clear of snow and ice to allow travel by emergency vehicles. Here are some important facts about snow removal and winter weather emergencies in Alexandria:
- Storms are designated with levels based on type and severity, from Level 1 (least severe) to Level 3 (most severe). Storm levels are updated on the City’s website as the weather changes.
- Roads are plowed by priority. Snow emergency routes are plowed first, followed by secondary routes, intermediate routes, and residential streets. The City’s SnowReport tracking system enables residents to view current roadway conditions.
- Clearing sidewalks, driveways, and entrances is the responsibility of the adjacent property owner, occupant, community association or business. Time limits for clearing snow are determined by the storm level.
- The City pretreats select roads with brine when low temperatures or precipitation are possible, but rain is not expected. This preventive anti-icing measure—along with the City’s usual snow and ice prevention and removal techniques—helps keep roads safer.
Residents, businesses, and visitors can do the following things to help snow crews and emergency responders during winter storms and other weather emergencies:
- Do not park on snow emergency routes.
- Keep shovels and either salt or sand handy.
- Avoid shoveling snow into the street.
- Sign up to become a Snow Buddy and help your neighbors who are unable to shovel snow.
- Check on neighbors who may need assistance.
The City’s overnight winter shelter services for individuals and families experiencing homelessness are open in two locations, nightly from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. between November 1 and March 31. The winter shelter located at 2355-A Mill Road provides services to single adults, and Carpenter’s Shelter, located at 930 N. Henry St., provides services to families only.
Staying Safe – Don’t let winter weather take you by surprise. There are a variety of actions to take to stay safe:
- Stay off the roads in the event of snow or ice.
- Prepare an emergency kit and have an emergency plan in place.
- Clear ice, snow, and leaves from around fire hydrants and storm drains.
- Heating equipment is a leading cause of home fire deaths, according to the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA). Half of home heating equipment fires are reported during the months of December, January, and February. Learn more about steps you can take to prevent most heating-related fires from happening.
Residents are encouraged to download a copy of the City’s winter weather mailer or visit alexandriava.gov/Snow for more information about winter emergency preparedness, safety tips, and snow removal in Alexandria.
Writer’s Note on Homeless Shelters and Warming Centers – If you know or see someone who you think may be homeless, please speak up and let them know about the City’s emergency shelters. Oftentimes, these folks do not have access to digital technology and may not know of available resources. The writer urges the community to do whatever possible to help others in need. Thank you. – LP [SEE ALSO: Happy Chanukah! The City of Del Ray’s Menorah]