Whew! The blizzard warning has lifted. Northern Virginia was hit with about two feet of snow and all weekend long, we and other county agencies kept you updated on preparing for and weathering the storm. So… What now?
The storm may be over but there is much work to be done to get our county neighborhoods, streets and highways back in working order. First, we strongly recommend that although the sun is out and the snow has stopped, PLEASE CONTINUE TO STAY OFF THE ROADS. Roads nearly everywhere are still hidden under layers of ice and snow, corners and sidewalks are buried in it and conditions are not safe for driving or walking.
We ask everyone to consider the following:
- Please stay off the roads. It is critical that VDOT crews are able to effectively clear the streets and public safety can respond to emergencies. Clean up will take several days.
- There are miles of sidewalks that need to be shoveled and we need your help. While you are out today shoveling, please make sure all the sidewalks in your neighborhood are cleared. Help out your older or disabled neighbors who are not able to shovel. By working together, we will get back to normal much faster.
- Please check on neighbors – stop by or give them a call if you haven’t seen them in a couple days. Take a moment to see if they are OK or need anything.
- Is there an elderly couple or housebound person in your neighborhood? They may not be able to access food or medication. Be a good neighbor and check in on them.
- Please avoid walking in the street, you are putting your life in danger as vehicles may not see you, or be able to stop, in time.
- Be VERY cautious when sledding, walking or playing near streets and ponds. Slick roads and thin ice can be deceptively risky and dangerous. Check out sledding safety tips here and here.
- Shoveling your driveway and sidewalk is a must but take caution not to overextend yourself. Thousands of Americans every year suffer heart attacks from snow shoveling, according to Warren Levy, Chief Medical Officer of the Virginia Heart Cardiovascular Practice. Take your time and listen to your body to avoid overexertion and potential health risks.
- Clean ALL the snow and ice off your car before driving anywhere. This means the sides, windows, hood, trunk and ROOF. If snow flies off while you’re driving and contributes to any car crash, you can be held responsible. If snow, ice or condensation obstructs your view, it could be considered reckless driving.
- Don’t forget to use salt or kitty litter on your sidewalk or stoop after you shovel.
- With the possibility of downed power lines and power outages, fire is a real risk. Digging out your neighborhood fire hydrants can be crucial to your neighborhood’s safety.
Check out these sites for continued information on traffic and safety alerts and government and school closings:
*FAIRFAX COUNTY GOVERNMENT AND COURTS ARE CLOSED MONDAY, JANUARY 25. FAIRFAX COUNTY SCHOOLS ARE CLOSED MONDAY, JANUARY 25 AND TUESDAY, JANUARY 26*
- Government, Courts and Schools Closed Jan. 25
- Sunday Morning Blizzard Update: 5 Things to Know
- Every Second Counts: Clear Fire Hydrants During Blizzard
- Take This Snow and Shovel It — Safely
- County and Private Trash/Recycling Update
- Neighborhoods! Mobilize Together for Sidewalk Snow Removal
- Do Not Park on Snow Emergency Routes
- Snow Update Hub (continuous updates from key sources)
It will take several days for things to get back to normal and this will be a multi-day clean up. We ask that everyone be patient and help us through this difficult phase. With a little understanding and cooperation, we will get through this together!