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Big Snow -- Dig Out Sunday

December 19, 2009

I have inspected the conditions throughout the day and am getting reports from some of you.

Most side roads are extremely hard to get through. Major roads are drivable but most areas have trouble areas.

Some of the teens from the grass cutters exchange are stepping forward to be part of the Sterling Student Snow Shovelers Exchange and are responding to calls from some of you.

Today is a day to prepare for tomorrow. Most of us are watching the snow fall. Few people are attempting to get out and that is fine. Please stay home unless it is an emergency.

Once the snow stops falling, most people will dig out and that may begin once the storm passes. Here is what the county says:


Official statement from the county:

County Facilities Closed Because of Weather; Residents Urged to Stay Home

All Loudoun County libraries, community centers, and senior centers will be closed through Sunday, December 20, 2009, due to the severe weather conditions.

County public safety officials urge all residents to stay home if at all possible this weekend because of extremely treacherous travel conditions.

Regarding Loudoun Schools:

Loudoun County Public Schools will be closed Monday, December 21 and Tuesday, December 22, due to inclement weather. All administrative offices will be closed on Monday, December 21.


NORTHERN VIRGINIA ROADS REMAIN HAZARDOUS

Drivers urged to avoid all unnecessary travel as height of storm passes area

Statement from the CHANTILLY office of Virginia Department of Transportation:

(300 TRUCKS IN LOUDOUN COUNTY PUSHING SNOW)

As road crews continue to work around the clock plowing and treating roads this weekend, the Virginia Department of Transportation continues to urge drivers to postpone all unnecessary travel today. If motorists must travel, they are asked to visit www.511virginia.org for up-to-date road conditions and traffic camera video.


At this time interstates and most major arteries remain passable, though conditions will vary between continuous passes being made by snowplows throughout the day. Crews are now also plowing subdivision streets.

Conditions are expected to deteriorate on all roadways as the height of the storm hits the region.

VDOT has more than 1,700 plows, spreaders and other pieces of equipment working the storm in northern Virginia, 300 In Loudoun County alone. VDOT crews will continue working around the clock through the storm.

VDOT's goal is to have all roads passable within 48 hours after a storm ends.

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 if multi-day storms hit Virginia, but crews will focus efforts on roads carrying the most traffic.


Once conditions improve VDOT offers the following tips for driving in winter weather:

* Before you begin your trip, know the current road conditions and weather forecasts.
Call 511 or visit www.511Virginia.org.
* Make sure your windows, mirrors and lights are clear of ice and snow.
* Always wear your seat belt.
* Allow extra time to travel to your destination.
* Be aware of potentially icy areas such as bridges, overpasses and shady spots. Also, if there is heavy snow, ice or high winds, be alert to potential driving hazards including downed branches, trees and electric lines.
* Reduce speed as appropriate and keep a safe distance of at least five seconds behind other vehicles and snowplows.
* Do not pass a snowplow unless it is absolutely necessary. Remember, the plow is clearing a path for you.

* Keep an emergency winter driving kit in your car. The kit should include a small bag of rock salt, sand or cat litter to provide traction in case you get stuck, a snowbrush and ice scraper, a flashlight, battery booster cables, a blanket and extra clothing.
* Practice common sense. Remember that your car cannot start, stop, or turn as quickly and surely on snow or ice as it does on dry pavement, so think and drive accordingly

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