City of Alexandria Continues to Respond to Historic Storm

by Lee Hernly, Editor

Winter Storm 2016
The Commonwealth of Virginia and the City of Alexandria remain under states of emergency in the aftermath of this historic winter storm. The city received 50% more snow in about 36 hours than it usually receives in an entire year. Travel is still extremely dangerous and roads should be considered impassable to non-emergency vehicles. The City urges everyone to stay home and off the roads to allow our crews to work safely and effectively.

Please do not walk in the street or place objects in the street.  This is extremely dangerous, since plow operators often have blind spots as the operate oversized equipment.  Snow plows are encountering hundreds of delays as they wait for people to get out of the way.

Our first priority is to make primary routes passable for emergency vehicles. As of Sunday morning, crews have completed at least one pass of primary routes and are working on secondary routes. There are now approximately 80 snow trucks in operation around the city, and we ask for everyone’s patience over the next few days as crews work as quickly as possible to reach all streets.  Check SnowReport to see routes and status.

Because this was a Level 3 storm, some residential roads may not be clear until after the weekend.  Take time to check on neighbors and friends who may need assistance.

Snow Shoveling Safety

  • Exercise caution when cleaning up after the storm. Each year, more than 100 deaths and thousands of injuries each year are attributed to snow shoveling. Shoveling is strenuous physical activity that can increase the risk of illness and injury, especially heart attacks.
  • Know yourself and your limitations; shovel early and often; push the snow instead of lifting it; and remember to pace yourself.
  • For more information and tips on shoveling safety, visit

Fire Hydrants

  • Please adopt a fire hydrant near you and clear at least three feet in each direction around it.  If you need firefighters and they have to locate and clear a hydrant, it may add minutes to the response time.
  • Remember not to park within 15 feet of a fire hydrant

Resource Recovery

  • Refuse, recycling, yard waste, and Christmas tree collection will not take place on Monday, January 25.  Drop-off sites will be closed.
  • Monday’s collection will be attempted on Tuesday, if conditions permit.  Tuesday’s collection will be delayed until at least Wednesday.
  • For the week of January 25 to 29, if collection takes place it will only be from front curbs and not alleys.
  • Please check back here to see whether collection is likely to occur on a given day, and do not place items out on the street or alley unless collection will occur.  In any case, City Code prohibits placing items for collection earlier than 5 p.m. the day before.

Snow Emergency Routes

  • Snow emergency route parking restrictions began on Friday, January 22, at noon.  Any vehicle parked on a snow route after that time will be towed at the owner’s expense.
  • Snow emergency routes are marked with red and white signs at least every other block, and are as follows:  Braddock Road; Eisenhower Avenue; King Street; Route 1; Washington Street; Duke Street west of Washington; Jordan Street from Duke to Howard; and Howard Street from Braddock to Jordan.

Helping Those in Need

  • If you know of someone who is outside with no place to go, please call the Carpenter’s Shelter Winter Shelter at 703.548.7500.  The facility, at 930 N. Henry St., is open to anyone in need of shelter from inclement weather.
  • Please check on your neighbors who may need help with food, shelter, heat, snow removal, or just companionship.  The City is unable to clear snow from private property.

Rooftop Safety

  • Be aware of the potential hazards that snow accumulation may cause on flat roofs of buildings and houses.
  • If you have a flat roof on your house or a portion of your house, monitor the ceiling below.  Look for signs of roof distress like a sagging ceiling beneath the flat roof; new cracks in drywall or plaster; popping, cracking or creaking sounds; and doors and/or windows that can no longer be opened or closed.  Please evacuate your house or the portion of the house with a flat roof if you notice any of the warning signs listed above.
  • Do NOT climb onto your roof to shovel snow. Not all roofs are designed and constructed the same. In no case does the City of Alexandria recommend you climb to your roof and begin clearing snow unless you are directed by a professional.
  • If your roof has collapsed, call 911.
  • More information about rooftop safety.



Recreation & Marina

  • All City recreation centers are closed and recreation programs and activities are cancelled for Sunday, January 24.
  • You can watch the snowfall at the City Marina on the MarinaCam.


Water Service

  • Water service is provided by a private utility company.  To report a water main break or for questions about water service, contact Virginia American Water at 800.452.6863.


  • Sidewalks, driveways, and entrances are the responsibility of the adjacent property owner, occupant, or community association.
  • Because this is a Level 3 storm, snow and ice must be cleared from all paved sidewalks abutting adjacent property within 72 hours of the end of the snowfall.
  • 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.

Snow Plowing Priorities

  • The City clears snow from more than 560 lane miles of roadway, 20 miles of City-owned walkways and trails, and 44 acres of municipal parking lots or City-owned squares.
  • Roads are plowed by priority, with primary and snow emergency routes cleared first, followed by secondary routes and then residential streets.
  • During a major storm, it may only be possible to plow roads so that they are passable for emergency vehicles, rather than down to the pavement across all travel lanes.
  • Use the City’s  SnowReport tracking system to check on plowing priorities, the status of your street, or to submit a concern.
  • Residents and businesses can help by staying off the roads during and after snowfall, not parking on posted snow emergency routespromptly clearing sidewalks and entrancesnot shoveling snow into the street, and clearing snow from around fire hydrants and storm drains.

City Parking Garages

  • Courthouse Garage (111 S. Pitt St.) is closed on Sunday, January 24.
  • Union Street Garage (220 N. Union St.) is closed on Sunday, January 24.
  • Market Square Garage (108 N. Fairfax St.) is open on Sunday, January 24, until 1 a.m. on Monday morning, and then open again during normal hours on Monday.The Courthouse Garage and the Union Street Garage will be closed ALL DAY on Sunday. If you must retrieve your vehicle in an emergency, you may contact the parking manager at571.214.6137.

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