With more snow coming down, City of Falls Church officials issued a statement at 10 a.m. today indicating that 20 inches of snow had fallen to that point. There are reports of 26 power outages in the Cameron, George Mason, Greenway Street areas of the City due to snow-laden trees downing power lines. City police are going door-to-door in the neighborhood reporting the most power outages, or calling every resident on the phone to make sure they are OK. There is an unconfirmed report of a woman who has gone into labor who is unable to leave her home due to the conditions. There are 26,000 power outages reported in Fairfax County, and 58,000 in the entire region of Virginia served by Dominion Power.
Barbara Gordon, director of public information for the City of Falls Church, told the News-Press in a phone interview this morning that “all hands are on deck” of the City’s public works and public safety crews, with Public Works and Recreation Department and urban forestry personnel handling snow-removal and rescue efforts sleeping on cots at the Property Yard building and police at a local hotel as they work in shifts to put the maximum effort to mitigating the impact of one of the biggest storms to ever hit the area.
“Even our own four-wheel drive vehicles are having difficulty, especially on side streets,” Gordon reported. Due to a deal with Koon’s Ford, the City’s police have acquired the use of four-wheel drive vehicles for their efforts. She said with the snow continuing to fall, crews are focusing their efforts on keeping Broad and Washington Streets and other snow emergency routes open. Snow removal efforts on residential streets is being delayed until the snow stops, and then, Gordon cautioned, “There is going to be an awful lot of snow with nowhere to put it,” meaning that there could be some driveways blocked by efforts to get the snow off the roads. She urged citizens to be patient as this process works its way.
“Above all, we urge people to stay in their homes until this has passed,” Gordon said. “Don’t get out on the roads and get stuck. It only takes away from the time and energy of the crews trying to maintain overall public safety,” she said, adding that skiing and sledding on the main snow emergency routes only also complicates and slows public safety efforts down.
Those in homes experiencing power outages should “bundle up,” she said, and not use gas or charcoal means indoors to trying to get warm. The first thing they should do if their power goes out is call Dominion Power to notify them at 1-888-667-3000. She also advised that residents check on neighbors they think might be in special difficulty, and not to leave pets outside for any length of time. “Fido is not going to like it if you do,” she quipped. Battery-powered radios can provide regional weather and other updates.
The City is now working in cooperation with Fairfax County and the Red Cross in an effort to make shelter provisions available for City residents, Gordon added. As of now, the City’s Community Center and public library are closed, but that could change if there is a demand for shelter. This could materialize as more snow and wind gusts are expected through today and temperatures are slated to drop into the low teens tonight.
Those who feel they are facing emergency situations can call the Falls Church Police at 703-241-5050, or 911. Non-emergency calls to the F.C. Police can be placed at 703-248-5053.