Alexandria, VA

It was a cold and snowy week in Alexandria.

Our top story this week was on plans to redevelop the GenOn power plant in Old Town North. It looks like deconstruction of the plant will start in 2023 and developers are looking at converting it into an urban, mixed-use property with housing.

The short work week started with news that Alexandria reached 10,000 cases of COVID-19. The latest figures show that there are 10,113 cases and 104 total deaths in the city, according to the Virginia Department of Health. The city’s seven-day moving average is now 35.1 cases.

A 49-year-old homeless woman was found dead in Arlandria on Tuesday morning, and the mayor told us that homelessness is on the rise in the city. ALXnow is following up with the city on the issue.

Tuesday morning also brought news that Alexandria City Councilman Mo Seifeldein abandoned his run for mayor and will not seek reelection to council. Seifeldein was hired as a trial lawyer by the U.S. Department of Labor in Jan. 2020, and while he can finish out his term on council, he can not run unless he files as an independent candidate.

In other election news, the race for city council is starting to get crowded, as Bill Rossello, a co-founder of the Bring Integrity Back to Alexandria Facebook Group, just threw his hat into the ring.

On the vaccine front, the waiting list has surpassed 45,000 and it may be until late summer that the vaccine is widely available in the city. On Thursday, Mayor Justin Wilson also asked the governor to open vaccine eligibility for restaurant, personal care and retail workers.

More than 200 people responded to this week’s poll on power outages. There have been a number of outages over tha last year, and 73% of respondents reported experiencing an outage, while 26% report that their homes haven’t been impacted.

In case you missed them, here are some other important stories this week:

Here are our top stories of the week in Alexandria:

  1. Developers Lay Out Multi-Year Timeline for GenOn Plant Redevelopment
  2. BREAKING: Homeless Woman Found Dead on Mount Vernon Avenue
  3. Alexandria Boxer Troy Isley Goes Pro With Big Fight Next Week
  4. Seifeldein Not Running for Mayor, Leaving Alexandria City Council
  5. ALXnow’s Top Stories this Week in Alexandria
  6. Director of Finance: Alexandria’s Real Estate Assessments Are a ‘Tale of Two Markets’
  7. Local Business Owner Robbed of Car While Pumping Gas at Old Town Gas Station
  8. Torpedo Factory Overhaul Heads to City Council Next Month
  9. Snow: Up to 6 Inches of Snow and Ice Expected in Alexandria
  10. BREAKING: Alexandria Police Investigate Second Car Stolen While Owner Pumps Gas
  11. Local Facebook Watchdog Group Founder Bill Rossello Announces Run for City Council

Have a safe weekend!

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Photos: Snow in Alexandria

Alexandria got a few inches of snow Thursday and this morning, and ALXnow took to the icy streets to get some images before it all melted.

The city is no longer under a winter storm warning, although the National Weather Service predicts a slight chance for a winter storm late Sunday night and going into Monday for northern Maryland.

With temperatures predicted to get into the 60s next week, the forecast for this weekend calls for sunny but cold weather on Saturday, with temperatures peaking in the mid-30s and dropping to the low 20s. Sunday also looks like it will be sunny and cold, with a high temperature of 39 and a low of 29 degrees.

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Much of the heavy snowfall has left the area, and Alexandria remains under a Winter Weather Advisory until 6 a.m. Friday.

As of 1:05 p.m., the National Weather Service said the region should expect up to another inch of snow and sleet and up to one tenth of an inch of ice.

The Alexandria Fire Department says that no accidents have been reported since 9 p.m. Wednesday night.

“The roads are pretty clear, and T&ES and a number of other departments are continuing to monitor the situation and keep us updated,” AFD spokesperson Raytevia Evans told ALXnow. “For the most part, there hasn’t been a serious uptick in fire calls or EMS calls.”

Temperatures will be in the low 30s tonight, and are expected to climb to 41 degrees on Friday. No hazardous weather is anticipated for Friday through Wednesday.

“Plan on slippery road conditions,” NWS advised. “The hazardous conditions could impact the evening commute… When venturing outside, watch your first few steps taken on steps, sidewalks, and driveways, which could be icy and slippery, increasing your risk of a fall and injury.”

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Three-to-six inches of snow and ice are expected in Alexandria, as the National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning that will remain in effect from 3 a.m. Thursday to 6 a.m. on Friday.

The NWS predicts heavy snow with sleet and freezing rain throughout the region, and up to a quarter of an inch of ice. The snowfall is expected to start between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. and the snow will turn into sleet in the late morning and early afternoon hours.

“Power outages and tree damage are likely due to the ice,” NWS said. ” Travel could be nearly impossible. The hazardous conditions could impact the morning or evening commute… The highest ice accumulation is most likely east of Interstate 95.”

NWS recommends that travelers keep flashlights, food and water in case of an emergency.

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Up to five inches of snow and up to a quarter of an inch of ice is being anticipated Thursday and Friday in Alexandria.

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch for the region that will be in effect from 3 a.m. Thursday until 6 a.m. on Friday.

“Power outages and tree damage are likely due to the ice,” according to NWS. “Travel could be nearly impossible. The hazardous conditions could impact the morning or evening commute.”

The East Coast is being hard hit with ice and snow, and 36 states around the country are reportedly observing weather alerts.

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Up to four inches of snow is expected to fall over Alexandria tonight, and the National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for region that will remain in effect from 7 p.m. today until 10 a.m. Thursday.

“Plan on slippery road conditions. The hazardous conditions could impact the morning or evening commute,” NWS said in the alert. “When venturing outside, watch your first few steps taken on steps, sidewalks, and driveways, which could be icy and slippery, increasing your risk of a fall and injury.”

NWS said to expect two-to-four inches snow, possibly mixed with sleet and rain at times. Additionally, there is a “slight winter threat” for this Saturday and next Tuesday, which is the day after the President’s Day holiday on Monday.

“If these threats materialize, it may cause travel disruptions,” NWS said.

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Morning Notes

Carjacking at Gunpoint Near Potomac Yard — “The Alexandria Police Dept. is investigating a carjacking in the 400 block of Calvert Ave. It happened just before 5pm. Victim’s vehicle stolen at gunpoint. No injuries were reported. Expect police activity in the area.” [Twitter]

Port City Brewing Co. Turns 10 — “We can’t celebrate 10 years of PCBC w/ a big in-person event so we’ve put together a Virtual Event to celebrate 10 years. The Anniversary video includes a message from our Founder, a Tasting Room update, 2021 beers, & a Colossal X tasting w/ a brewer!” [Twitter]

Dozens of Trees Planted at Four Mile Run Park — “55 trees were installed along the eastern edge of Four Mile Run Park. At maturity, the tree buffer will improve sightlines, expand habitat fauna, and create shady areas for park and trail users to enjoy. We look forward to seeing this project continue to grow!” [Twitter]

Snow Sculpture in Oronoco Bay Park Honors Disappeared Duck — “Thus, when the snow came down in Alexandria Monday, February 1, Robert decided to pay homage to Lex by sculpting the Snow Duck, which he named Lex Jr.” [Zebra]

Today’s Weather — “Sunshine and some clouds (during the day). High 38F. Winds SW at 5 to 10 mph… Partly cloudy skies during the evening will give way to cloudy skies overnight. Low 28F. Winds light and variable.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Tennis Instructor — ” We are looking for positive coaches with communicative, motivated, life-experienced/educated, and relevant qualifications. We value diversity. Your work here is both independent and team collaborative. You will be a key valued team member.” [Indeed]

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For the second Sunday in a row, the National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning until noon in Alexandria and the surrounding area, as the city is expected to receive up to three inches of snow.

“Plan on slippery road conditions,” NWS said in its alert on Sunday morning. “Visibility will be reduced to around one- quarter mile at times through late this morning. Temperatures will rise well above freezing this afternoon, but temperatures will fall quickly below freezing this evening.”

NWS recommends slowing down and using caution while traveling.

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What a news-filled week in Alexandria.

Things got off to a snowy start on Monday and Tuesday, as the city was under a winter weather advisory.

Our top post was a poll regarding the proposed Heritage Development in Old Town. Nearly 1,500 people voted, and 52% don’t have a problem with it. The development was approved unanimously by the Planning Commission and now goes to City Council for consideration.

One of the most important stories of the week was the decision announced Thursday to resume in-person classes at Alexandria City Public Schools on March 16.

On the coronavirus front, there has been an additional death since Monday’s weekly COVID-19 update. The death toll from the virus now stands at 105, and the number of cases is 9,630. That’s more than 500 cases since Monday. The city’s seven-day moving average is now at 41.1 cases, which is down 14 cases since Monday. Additionally, there are more than 30,000 city residents on the waiting list to get the vaccine.

This week, Alexandria Police mourned the loss of parking enforcement officer Edward Bonds to COVID-19. This is the department’s first death due to complications from the virus.

In case you missed them, here are some important stories from the week:

  1. Alexandria Boxer Troy Isley Goes Pro With Big Fight Next Week
  2. Psychologist Lauren Fisher Elected Del Ray Business Association President
  3. Overhaul of Eisenhower Baseball Field Up to Bat at Planning Commission
  4. From Layoff to Liquorice: West End Business Owner Creates Candy Store Amid Pandemic
  5. Just In: James Lewis Files Paperwork to Enter City Council Race

Here are our top stories this week in Alexandria:

  1. Poll: What Do You Think of the Proposed Heritage Development in Old Town
  2. New West End Residential Development Headed to Planning Commission
  3. Heritage Project Now Goes to City Council After Unanimous Planning Commission Approval
  4. BREAKING: Councilman Mo Seifeldein Running for Alexandria Mayor, Hatch Act Conflict in Question
  5. Poll: Should the City’s Taylor Run Stream Restoration Project Go Forward?
  6. Revamped ‘ESP’ on King Street Ditches Old Ownership and Controversies
  7. Stream Restoration in Alexandria Attracts a Deluge of Controversy
  8. ACPS: Community is Generally Opposed to Affordable Housing at T.C. Expansion
  9. Just In: ‘QAnon Shaman’ from Capitol Siege Transferred to Alexandria Jail
  10. Weather Alert: Up to Eight Inches of Snow Expected in Alexandria
  11. Photos: The Regal Potomac Yard Movie Theater is Being Torn Down

Have a safe weekend!

Image via City of Alexandria

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Several days of snowy weather have been a mild headache for Alexandria’s emergency management team, but all things considered: staff says things are going pretty well.

“Things are going good” said Jeff Duval, deputy director of Transportation and Environmental Services. “We’ve had a few days of challenging weather. The storms has been persistent, they’ve come and gone with multiple bands.”

Duval said the cycle of “snow, sleet, ice, back to snow, back to sleet” has been sort of a headache for traditional emergency management operations. The cause: Alexandria’s two-day snows are the result of two weather events coinciding.

“We’ve seen it all in the last couple days,” Duval said. “It’s actually two storms in the last two days; one from West Coast and a low pressure storm off the coast of Virginia. It made this one a little bit different, but nothing too crazy.”

Overall, Duval said there hasn’t been a particular spike in calls for service, largely because many of those who would be driving around and stuck in bad weather are at home due to the pandemic.

“It’s been fairly quiet,” Duval said. “A lot of folks are still working from home due to COVID pandemic, so traffic volume is down and schools already virtual. We didn’t have a lot of pressure towards getting schools open.”

Widespread working-from-home is windfall as the city faces heavy snowfall.

“This was, for us, the most significant [winter] storm we’ve seen in a couple years, so it was good to get back into the swing of winter operations,” Duval said. “We do tremendous prepping for winter operations, like tabletop exercises, but until you get a storm and can exercise a system — that’s when we get our best practices.”

The main challenge has been keeping crews safe and spirits high when they’re unable to gather in-person. Duval said crews traditionally have “muster meetings” at the beginning and end of shifts, but operations had to change to keep the teams safe.

“We’ve been at it for almost a year though with that and other activities,” Duval said. “We do an after-action after every significant event. We typically put drivers in a room and ask what went well, but we’ll have to do that a little differently.”

Now, Duval said his team has their eyes on the upcoming weekend as they wait to see whether there’s more snow in stock for the city.

“We’re watching the weather; there could be additional precipitation this Sunday,” Duval said. “It’s still a little far in advance to say, but thats’ what we do this time of year.”

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