(Updated at 1:50 p.m.) There are 2,238 Alexandrians without power in the Rosemont neighborhood as a severe thunderstorm sweeps through the area.

According to Dominion Power, there is an outage affecting nearly 2,238 customers in Rosemont and Del Ray. Another 222 customers are without power in Arlandria.

A severe thunderstorm watch is in effect this afternoon and tonight for Alexandria and the surrounding area.

Expect damaging wind gusts and large hail, warned the National Weather Service in a noon announcement.

According to NWS:

This Hazardous Weather Outlook is for the Maryland portion of the
Chesapeake Bay, Tidal Potomac River, and I-95 corridor through
central Maryland, northern Virginia, and District of Columbia.

.DAY ONE...This Afternoon and Tonight

A Severe Thunderstorm Watch is in effect for the Washington and
Baltimore Metropolitan areas as well as southern Maryland until 8
PM this evening. Damaging wind gusts and large hail are the
primary threats.

Elsewhere, an isolated severe storm is possible over the Virginia
Piedmont.

.DAYS TWO THROUGH SEVEN...Thursday through Tuesday

There are slight threats for severe thunderstorms Sunday and
Monday.

James Cullum and Vernon Miles contributed to this story

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What a hot week in Alexandria.

With temperatures hovering in the mid-90s, the week started with a power outage at a 17-story apartment building in Landmark area. The outage lasted five days and residents had to find accommodations until the building reopened Friday afternoon.

On the coronavirus front, Alexandria experienced a slight uptick, and the health department says unvaccinated residents account for a majority of new cases. There have been 39 new cases reported so far this month in the city, and 13 cases were reported on July 9. That was the biggest single-day jump since May 20, when 18 new cases were reported.

In school news, this week we spoke with Alexandria High School Principal Peter Balas, who said that his staff are ready to fully reopen for full-time in-person instruction when the 2021-2022 school year starts on August 24.

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  1. Here’s the plan for Alexandria’s birthday celebration this weekend
  2. City Council approves massive high-rise project without affordable housing near Eisenhower Metro station
  3. ‘Call Your Mother Deli’ signs lease in Old Town
  4. Del. Mark Levine raises eyebrows with letter that passes buck on constituent service
  5. Shortened Alexandria Birthday celebration is still on for July 10
  6. Alexandria City High School is ready to reopen at full capacity next month, principal says
  7. School Board Member Jacinta Greene faces reelection, wants race relations taught in ACPS
  8. Tropical Storm Elsa’s dregs tear through southern Alexandria
  9. Poll: Do you agree with reallocation of school resource officer funding?
  10. West End high-rise apartment building evacuated after power outage
  11. The Alexandria Police, Sheriff’s Office and Fire Department all want raises

Have a safe weekend!

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Alexandria will spend millions on emergency financial support programs, stormwater repair, childcare and dozens of other projects as part of its first portion of American Rescue Plan Act funding.

“Now the really hard work begins,” Mayor Justin Wilson said after Council’s unanimous passage of a plan Tuesday night. “I think this is an opportunity to make some transformational investments.”

The City received its first $29.8 million on May 17, and has to spend the total $59.6 million in funding by Dec. 31, 2024. Alexandria is getting substantial funding by being counted as both a city and county — along with 41 other cities across the country — and will get its second allotment in May 2022.

Federal funds will not directly go to individual businesses, but some are allocated toward the funding of business districts for trial street closures, ABC-licensed special events and public access parklets.

“Our thought was that direct assistance for businesses was best provided, and continues to be provided, through the federal government at scale,” Alexandria Economic Development Partnership CEO Stephanie Landrum told Council. “We are much better equipped as a community, and certainly as an economic development group to reach a wider swath of businesses than we ever have been. And so part of our challenge and responsibility is to make sure all of those businesses know about other programs not being provided by the city.”

The 30 projects include:

  • $4 million for an Alexandria Community Access and Emergency Support program to determine which city services are eligible for residents, including emergency financial aid, rent assistance and child care
  • $3.7 million in stormwater repairs at the Hoofs Run Culvert
  • $3 million for a Guaranteed Basic Income Pilot, which will give $500 in gift cards to 150 poor families for 24 months
  • $2.8 million for a Unified Early Childhood Workforce Stabilization Initiative to “support hundreds of childcare providers and early childhood educators, provide a safe and healthy learning environment for thousands of children, and help parents, especially women, get back to work.”
  • $2.5 million for food security to ensure two years of continual free food distributions at hubs throughout the city
  • $2 million for Alexandria Housing Development Corporation flex space to expand city services for the Arlandria neighborhood
  • $1.9 million in flash flooding spot improvements throughout the city
  • $1.1 million to scale up a workforce development pilot
  • $800,000 to make permanent the closure of the 100 block of King Street
  • $620,000 to fund the Out of School Time Program to help with learning loss associated with the pandemic
  • $560,000 to the Alexandria Economic Development Authority fund commercial business districts for trial street closures, ABC-licensed special events and public access parklets
  • $500,000 for Visit Alexandria marketing efforts
  • $295,000 to fund two new Office of Historic Alexandria tourism experiences on the city’s history with civil rights and and the Duke Street Corridor
  • $253,000 to increase services for LGBTQ and BIPOC communities
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The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood warning for Alexandria.

“Avoid small streams and do not drive through water on roadways,” the city’s emergency services said.

The city is also under a severe thunderstorm warning.

More from the National Weather Service:

The Flash Flood Watch continues…

* From 2 PM EDT this afternoon through Friday morning.

* Several rounds of thunderstorms are expected this afternoon through early Friday morning with localized rainfall rates of up to 1-2 inches per hour possible. Total rainfall amounts of 1-3 inches, with locally higher amounts up to 4 inches are possible.

* Heavy rain in short periods of time will cause the potential for streams and creeks to quickly rise out of their banks as well as the potential for flash flooding in urban areas.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

You should monitor later forecasts and be prepared to take action should Flash Flood Warnings be issued.

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It’s not Pacific Northwest-bad, but the National Weather Service is warning that that Alexandria could reach a heat index of 105 or higher over the next few days.

The NWS has issued a hazardous weather outlook for the next few days, with high temperatures estimated for Wednesday afternoon.

“Heat index values may approach 105 during the afternoon hours Wednesday,” NWS said. “An isolated severe thunderstorm with damaging wind gusts is possible late Wednesday afternoon and evening.”

The NWS said the storm is likely to be concentrated in Northern Maryland, but with potential severe thunderstorms and flooding throughout the area on Thursday.

The city also warned of the potential health risk of prolonged exposure to high temperatures.

“Prolonged exposure to hot temperatures and high humidity can cause heat-related illnesses, such as heat exhaustion, cramps or, in extreme cases, heat stroke,” the city said in a release. “It is especially important for individuals with underlying health issues to take extra precautions and plan ahead for this and future excessive heat events. During extended heat waves, it is advised to stay indoors and limit exposure to the sun; drink plenty of water; and wear loose, lightweight and light-colored clothing.”

In a press release, the city reminded residents to take advantage of special cooling centers if needed.

“Those in need of a place to cool off, due to the hazardous weather outlook forecast by the National Weather Service, should visit one of the City facilities listed below,” the city said. “Temperatures are expected to reach the upper 90s through Wednesday, June 30. The hot temperatures, combined with high humidity, will cause heat indices of more than 100 degrees.”

According to the city, the following locations will be designated cooling centers this week:

  • Charles Houston Recreation Center (901 Wythe Street) — 9 a.m.-9 p.m.
  • Leonard “Chick” Armstrong Recreation Center (25 West Reed Avenue) — 9 a.m.-8 p.m.
  • Lee Center (1108 Jefferson Street) — 9 a.m.-9 p.m.
  • Mount Vernon Recreation Center (2701 Commonwealth Avenue) — 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
  • Patrick Henry Recreation Center (4653 Taney Avenue) — 9 a.m.-9 p.m.
  • William Ramsay Recreation Center (5650 Sanger Avenue) — 9 a.m.-8 p.m.
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The National Weather Service has issued a Severe Thunderstorm Watch for Alexandria and the surrounding area that will be in effect until 10 p.m.

Isolated instances of flooding are possible, according to NWS.

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The National Weather Service has issued a Flash Flood Watch is in effect for Alexandria and the surrounding area until midnight.

An incoming cold front could result in two-to-four inches of rain from thunderstorms in the afternoon and evening, according to NWS.

“Because of the slow motion and ample moisture in the atmosphere, storms may drop 2 to 4 inches of rain in a short period of time, resulting in flash flooding,” NWS said in the advisory.

NWS continued, “Heavy rainfall in a short amount of time can result in rapid rises of water in streams, creeks, and urban areas.”

Alexandria was beset by flooding events last summer, prompting the city to buckle down on mitigation projects.

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It’s been nearly ten years since Republicans had a spot on the City Council, but Republican City Council candidate Darryl Nirenberg is hoping several divisive issues that have cropped up over the last couple years can help break the blue stranglehold on the city this November.

“Prospects for a Republican are better now than they have been for years,” Nirenberg said. “The issues facing our city, such as divisive plans to house adults on school grounds; road diets; promoting more density in the midst of a pandemic; neglect of our storm drains and infrastructure; and destroying green space — are not partisan.”

Nirenberg also has a personal tie to the legacy of racism within the Republican party. From 1992-1995, he was chief of staff to Senator Jesse Helms, who is largely known for his fierce opposition to desegregation and his derision of Martin Luther King Jr.

According to a biography at his employer’s website, Steptoe & Johnson LLP, Nirenberg listed his work with Helms as dealing with banking, financial, and judicial issues. Before that, from 1987 to 1992 he was a counsel and deputy chief of staff for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and from 1983 to 1987 he was a staffer on the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry.

Nirenberg, a graduate of The George Washington University Law School, said he has experienced prejudice himself firsthand and, despite working for a segregationist, that he has always supported civil rights:

Having known and experienced prejudice myself growing up Jewish in rural New York, I have always supported civil rights, and I believe everyone has the right to marry whomever they wish regardless of gender. I have worked for Sen. Jacob K. Javits (R-NY) and Sen. S.I. Hayakawa (R-CA), served on the staff of two Senate Committees, and practiced policy advocacy for Tom Boggs. Instead of talking about these jobs and a long deceased Senator for whom I worked over a quarter century ago, I’d much prefer to focus on what’s at stake in this election and how we can work together to improve the quality of life for all who live in our city.

Even within the Democratic primary, housing co-location at schools, the Seminary Road diet, and stormwater infrastructure have been contentious issues between candidates. Nirenberg said he hopes the frustration with incumbents can lead to local citizens throwing more support behind Republican candidates in November.

“There is a growing recognition that the process is broken; that 100% one party rule over time does not produce the best results, and that there is a need for checks and balances,” Nirenberg said. “We all know the best decisions are reached when there are people from diverse backgrounds and with diverse perspectives sitting around the table.”

Along with Nirenberg’s City Council bid, Annetta Catchings is running as the Republican candidate for mayor. The last Republican City Council members were Alicia Hughes and Frank Fannon, who were ousted in 2012. The last Republican Mayor was elected in 1872 — years before the party’s staunch opposition to the Civil Rights movement starting in the early 20th century led to party realignment.

“We need to plan for our future, not muddle into it,” Nirenberg said. “These policies aren’t divisive or partisan. They are just common-sense.”

So far, Nirenberg has raised $42,807.

His top issues are:

  • “The learning gap and reopening schools — not housing adults there.
  • “Restore Seminary Road and end road diets.”
  • “Save Chinquapin Park and preserve our green space.”
  • “Fix our storm drains now.”
  • “Stop spending tax dollars to promote more density until our schools and infrastructure catch up and there is a plan to accommodate more density.”

Photo via DarrylNirenberg.com

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Updated at 12 a.m. Thousands of Alexandria residents are currently without power, as a thunderstorm continues to affect the city, according to Dominion Energy’s outage map.

There are more than 3,400 people without power in Old Town. There are also more than 150 residents without power in North Ridge due to a downed power pole, and more than 300 without power in Del Ray. Crews have been dispatched to impacted areas.

Alexandria and the surrounding area were hit by a thunderstorm at around 4:30 p.m.. A Hazardous Weather Outlook remains in effect until 10 p.m.

Map via Dominion Energy

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Updated at 5:50 p.m. It appears the worst of a strong storm has passed, but it created some  damage, including snapped trees across the city.

The Alexandria Fire Department, however, told ALXnow that no major calls were reported.

The National Weather Service issued a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Alexandria and the surrounding area at around 4:30 p.m.

The alert is in effect until 5:15 p.m. and a Hazardous Weather Outlook is in effect until 10 p.m.

According to NWS:

At 434 PM EDT, severe thunderstorms were located along a line extending from Fairfax to near Bull Run to near Linton Hall, moving east at 25 mph.

HAZARD…70 mph wind gusts and half dollar size hail.

SOURCE…Radar indicated and observations. These storms have a history of producing damaging wind gusts and large hail.

IMPACT…Damaging winds will cause some trees and large branches to fall. This could injure those outdoors, as well as damage homes and vehicles. Roadways may become blocked by downed trees. Localized power outages are possible. Unsecured light objects may become projectiles.

Image via NWS/Twitter


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