The NASA Earth Observatory has taken true-color satellite photos of Snowmageddon, everyone’s favorite Beltway-crippling massive weekend snowstorm.
The NASA Earth Observatory has taken true-color satellite photos of Snowmageddon, everyone’s favorite Beltway-crippling massive weekend snowstorm.

From this morning:

Here we go again.  We are in the middle of a blizzard where 10 inches of new snow is expected to drop on Prince William County today.  So far, about 4 inches have fallen.  The snow has been heavy at times but nothing blinding.  But it isn’t over.  The emergency blurb from N & M that arrived moments ago  says we are under a blizzard warning and to expect blinding snow and high winds. 

That was all earlier today.  It looks like we dodged the proverbial bullet.  Areas north of us were not nearly so lucky.

The weather is costing the municipalities a fortune!

According to the Manssas News & Messenger:

Prince William County, Va.—It’s too soon to figure how much money Prince William taxpayers are spending on snow removal and related storm activities, but supervisors were told Tuesday to expect costs to be “extensive,” according to the county’s emergency services manager.

The bright spot is that the county executive’s recent declaration of a state of emergency makes the community eligible for pursuit and receipt of federal disaster dollars.

“We’ll follow the [Federal Emergency Management Agency] guidelines for reimbursements and go after every dollar we can,” said Patrick Collins, the county’s emergency services man-ager, in a last-minute presentation to supervisors during a 2 p.m. board meeting on Tuesday.

It’s been record-setting levels of snow that Prince William has experienced—and another 10-to-20-inches is on the way by Wednesday evening, according to weather reports.

“According to the totals we’ve seen, with another 10 inches, this will be the snowiest winter in 111 years,” said County Executive Melissa Peacor. “So we’re facing that proverbial 100-year storm.”

Some places in the county reported 30 inches of snow this past weekend, Collins said. Power outages, meanwhile, have hit thousands. But as of 2 p.m. Tuesday, service had been restored to all but 523 NOVEC customers and 107 Dominion customers, Collins said.

Those without electric service may contact Dominion at 888-667-3000 and NOVEC at 888-335-0500.

Virginia’s Department of Transportation has all but depleted its stores of salt, Collins said, and most county Public Works clean-up trucks were now relying solely on sand to help clear the roads.

How does the state run out of salt.  Totally amazing.  Is it possible to get more?  We are still at the beginning of February and there could be a lot more el Nino left.   Should we take bets that there is no more moisture left in the atmosphere?

The snowiest winter in 111 years is quite an accomplishment.  What did people do back then in 1899?  Were they better equipped in some ways than we are today?  Were people better prepared then?  When we lose our comfort zones, are we more miserable?

On a lighter note, the dude on Squawk on the Street just said he was in the heart of Snowmageddon 2010. (Reagan National)

43 Thoughts to “The State of the County, Blizzardly Speaking”

  1. Pat.Herve

    How does the state run out of salt. – very easily, you only buy what you think you will need, and you only have so much storage space, and you get back to back storms of a large manitude, and you run out of salt. I think people prepared better back then – even though they did not have the weather predictions we have today – funny watching the news, and people are driving around because they need something to eat.

  2. GainesvilleResident

    I saw trucks spreading sand or salt on the ramp from I-66 to the Fairfax County Parkway north this morning. I know, because I was 3 cars back behind it. Not sure what it was, or maybe a salt/sand mix.

    Roads are not great this morning, for my commute from Gainesville to Reston. My neighborhood is fine, HOA plowed it yesterday.

    Glenkirk Rd is snow packed, bumpy/washboard surface that will test your car’s suspension, and you can only drive about 15 mph on it (speed limit is 35 mph).

    Fairfax County Parkway from I-66 to Sunrise Valley Dr. – lanes will intermittently disappear without warning, kind of scary.

    Sunrise Valley Dr. is snow packed, but not as bad as Glenkirk Rd.

    Parking lot clear at 6:30 AM (sometimes they are still plowing in my experience). So far only 2 coworkers made it in. Usually by now 20 people in my group are in (we have flex time).

    Former manager who lives in Herndon already pulled the “I’m working from home” thing!

    I can’t do that, I need to be hands on some equipment in the classified lab. My Humvee is snow covered, and I’m not even going to try to get in the back of it – there’s a huge snowbank behind it where the plow came. I would have to shovel it out – and I don’t have a shovel here at work! I don’t need to get in there fortunately, I have a duplicate of the equipment in a classified lab.

  3. GainesvilleResident

    Good thing the fed is closed, it made traffic nice and light this morning and I made it to work in 45 minutes, which is not bad. usually takes me 35 minutes, but I go through the battlefield on Rt. 29 and then up Stone Road, etc. My “snow route” is I-66 from Gainesville to Fairfax County Parkway. I would guess going this way (I-66, Fairfax County Parkway) – on a really good day at 5:45 AM it might only take me 30 minutes to make it to the office. So, 45 minutes today going that way was not too bad.

  4. Thanks for that road report, Gainesville.

    Pat, I think it is phenomenal that the entire state has run out of snow–not localities but the state. That’s a lot of salt. I understand why…I am, just punctuating the fact that we ran out.

    Lots of people are not out and about because yesterday’s snow plows encapsulated them on their property. Sealed them right in. I am waiting for the calvalry to arrive as we speak.

  5. GainesvilleResident

    Work is really dead here. on the other hand I get a lot more done when I’m in the office and everyone isn’t, my productivity goes up like 400%. Most people didn’t show up and/or are “working from home” kind of thing.

  6. Are you still at work alone?

  7. What will happen to with the Mayfield kids? Have any decisions been reached?

  8. GainesvilleResident

    No, maybe 50% of my coworkers made it. Some people are “working from home” (wink wink). Maybe managers can get away with that as all they do is e-mails, telecons, etc. Most of my coworkers cannot possibly really do that – even those who are just writing code (software) most likely didn’t take their code home with them Tuesday night.

    Such are the inequities of working in a place where the office never closes, and people are supposed to “use their own judgement” to come in, or burn PTO (Vacation) or make up the time.

    However, I still am getting 200% more done today than i normally would due to not so much interruptions from coworkers. In that regard – the 50% who stayed home today can keep on staying home/”working from home”!

  9. GainesvilleResident

    And most interestingly – if you look who made it in, it’s mainly people who have longer commutes. There’s a bunch of people who live in Herndon or Reston that didn’t make it in….. I find that an interesting commentary on the state of things with some of my coworkers… Maybe their roads are blocked or something, so maybe I shouldn’t pass judgement on them!

  10. Some roads in Pr. Wm and Fauquier are in pretty bad shape. I saw a few that had not been plowed at all. The storms were particularly hard on cedars and white pines. Many were sheered off at the top and others were toppled over.

  11. Red Dawn

    LOVE, LOVE GR’s comments. Getting quite the giggle! So true…..

  12. Gainesville Resident

    Red Dawn – thanks for your comment – glad I’m being entertaining! Glad to see you back here – it seems like a long time since you’ve been on here.

    Sad to say, Glenkirk Rd. still a bumpy disaster at 4:30 PM this evening. You can get carsick driving over it for the mile I have to negotiate from Linton Hall Road to the entrance of my neighborhood. It also had water puddles in between the bumpy snow. I predict it to be an icy disaster tomorrow morning when I negotiate it before 6 AM. Only way it won’t be, if by some miracle the snow plow hits it this evening . I’m not holding my breath….

  13. Gainesville Resident

    Red Dawn may have been referring to my commentary about work and coworkers who “work from home”. Hey, I call it as I see it!

  14. Red Dawn

    Thanks and actually I was getting a kick out of just about everything you said. From road conditions, inequities,commute distance, productivity and not look forward to more traffic when the Fed Gov., opens back up. With the roads in the condition they are in, it’s going to be a nightmare… LOL 🙂 I personally, didn’t have to worry about loss of pay and was just PLAIN BORED and happen to enjoy my job so it made it easy to venture out 🙂

  15. Red Dawn


    Get ready to rumble.(lol) The Federal Govenrment is opening tomorrow. From the looks of the road condtions on the way home, I think it’s a very bad idea. One more day, I was hoping for one more day. It will be something….

  16. clueless

    The main roads on the east side of the County were very good yesterday. My neighborhood was plowed curb to curb overnight. I think VDOT did an excellent job on this last round of snow (at least in the areas that I drove today).

  17. Mayfield Intermediate was on channel 5 news tonight. Things look bad over there. Brand new school –that should not be happening. I hope the City has both a back up plan and a pending law suit. The roof must not have been built up to code. PWC has some real old ratty roofs that leak all the time. They have lasted longer than 4 years though.

    Why aren’t real roofs put on schools rather than those flat things?

  18. Gainesville Resident

    Red Dawn – thanks again. I agree with you, road conditions this evening were not “great”. At this point, why not give the Feds another day off and call it a week? It would take a lot of traffic off the roads. Personally, I LOVE when the feds are off for some federal holiday that I don’t get off for. Makes my commute a breeze. In this lousy weather – it at least makes my commute tolerable, as with all those cars on the road it would be hell! Tomorrow morning may be fun for me at 5:45 AM. I am dreading Glenkirk Rd. as it should be frozen over again and be an icy bumpy mess. This evening at 4:30 PM it was a snow covered bumpy mess with pockets of water in between the clumps of snow. I can just imagine what it will be like in the morning…. Unless MAYBE by some miracle the snow plow came through. No, the snow plow zooms down Linton Hall and doesn’t bother to make the right turn onto Glenkirk, it seems! Never mind it’s the only real way out of a bunch of neighborhoods here – to get to Linton Hall Rd.

    Most buildings have flat roofs. When I worked at IBM in Manassas, the roofs were ALWAYS leaking because they were flat. A coworkers office one time had a waterfall coming out of the ceiling, it was nuts! Anytime they got heavy rain, some hallway or someone’s office had a bucket in it!

    In Hawaii in our broadcast location at Wahiawa, we are on the 2nd floor (top floor) of a building with a flat roof. I was out there one time when Hawaii was inundated with rain. Water started coming down IN OUR COMPUTER ROOM and we had to put up makeshift tarps over the equipment – as it could have ruined millions of dollars of expensive equipment. It was nutty!

    I’ve seen too many flat roof buildings with leaky roof problems. Supposedly, those roofs aren’t perfectly flat – at least that’s what someone told us at IBM. Supposedly the roof has natural high and low spots and is supposed to cause the water to roll off to the rain gutters. In practice, it just doesn’t seem to work, as those are two cases I’ve seen that it does NOT work in heavy rains!

  19. Gainesville Resident

    Isn’t Monday President’s Day. Don’t the feds get off for it? I don’t, but once again that means for me an easier than average commute!

  20. Gainesville Resident

    Finally, if anyone is wondering why I’m on so late when I have to get up early in the morning… .

    Today was an exciting day for me – my old Point of Woods townhouse is under contract! It listed a week and a half ago and got an offer right away – someone looked at it Tuesday believe it or not. I’m so happy – I finally get to unload it, get a pile of money out of it (the mortgage is paid off) – and be free of Point of Woods.

    Oh Happy Day! I’m too excited to be able to sleep, this is the best news I’ve gotten in this miserable dreary weather. I first got the news of an offer on Wednesday believe it or not, their offer was a few thousand low of the asking price, I made a counteroffer, and they met in the middle today and I agreed. If things go well, closing will be on 3/25!! Then I get a nice big fat check with 6 digits, and I’m free of Point of Woods!!! YAY!!!!!

  21. Gainesville Resident

    And, if my house sale closes on 3/25 as scheduled, you won’t hear me complaining about the old neighborhood at Point of Woods anymore! I know that will probably make some people happy as I know I more than did my fair share of complaining about that place. I won’t have any association with it anymore, so it won’t bother me anymore and I won’t have anything negative to say about it anymore! “Goodbye Point of Woods”!

  22. You will finally be free of that POW moniker 😉

    Congrats GR!!!!! Where is the party going to be?

  23. Red Dawn

    Congrats on the house and Happy Friday! 🙂

  24. Lafayette

    Great news, Gainesville. CONGRATULATIONS! I know you will be happy to ditch that place and not look back.

  25. Lafayette

    I think this is the first time I’ve seen two posts with the same time. This could only happen to RedDawn & Lafayette. 🙂

  26. Red Dawn

    Lafayette, raising my coffee cup… CHEERS! 🙂 lol

  27. GainesvilleResident

    You’ll hear the champagne bottles popping on 3/25 right after they hand me the check if all goes well.

    On the other hand – I should maybe hold a “Goodbye POW party”!

    Red Dawn & Lafayette – only I could manage to elicit two posts at the same exact time with the same thoughts!

    Happy Friday to everyone too! Glenkirk Rd to no great surprise, froze over and was an icy bumpy slippery mess at 5:45 AM this morning. After that, commute non-eventful – I took I-66 just to be safe. Last night came home on Rt. 29 via Battlefield. MANY MANY people sledding and having a blast by the Stone House! I wished the traffic light at Sudley Road was red so I could have watched them for a minute or two. As luck would have it – this time it was green. Many days it is red and it is a 2-3 minute wait at that intersection. Lots of fun times were being had by all as far as I could see as I passed by there yesterday at 4:30 PM roughly.

  28. GainesvilleResident

    Lafayette :
    Great news, Gainesville. CONGRATULATIONS! I know you will be happy to ditch that place and not look back.

    I went back to Point of Woods for the first time in a year, last week. I am hopeful that is my last visit there. I just went to see the for sale sign up and inspect the property after that tenant moved out, and make sure the electric was back on (crazy tenant moved out on 1/26 – did not tell me or property management firm – told city of Manassas to shut off electricity – we did not find out until 2/2 and electric was not back on until 2/3 as the idiots at the city required 24 hours notice by me and a copy of my driver’s license faxed in to them!!).

    You are right, I’m ditching that place and not looking back. I have no reason to drive near Point of Woods now – as I said I had not been there since a year ago when my house got rented out. I will admit, last week when I went there I was in a hurry so did not stay long – just wanted to make sure electric on, heat running, AND no pipes burst (amazingly – ONLY because it is an interior unit!!). I did not take a good look at the neighborhood so can’t speak to what it appeared to me. I maybe didn’t want to look. At that point I’d just listed the house, and had no idea how fast it would go. Amazingly, someone looked at it on Monday and made an offer on Tuesday that was $5K under what I was asking. We went through the counter-offer process and came to an agreement yesterday! Let’s hope nothing goes wrong between now and 3/25. On that day, I’ll be celebrating! FREE OF POINT OF WOODS AT LAST!! You’ll hear the champagne bottle popping probably all the way to Manassas, from wherever the closing is (looks like they selected some place in Gainesville oddly enough – for my new house back on October 30, 2008 had to go up to Tyson’s Corner and the closing was at 3 PM – talk about an ugly ugly ride home that evening in heavy traffic).

  29. GainesvilleResident

    Moon-howler :
    You will finally be free of that POW moniker
    Congrats GR!!!!! Where is the party going to be?

    Maybe I should hold a party for a few friends here on antibvbl – who suffered through my long posts/diatribes about Point of Woods.

    However, don’t worry, I won’t be talking about Point of Woods anymore after 3/25 – if things go to plan. Just hope their mortgage gets approved (it is pre-approved but my parents had a buyer who was pre-approved and that meant nothing – they failed to get final approval and the deal was scuttled), etc.

    Tenant trashed the place a bit, big stains on rug, etc. We were going to take the money out of her deposit and then bill her for the last 2 months’ rent which she hasn’t paid. However, temporarily we tried listing the house “as-is” to see if there were any “bites” and amazingly there was. We’d have to use her deposit ($2700) to clean the place up, and then have to chase after her in court for the back-rent. We had started eviction proceedings actually but she bailed on her own. Her or her boyrfriend’s kid drew stick figure crayon drawings on the walls and windows! Big stains on the brand new carpet (had house recarpeted/painted when I moved out as carpet was worn and walls needed painting to make it more attractive to rent out).

    Now you know why I didn’t want to rent for one more year. I needed to sell by October 2011 for tax purposes so I don’t have to declare capital gains.

    Anyway, that’s my “rental saga” for the year the house was rented out – it was not a fun year by any means, even though the property management firm was a buffer and I didn’t have to directly deal with the tenant.

  30. GainesvilleResident

    I should say – these people are wiling to take the place like that, so no cleanup necessary. The walls are badly scraped in places from them either moving furniture in or out – as again the walls were painted AFTER I moved out. Not only that, they hung some picture up in the master bedroom and the wall is really scraped up where that is, I don’t know how they mounted it. Either that, or MAYBE it was the mount for a flat screen TV, that could be. Whatever, it damaged the wall badly. The house also has a filthy stale odor of I’m not sure what.

    Here’s the capper – my wife for some reason opened the dryer and washer – and found in the dryer a huge pile of clothes! I’m leaivng it to the property management firm to decide what to do with them. Personally, I’d like to drop them off at Goodwill, it is a mix of adult and kid’s clothes!

    Looks like a big wine stain (or something else wine colored) in one place on the rug – it is a long stain about 3 feet long and 1-2 inches wide that meanders back and forth. Several other large stains too but this red stain, against a beige carpet, is really striking.

    It was not a pleasant experience as the house was in really pristine condition before it got rented out.

    Yet another wonderful experience for me at Point of Woods! I cannot WAIT to get that place sold – but i see the “light at the end of the tunnel”. I figure, if the deal falls through, I’m confident I’ll find another buyer quickly. Still, keeping my fingers crossed for 3/25 that their mortgage approval goes smoothly, and no other strange unforseen things happen to scuttle the deal. The house is under contract though, and they have a deposit down, that I guess they’d lose if something happens from here on out. This is my first time selling a house, so I’m a novice at selling real estate. I don’t want to rent out a house ever again – that was the only time I did that – one year was enough. But I could have at best gotten $100K for it a year ago and it might have taken 6 months to sell. It was a very very smart move waiting, I’m getting much much more than that now. Real estate prices in Point of Woods have rebounded a huge amount – 40 to 60 percent believe it or not, and I’m not exaggerating, from their low. My house is selling for $25K over it’s January 1, 2009 city of manassas tax appraisal. And that’s in “as-is” condition. If I got it cleaned up, I’m kind of confident I could get another $10K more for it, if it was in the condition it was prior to rental.

  31. GainesvilleResident

    Now, back to talking about snow – sorry for the deviation from the topic!

  32. GainesvilleResident

    Did you know Dulles Airport now has 72″ of snow so far this winter? The most on record, and more than places like Burlington, VT, Syracuse, NY, and many cities/towns in Alaska have gotten so far this winter! Crazy! My sister lives in Burlington, VT – they have only gotten about 35″ of snow so far this winter, and in a “normal” winter get maybe 60-70 inches. This winter has been dry and cold so far so they are behind normal. the winter isn’t done yet, and we’ve already gotten what Burlington, VT gets in a “normal winter” – their winter the snow starts in early November and often goes into mid to late April! We got that snow just in December, January, and early February! Pretty amazing, isn’t it???? This is one case where statistics are kind of scary and show how nutty this winter has been so far. I hope 72″ remains the total, personally – I don’t want to see it get any higher.

  33. GainesvilleResident

    I’ve often said “statistics lie” or can be used to distort/twist the facts. This is one case where the statistics aren’t lying, this has been a really bizarre winter and very odd that we got more snow than places far north of us. That has never ever happened before in my experience, with my sister living there since 1994. Don’t know before then, but this is the first time since she moved there in 1994 that we have gotten more snow then they have. I don’t think they’ll catch up to us – the winter has been very dry up there, but very very cold (5 degrees has been the high many days lately).

  34. That is a pretty amazing record for sure. Think if it were rain and what kind of trouble we would be in. Isn’t 1 inch of snow = to 12 inches of rain?

  35. I went on a quest for the answer to my own question. It seems that all snow is not equal.

    Snow and Rain Equivalents

    15 inches of dry powder snow equals 1 inch of rain. This is also equivalent to only five inches of very wet snow. The accepted average is 10 inches.

    Compliments of

    I think I stated it backwards in the above comment. I can’t remember.

  36. GainesvilleResident

    Indeed, all snow is not equal as you found out. If you think about it, wet snow is partially water that is not completely frozen. That is why very wet snow doesn’t equal as much per inch of rain as very dry snow. On the other hand – as everyone knows, an inch of wet snow is much harder to shovel than an inch of dry snow! Again, it has to do with the moisture content in the snow.

    Most people do think wet snow is more per inch of rain than dry snow. I thought that for a long long time too.

  37. GainesvilleResident

    Probably though, it is rare to get the very very wet snow that only amounts to 5 inches per 1 inch of rain but it does happen.

    That also explains why this storm, out in Gainesville, only seemed to result in 5 inches of snow. That was my rough measurement based on driveway shoveling and tallying it as it fell. I know reports were higher accumulations – up in Reston it seems they got 9 inches here at the office, from what I heard.

  38. GainesvilleResident

    Moon-howler :
    That is a pretty amazing record for sure. Think if it were rain and what kind of trouble we would be in. Isn’t 1 inch of snow = to 12 inches of rain?

    We’ll still have flooding issues possibly as all this melts, you can kind of bank on that.

  39. DB

    GR congrats on selling your town house. My aunt and uncle live in Burlington and I spend most summers close to there. Love VT in the summer. The demise of the Champlain Bridge sucks though. Now I’ll have to take the long way when I go.

    Talked to a Mayfield teacher friend of mine. The roof situation is so bad that no one can enter the building at all. That means nothing can be removed from the building…teaching supplies, computers, files etc. There’s a meeting today for Mayfield staff about what they are going to do. I’ll let you all know if I find out any info from my friend.

  40. GainesvilleResident

    DB – Burlington, VT is a beautiful area. I once was up there for a summer (1992) on a temporary assignment at IBM up there. If I could work it so I could be there in the summer months and someplace here or further south the rest of the year, I’d be happy! You are right though, too bad about Champlain Bridge. i used to like driving by Ft. Ticonderoga on the way to seeing my sister.

    I did take the ferry a few times but that is slow, but interesting. I didn’t like how they jam the cars in – when you go to get out of your car – you can hardly open the door to get out!

    I did really really enjoy the summer I spent in Burlington in 1992 on a 3 month assignment up at IBM Burlington. I was offered a permanent position there – but I knew I’d never be happy there in the winter. The manager told me “you just need to buy yourself a good parka”. I said I don’t want to live in a place that you need parkas.

    Oddly enough my brother-in-law worked in Kingston, NY at the time, but 2 years later that location closed and he got transferred to Burlington. Still, even with them there – I would not have wanted to live there year round, it would drive me nutty.

    Interesting update on Mayfield by the way.

    And, I just saw a news bulletin – a Metro train derailed at one of the Farragut stations. No one hurt it seems, but 6 car train – front car is derailed. THAT should make for a messy ride home for people using the Metro this aftrernoon! Just what Metro needed, another derailment.

  41. Link to Fox News story on Mayfield last night:

    Glad to see you moving on, Gainesville Resident, and I hope all goes smoothly with your house settlement. You truly are a survivor!

  42. GainesvilleResident

    Thanks cindy b, I appreciate that. I hope things go better for Point of Woods in the future, but personally I’m kind of glad I’m seeing the “light at the end of the tunnel” so to speak. I guess my total time owning property there will be from late February 1983 – late March 2010, hopefully. I lived there until October 30, 2008. A lot of history there, but time to leave it behind.

  43. GainesvilleResident

    That was an interesting video about Mayfield’s roof/snow problems, by the way.

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