Rain and strong winds rattle DC area on Sunday

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WASHINGTON — After a cold, dry morning in the D.C. area, light to heavy rain moved into the region in the afternoon hours and continued overnight.

The National Weather Service had originally issued a winter storm warning for parts of the D.C. area, but has since canceled the warning. A winter weather advisory for northern Maryland remains in effect until 6 a.m. Sunday.



D.C. officials said in a news release Friday night that roads will be monitored and treated throughout the weekend, including Monday, which is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The city is asking residents to drive cautiously.

The D.C. area won’t be the only region feeling the effects of wintry weather. The National Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Center said in a tweeted graphic that over 116 million people fall within its winter storm warnings, watches or advisories.

The storm is expected to make its way across the Midwest and into New England; Amtrak announced that it was modifying train service in affected regions due to the weather.

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FORECAST

Rain is expected to continue Sunday, then it will turn to snow with rapidly falling temperatures. The temperatures are expected to be in the low 40s in the morning, falling to below freezing by the afternoon to in the 20s and below in the evening. Strong winds are expected throughout the day — a wind advisory for the D.C. area goes into effect at 11 a.m. 

Storm Team4 meteorologist Somara Theodore said that wind gusts of 20 mph will start early Sunday but will increase to around 50 mph by evening.

“This means the wind chill, what the temp actually feels like, will range from the teens to 10 degrees below 0 Sunday into Monday morning. The wind gusts could also cause damage so be careful,” Theodore said.

A hard freeze should set in any time after 6 p.m. Sunday, according to Storm Team4 meteorologist Matt Ritter.

“Temperatures will fall below freezing Sunday afternoon, leading to icy spots on our roadways,” Storm Team 4 meteorologist Mike Stinneford said.

Monday is expected to be “blustery and very cold,” said Ritter. The highs are in the 20s for Monday with wind chills below zero for much of the day.

SUNDAY: Rain/mix ends by morning. Windy and turning colder. Icy spots possible overnight.
Highs: 40s, falling into the 20s by sunset

MONDAY/Martin Luther King Jr. Day: Dangerously cold. Mostly sunny and windy.
Highs: low to mid-20s

TUESDAY: Partly sunny. Lighter winds and not as cold.
Highs: low to mid-30s

CURRENT CONDITIONS

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The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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Va. business offers free ‘anger room’ sessions for furloughed workers to smash away their feelings

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Break It in Fredericksburg is offering free smashing sessions for furloughed government workers. (Courtesy Break It)

Break It in Fredericksburg is offering free smashing sessions for furloughed government workers. (Courtesy Break It)

WASHINGTON — There isn’t a “you break it, you buy it” rule here for those affected by the government shutdown.

The Break It “anger room” or “rage room” is offering those who are furloughed a place to take out their frustrations free of charge with complimentary smashing sessions at their Fredericksburg, Virginia, location.

“It’s something cathartic for them and especially with what’s going on with their lives I think that it’s the perfect fit for them,” said Monica May, owner of Break It in Fredericksburg.

Furloughed workers simply email the location through their website to receive a 5-minute session with 10 breakable items.

Items to break vary, as they are donated through local businesses, but they often include things, such as liquor bottles, computer monitors, modems, stereos, DVDs, furniture, chairs and dressers.

The business is all about keeping those “raging” safe during their sessions. Break It provides all of the safety equipment, along with the items to break.

May said that the business has already received close to two dozen calls in the last couple of days. She said that they’re going to keep offering the free sessions until they reach capacity.

“I’m just going to keep going, and I will let everyone know if we reached our cap and there’s a waiting list. But, we’ll try our best to take as many people as we can,” May said.

Availability for the stress-relieving offer mostly depends on whether they can keep up with donations of stuff to break.

“As long as we can keep those donations up we can still be able to provide the services for the furloughed workers,” May said.

For May, she said that she can relate to the furloughed workers and their frustrating at this time in their lives.

May and her husband were going through a devastating time and decided that opening up a way for others to relieve stress brought them comfort in their lives as well.

“My husband and I lost a child in 2017, and we got sick ourselves and almost died of the flu; and it was just a bunch of anger and things that were out of our control in our lives that kind of made us feel like we needed a change,” May said.

Someone brought up the notion of anger rooms that were offered in Japan and starting to pop up in the United States and they decided to take the leap.

“We thought that the idea was just crazy and out there,” May said. “We saw that it was successful all across the world and even in the United States there were a few that were already up and running and we looked at each other and said, ‘Why not? Let’s give it a shot.’”

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In protest, Virginia lieutenant governor leaves dais again

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax stopped presiding over the state Senate for the second year in a row in protest when senators again honored a Confederate general.

News outlets report Fairfax left the dais Friday just before Republican Sen. Richard Stuart spoke in support of Gen. Robert E. Lee and adjourning Friday’s session in Lee’s honor. Lee’s birthday was Saturday.

Fairfax is the second African-American elected to statewide office in Virginia history. The Democrat said Friday he wanted to be firm and respectful in his opposition to honoring Lee, pointing to Confederate efforts to preserve slavery.

Stuart said his request had nothing to do with slavery but with celebrating a “great Virginian.”

Last year, Fairfax stood down when another senator called for adjournment in honor of Gen. Stonewall Jackson.

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In protest, Virginia lieutenant governor leaves dais again

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax stopped presiding over the state Senate for the second year in a row in protest when senators again honored a Confederate general.

News outlets report Fairfax left the dais Friday just before Republican Sen. Richard Stuart spoke in support of Gen. Robert E. Lee and adjourning Friday’s session in Lee’s honor. Lee’s birthday was Saturday.

Fairfax is the second African-American elected to statewide office in Virginia history. The Democrat said Friday he wanted to be firm and respectful in his opposition to honoring Lee, pointing to Confederate efforts to preserve slavery.

Stuart said his request had nothing to do with slavery but with celebrating a “great Virginian.”

Last year, Fairfax stood down when another senator called for adjournment in honor of Gen. Stonewall Jackson.

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Virginia judge dies following car crash earlier this month

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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) — A Virginia judge and former local school board chairman has died less than two weeks after being involved in a car accident.

Norfolk police announced that Virginia Beach District Judge Robert Hagans Jr. died Thursday from his injuries. The 66-year-old Hagans had been taken to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital following his Jan. 6 accident. A police news release says it appears Hagans rear-ended another car at a traffic light.

Attorney and longtime friend Kathryn Byler told The Virginian-Pilot that Hagans suffered a stroke moments before the crash. She said Saturday that Hagan had been in the hospital’s trauma unit.

The General Assembly appointed Hagans to the bench in 2015. Hagan was elected chairman of the Virginia Beach school board in 1996 and served in that role for two years.

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Fairfax Co. residents buy groceries for those in need, including hungry feds

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Volunteers load donated food outside of Giant Food in the Fox Mill neighborhood of Herndon. (WTOP/Dick Uliano)

A bus full of donated food for those in need sits outside of the Giant Food store in the Fox Mill neighborhood of Herndon. (WTOP/Dick Uliano)

Fairfax County Board Of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova helped to load donated food for those in need, including federal government workers onto a bus in Herndon. (WTOP/Dick Uliano)

Volunteers loaded donated food outside of Giant Food in the Fox Mill neighborhood of Herndon. (WTOP/Dick Uliano)

HERNDON, Va. — Shoppers at several Northern Virginia grocery stores reached into their hearts and dug into their pockets to help buy groceries Saturday for those in need, including federal workers who have missed a paycheck.

“We are a company town and so many people who live here in this community are associated, in some way, with the federal government,” said Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman, Sharon Bulova, outside the Giant Food store in the Fox Mill neighborhood in Herndon.

“This year it’s more important than ever. Our nonprofits have seen an uptick in people … asking for help — people who had never thought that they would need it. So these are federal employees and federal contractors. Folks who have been living responsibly, get a paycheck and now they’re not,” Bulova said.

The county teams with area nonprofit organizations to help replenish charitable food pantries, which typically run short in the winter months.

Bulova joined a group of volunteers loading boxes of groceries, including pet food, that will eventually be distributed to families who are in need. Donations were also collected Saturday at the McLean Giant and at Mount Vernon Plaza Shoppers Food Warehouse.

“We always think that Fairfax County people aren’t hungry, but obviously they are,” said Cheryl Freeman, a volunteer with “Helping Hungry Kids,” a 10-year-old Fairfax County group that provides food packs, including granola bars to kids in schools who don’t have enough to eat.

The county and the nonprofits will team up in February food drive collections at eight other locations in the county.

One shopper at the Herndon Giant was particularly generous on Saturday.

“I saw a gentleman … with a grocery cart and he said, ‘Fill it up, just fill it up,’ and they stuffed as much into this grocery cart as they could,” said Bulova about the anonymous donor who purchased more than $300 of groceries for those in need.

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Coal ash removal bill clears first Virginia Senate committee

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A bill requiring the disposal of coal ash stored in Dominion Energy ponds across Virginia has cleared its first General Assembly committee.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports the Senate committee handling conservation and natural resources moved the bill ahead Thursday, voting 9-5. Its next hurdle is the Senate Finance Committee, which asked to also take it up because costs could likely be passed to Dominion customers.

Gov. Ralph Northam supports the bill Sen. Scott Surovell introduced. It requires Dominion to dig up its coal ash, recycle as much as possible and haul the rest to modern landfills.

Coal ash is heavy metal-laden waste left from burning the fossil fuel to produce electricity.

Bill Murray, Dominion’s vice president of public policy, says mandating recycling or anything tends to make it more expensive.

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Information from: Richmond Times-Dispatch, http://www.richmond.com

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Coal ash removal bill clears first Virginia Senate committee

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A bill requiring the disposal of coal ash stored in Dominion Energy ponds across Virginia has cleared its first General Assembly committee.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports the Senate committee handling conservation and natural resources moved the bill ahead Thursday, voting 9-5. Its next hurdle is the Senate Finance Committee, which asked to also take it up because costs could likely be passed to Dominion customers.

Gov. Ralph Northam supports the bill Sen. Scott Surovell introduced. It requires Dominion to dig up its coal ash, recycle as much as possible and haul the rest to modern landfills.

Coal ash is heavy metal-laden waste left from burning the fossil fuel to produce electricity.

Bill Murray, Dominion’s vice president of public policy, says mandating recycling or anything tends to make it more expensive.

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Information from: Richmond Times-Dispatch, http://www.richmond.com

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Amtrak train hits truck crossing tracks, truck driver hurt

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LANEXA, Va. (AP) — Virginia State Police say an Amtrak train hit a truck hauling a trailer, leaving the truck’s driver with minor injuries.

Police said in a statement that the Ford work truck was crossing railroad tracks in Kent County, east of Richmond, on Friday morning when the train hit the truck, flipping it on its roof. The train didn’t derail, but flying debris damaged a mobile home and another vehicle.

The driver of the truck was taken to a hospital with minor injuries, but police say the 80 people on the train, including the crew, weren’t injured.

Police say there wasn’t emergency equipment at the crossing, but there were stop signs on each side of the crossing. Police say charges are pending and the crash remains under investigation.

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