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When it snows people's creativity comes out. Here is a snow sculpture of Iwo Jima created at the National Museum of the Marine Corps by a Marine.

Photo by Photo by Lance Cpl. Sarah Luna

Get ready for the arrival of that fluffy white stuff–snow!

22 Nov 2017 | Valerie O'Berry/Editor Marine Corps Base Quantico

Get out the boots, mittens, galoshes and warm winter coats this year as the winter season in Northern Virginia is expected to be colder and wetter (including snow) than last year, according to predictions by the Farmer’s Almanac, which has been predicting the weather with 80 percent accuracy for 200 years.

Marine Corps Base Quantico (MCBQ) is already preparing for inclement winter weather by outfitting trucks with snow gear, preparing snow plows, stocking up on supplies such as salt and sand and holding important planning meetings to keep MCBQ personnel safe, which is the top priority. In addition, the base is working to ensure that essential support and services will remain available, going over plans for changing the base operating status when warranted, ensuring that the correct decisions are made about the base operating status and that it is communicated in a timely manner and lastly, making sure that the base gets back to normal operations as quickly and efficiently as possible after a weather event

One of the most important things that civilians and Marines aboard base should do is get informed about how to get an update of the base operating status and undestand what each color code means. It is important to note that MCBQ does not follow the Office of Personnel Management status for the federal government. MCBQ instead has its own procedures for changing the base’s status. In addition, Department of Defense schools aboard base may have a different operating status than MCBQ, for example, schools may be closed, while the base remains open.

Finding out the base operating status is simple. Personnel can log on to the base website at, call the base hotline at 703-784-3638, visit Quantico’s Facebook site at (Facebook feed is also available on Quantico’s web page) or look at the base Twitter feed at In addition, those signed up for the Mass Notification System at Quantico will receive a text message and computer alert. Operating status information can also be found on local TV and radio stations including:


Channel 4, QRC-TV (NBC) Washington

Channel 5, WTTG-TV (Fox) Washington

Channel 7, WJLA, (ABC) Washington

Channel 9, WUSA-TV (CBS) Washington


WTOP 107.7 FM and 1500 AM

WBQB FM 101.5

WFVA AM 1500

WFLS FM 93.9

WYSK 99.3 FM

WYSK AM 1350

Base operating status codes that will be reported to all outlets, and which personnel should familiarize themselves with the following codes: GREEN, YELLOW, BLUE and RED. Personnel should contact their chain of command for specific command/activity guidance or direction.

CODE GREEN: The “normal” base operating status. The base is open and employees are expected to report to work on time. If there is no base operating status posted then assume the status is code green.

CODE YELLOW: This base operating status is typically used when the impact of the winter weather event is minimal, but significant enough that normal operations may be affected.

The base is open on time. Reasonable delays for reporting to work are excused. Unscheduled leave is authorized. Emergency and essential personnel are expected to report to work.

CODE BLUE: This operating status is typically used when the impact of the winter weather event is more significant and time is needed to conduct clearing operations before the base can support near-normal operations. Typically, a specific time will be given as to when the base will open, such as 10 a.m., for example. Reasonable delays for reporting to work are excused. Unscheduled leave is authorized. Emergency and essential personnel are expected to report to work.

CODE RED: Means the base is closed. This code is typically used when the impact of the winter weather is severe and it will take significant effort to restore the base to near-normal operations.

Conditions are severe and the base is closed for normal operation. Only emergency and essential personnel are expected to report for work.

Behind the scenes

Winter weather conditions are monitored continuously, especially if a storm is expected.

Here are some of the interesting things that go on behind the scenes:

When a storm is imminent:

• Equipment and materials are prepared and staged.

• Emergency /essential personnel and equipment operators are put on standby or billeted on base.

• Headquarters and Service Battalion alerts and prepares the shovel brigade (a dedicated group of Marines who help clear sidewalks and common areas not accessible by other means).

• A decision is made on early release of personnel.

• A decision is made about after hours events.

• Operations, Provost Marshals Office (PMO) and Command Duty Officer (CDO) monitor current conditions throughout the night.

• Roads and parking areas are pre-treated. Clearing operations begin when accumulation is over two inches.

When a base operating status may change it is an early day:

• Prior to 3:30 a.m. the PMO reports current road conditions to CDO (passenger vehicle traffic-ability).

• No later than 3:30 a.m. CDO contacts assistant chief of staff G-3 (AC/S G-3) with weather update, road conditions, and status of adjacent units (OPM, Prince William County and Stafford).

• No later than 3:45 a.m. AC/S G-3 makes base operating status recommendation to the commander.

• No later than 4 a.m. a decision is made on base operating status.

• AC/S G-3 contacts DoD Schools for their status.

• AC/S G-3 notifies CDO, Office of Communication, Public Works, G-4, Motor T (school buses), Marine Corps Community Services (MCCS), commissary and PMO.

• If there is a delayed opening, PMO adjusts morning traffic pattern accordingly.

Lincoln Military Housing residents are asked to do the following during a winter weather event:

• Refrain from parking on snow emergency routes and other streets until clearing operations have been completed.

• Park privately owned vehicles in driveways/garages when snow is forecasted.

• Clear sidewalks and driveways, especially where children walk to school.

The priority of snow clearing effort is:

• Snow emergency routes

• Access to main headquarters buildings

• Essential service areas and secondaryroads

• Residential areas; parking lots

• Road shoulder clearance and removal of snow piles.

For more information on winter weather procedures, terms and emergency routes see MCBO 11210.1E.