After snow, bitter cold puts region on ice

A commuter is leaving the SEPTA concourse at 15th and Market streets during the snowstorm. ( DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer )
A commuter is leaving the SEPTA concourse at 15th and Market streets during the snowstorm. ( DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer )
Posted: January 23, 2014

Residents, road crews and anyone who ventures outside are confronting bitter cold-temperatures as the area digs out from a record- winter storm that dumped a up to 15 inches of snow in the Philadelphia region.

Schools were closed, roadways are being cleared, and mass transit was struggling to return to normality.

At least two deaths were attributed to the weather. In Ridley Township, Delaware County, an 89-year-old man in the Folsom section and an 93-year-old woman in the Secane section of the township were both found outside Wednesday morning, police said. Although details weren't available, police said the deaths were related to the frigid temperatures.

Temperatures were stuck in the teens, with wind chills as low as 17 below, and officials were warning parents that children were at risk from the dangerous cold.

A wintry pattern could persist for the next two to three weeks, the National Weather Service said. A touch of snow is possible Thursday and Saturday, and perhaps something more substantial early next week, forecasters said.

The 13.5 inches measured officially was one of the biggest snowfalls in Philadelphia in records dating to 1884. This also marked the first time that the city had three 6-inch-plus snowfalls so early in a season. The seasonal total now stands at 33 inches compared to an average of 22.2 for an entire season.

Already the winter of 2013-14 ranks in the top 25 for seasonal snowfall, the National Weather Service said, and typically February is the snowiest month.

Here's the latest of what you need to know.

CITY SNOW CLEARING

The snow emergency barring parking on designated snow emergency routes will be lifted at 6 p.m.

Mayor Nutter reports:

All primary and secondary roads are passable or even down to black top. About 80 percent of residential streets are passable. All primary and secondary routes should be down to blacktop tomorrow. The operation to clear all streets is expected to extend into Saturday.

Overnight, 350 trucks were plowing in the city. There are 266 trucks out today.

Residents are asked if they can to clear hydrants and storm drains.

Anyone whose car was towed from a snow emergency can learn to find their vehicle by calling 215-686-7669.

A special $5 a day parking rate at six Parking Authority lots and garages in the city will end at 6 p.m.

MASS TRANSIT

SEPTA: Regional Rail Line trains are experiencing delays of to 60 minutes due to weather related switch problems at Wayne Junction. Some trains have been canceled.

Service is suspended on SEPTA's Route 101 and Route 102 Trolleys due to overhead wire problems. Shuttle buses are operating in place of trolley service from 69th Street to Media and from 69th Street to Sharon Hill.

Bus Routes 35 remains suspended until further notice and about 30 bus routes are currently being detoured.

SEPTA information, including bus detour routes, is available www.septa.org or 215-580-7800 beginning at 5 a.m.

CCT (paratransit) will provide full service today, however, customers should anticipate delays due to snow and icy conditions on streets and sidewalks. Service reductions may be necessary should conditions deteriorate during the day. Passengers should call 215-580-7720 for status of pending same day trips or to cancel trips if they don't plan to ride.

PATCO: The High Speed Line is running a snow schedule with trains every 15 minutes. www.ridepatco.org

NJ Transit: Systemwide cross-honoring of passes and tickets through the end of the service day.

All rail lines, except Atlantic City, are operating on an enhanced weekend schedule. Buses are operating on a weekday schedule, but expect delays due to road conditions. www.njtransit.com

Amtrak: Will run fewer trains today on the Northeast Corridor between Washington and Boston, and the Keystone Service (New York-Harrisburg).

Passengers holding reservations that require modification are being accommodated on other trains and are being notified by Amtrak Customer Service. More information at www.amtrak.com or 1-800-872-7245.

DRIVING

Mayor Nutter reports there are "significant" traffic signal problems around the city due to the bitter cold.

Numerous accidents are being reported on area roadways. The driver of a car suffered minor injuries in a crash with an NJ Transit River Line Train in Camden, officials said.

AAA Mid-Atlantic says it has responded to nearly 1,000 calls in Philadelphia in the past two days and more than 1,000 in New Jersey.

Expressways are mostly clear. Secondaries are clear, slushy or snow packed or any combination of the three. The conditions of side streets depends on where you live and whether they have been plowed.

BRIDGES

Speed limit is 25 mph on the Ben Franklin, Betsy Ross, Walt Whitman and Commodore Barry Bridges.

Ben Frankling walkway is closed.

AIRPORT

Operations are returning to normal at Philadelphia International Airport.

A about 110 flights were canceled there today, said airport spokeswoman Victoria Lupica

Passengers can check flight information at www.phl.org.

GOVERNMENT AND COURTS

New Jersey State offices and courts are closed.

William J. Green Jr. Federal Building at 6th and Market is closed.

Philadelphia city government offices and courts are closed today but will open on schedule tomorrow.

Bucks County government offices will open two hours late.

Burlington County offices will open at 11 a.m.

Delaware County's Government Center will open two hours late.

Montgomery County offices and the courthouse will open two hours late. The Montgomery County Commissioners' meeting scheduled for 10 a.m. has been rescheduled for 10 a.m. Friday.

OF NOTE

In Philadelphia, property owners technically get just six hours after the snow stops to clear 36-inch paths along their sidewalks.

Philadelphia Visitors Center, National Constitution Center, Mutter Museum, Philadelphia Museum of Art, PAFA Academy, Eastern State Prison, Please Touch Museum, the Barnes Museum, Academy of Natural Sciences and the Penn Museum are closed today.

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced that buses scheduled to travel to Washington for today's annual March for Life have been canceled.

Tuesday's postponed Flyers-Hurricanes game at the Wells Fargo Center will be made up today at 6 p.m.

SCHOOLS

Philadelphia public and parochial schools are closed as are most - if not all - schools in neighboring suburban counties and South Jersey.

Temple University is closed.

WEATHER

A wind chill advisory is in effect until 11 a.m. Northwest winds at 15 TO 20 mph with gusts up 30 mph and temperatures in the single digits will produce wind chills in the minus 10 to minus 15 range.

It will be mostly sunny with a high of only 14. There is a chance of snow showers tomorrow afternoon.

Find out how much snow fell near you at http://bit.ly/1dvB8TF.


Inquirer staff writer Bob Warner contributed to this article.

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