Last updated: 12:45 p.m.
City officials are preparing for a massive winter storm to pummel the region with more than a foot of snow beginning this evening, with SEPTA suspending most of their operations and the city declaring a snow emergency.
Snow is expected to begin falling after rush hour tonight and the bulk of the white stuff will hit the ground in Philly throughout the day Saturday. A blizzard warning is in effect for the region as high winds are expected and could cause low visibility situations.
We’ll be updating this post throughout the day with everything you need to know, as well as keeping a running list of what’s open and closed. On Twitter, we’ll use the hashtag #PHLsnow; you can follow to this list of people and places providing updates.
The city of Philadelphia officially declared a snow emergency that will begin at 9 p.m. tonight. That means anyone parked along a snow emergency route must move their vehicle to temporary parking so the snow can be cleared and emergency personnel can get around. Here is a full list of the city’s snow emergency routes. If you need to find a parking spot, the Parking Authority will be offering parking in city lots and garages for $5 a night. Here’s more parking information.
SEPTA is mostly shutting down
SEPTA general manager Jeff Knueppel said today that the transportation authority is shutting down all operations — except the Broad Street Line and the Market-Frankford Line — for 24 hours beginning at 4 a.m. Saturday morning. Bus and trolleys are expected to begin running again early Sunday morning, but possible downed trees and wires will dictate what time that occurs.
“Imagine trying to operate a bus or trolley with near zero visibility,” Knueppel said Friday morning. “We’re also very concerned about trees coming down.”
Knueppel added that the city is urging any residents who don’t need to use the BSL or MFL on Saturday to stay home. They’re hoping to keep those systems largely free for emergency personnel, who’ll be riding those rails to get to work.
What the city is doing to prepare
On Wednesday, the Streets Department began brining the streets to prepare them to be salted, which is usually done about 48 hours in advance of a storm. Once the snow begins to fall, Streets and PennDOT will deploy trucks to salt the roads. Plowing will begin after 2 to 3 inches of snow accumulates.
Because the National Weather Service has forecasted that we’re likely to receive between 12 and 18 inches of snow, the Office of Emergency Management is concerned about the possibilities of downed trees and power lines. The city’s emergency operations center will be activated beginning tonight to last through the duration of the storm.
Amtrak service is modified
Amtrak announced that it still plans to run trains through the weekend along the Northeast Corridor but it said to expect some delays and modifications. Check on the status of your train at Amtrak.com before you’re scheduled to depart.
Uber and Lyft will operate
Despite city officials urging Philadelphians to stay off the roads, both and Uber and Lyft have said that they will operate throughout the weekend. Planning on taking an Uber? Watch out for what could be serious surge pricing.
How to care for the homeless
Kenney said the homeless are “in severe danger” during these types of events. If you encounter a homeless person during the storm, contact Project HOME at 215-232-1984 and provide a description of the person and an approximate location so officials can help the person find shelter.
How to care for animals
If you see a dog or another pet left outside in the snow, you can file a report online here with ACCT Philly. You can also reach them in an emergency situation at 267-385-3800, 24 hours a day.
Trash collection info
Because of the MLK holiday, trash collection was pushed back a day this week. So folks who usually have Thursday trash pickup will be picked up Friday. But residents who usually have trash pick-up on Fridays will not have their trash picked up on Saturday. The city asks those residents to keep their trash until next week.
When to shovel your sidewalk
You have six hours after the snow has stopped falling to shovel out your sidewalk or you can face a fine from the Streets Department ranging from $50 to $300. Owners or tenants should clear a path of no less than three feet in width on all sidewalks including curb cuts, according to the Streets Department. Also worth noting: You should avoid dumping the snow from your sidewalk into the street and instead place it near a parked car, next to a home, or on a lawn.
The airport is also shutting down
The PHL airport announced this morning that the airlines have canceled all flights arriving to and departing from Philadelphia all day on Saturday. Flight scheduled for Friday and Sunday may also be impacted. PHL is urging customers to check with their airlines on the status of those flights.
So far, ScrappleFest at Reading Terminal Market and WinterFest’s Brewfest have both been canceled.
Reading Terminal Market announced Friday morning that it will close all day Saturday.
Visitation at city jails has been canceled for Saturday and Sunday.
Here is a running list courtesy of CBS/ KYW of schools that have announced closures, cancellations and early dismissals.
All recreation centers and libraries will be closed during the duration of the snow emergency.
Have an event that won’t be happening? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What’s still open
Philadelphia schools are expected to remain open throughout Friday, as snow isn’t expected to begin hitting the region until after students are finished for the day. However, SAT classes, sporting events and extracurricular activities scheduled for Saturday have been canceled.