S.O.S.! Hurricane Schwartz says Winter Storm Jonas is coming.

It’s starting to look like Winter Storm Jonas, the snowstorm scheduled to pummel the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions this weekend, is a large system that could bring more than a foot of snow to the Philadelphia area.

Mayor Jim Kenney and city officials gathered today to announce they’re leaning toward instituting a snow emergency that would be put into place tomorrow. In addition to a probable citywide snow emergency, Gov. Tom Wolf has also declared a statewide state of emergency which allows officials to dispatch state resources quickly.

Forecasters with the National Weather Service have declared a blizzard watch for the Philadelphia region beginning Friday evening (due to expected heavy winds), and forecasters are predicting the bulk of the snow to fall in the region Friday night and Saturday. City officials say they’re hopeful most of the snow will fall post-Friday rush hour.

Here’s what you need to know:

Snow emergency requirements

Because the city is probably going to enter a snow emergency situation, that means anyone parked along a snow emergency route must move their vehicle to a temporary parking area so that snow can be cleared and emergency personnel can easily navigate the streets. 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 lowered pricing on parking. Here’s where to find that information.

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.

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.

What the SEPTA sitch is

There could be delays on buses or trains, but unlike the Washington D.C. transit system, SEPTA is expected to maintain its system all weekend to minimize impacts. Check SEPTA’s social media channels and website for updates.

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 215-212-1984 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.

Watch for power outages

Because of the high winds and heavy snow expected, the Office of Emergency Management will be on the lookout for downed trees and power outages throughout the weekend. Utility companies are preparing for outages as well.

What to do if you have a flight scheduled

The PHL airport has issued a travel advisory and is encouraging everyone who is expected to fly this weekend in or out of the airport to check flight statuses with the carrier that they’re scheduled to fly with. You can get other updates from the airport by following them on Twitter at @PHLAirport.


Philadelphia Police don’t want you to use some object to save your parking space that you’ve already dug out. Kenney added: “Just be considerate. This will pass.”

Anna Orso was a reporter/curator at Billy Penn from 2014 to 2017.