Scenes from a snow storm in Society Hill.

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Philadelphia is officially in the midst of a snow emergency, as a major winter storm is expected to pummel the east coast with a foot of snow through Wednesday.

Here’s everything you need to know about the impending storm:


Accuweather’s most recent forecast is projecting 8 to 12 inches of snow will fall between now and Wednesday. Snow’s expecting to start falling overnight Monday night and will begin accumulating by Tuesday morning and will fall slowly through the day Tuesday and well into Wednesday.


The School of Philadelphia and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia both announced that school is canceled for the day Tuesday. Temple — while they’re out for Spring Break, so no classes — has shut down its campuses.

SEPTA preparations

SEPTA train
A SEPTA Regional Rail train. Credit: Kurt Raschke / Flickr

The transportation authority says it will have more personnel at the SEPTA HQ Command Center on-hand beginning at 11 p.m. tonight to keep an eye on conditions. In addition, officials said SEPTA will be running “pilot vehicles” throughout the night tonight on trolley routes, the Norristown High Speed Line and Regional Rail lines so they’ll be ready to go for morning service Tuesday.


SEPTA’s recommending that anyone who needs to use public transportation Tuesday should use the Market-Frankford line or the Broad Street line, if possible. The lines — the most-frequently used throughout the transportation system — will be operating on the same schedule as 24-hour weekend train service, meaning trains will operate every 20 minutes through the night.

Regional Rail / NHSL

On Tuesday, SEPTA will use its Regional Rail Severe Storm Service Plan, meaning the trains will operate on a Saturday schedule with these modifications, according to SEPTA:

The Norristown High Speed Line will operate every 20 minutes, but SEPTA officials say “drifting snow” could cause serious problems along the line. Check SEPTA’s website and Twitter for updates on the NHSL.

Buses and trolleys

Bus routes that have been “historically affected” by snow storms and the like will be detoured at 4 a.m. Tuesday, or earlier if it’s warranted, SEPTA says. They’ll cut back or suspend service on those lines, including: Routes 7, 9, 14, 18, 19, 20, 22, 24, 26, 27, 28, 31, 32, 38, 44, 46, 48, 50, 52, 53, 55, 57, 58, 65,70, 73, 77, 84, 88, 92, 94, 95, 97, 99, 103, 107, 108, 112, 114, 117, 119, 120, 124, 126, G, H, XH, J, K, and L. Routes 35, 61 and 62 will be suspended. Bus detours will be posted online here.

As for trolleys, customers can also expect significant delays or cancellations. Routes expected to be impacted include: Trolley Routes 10, 11, 13, 15, 34 and 36, and the Media/Sharon Hill Line (Routes 101/102).


Uber and Lyft both operate during inclement weather, but surge pricing can be a real problem. Uber’s said in the past that it will cap surge pricing in the case of a state of emergency.

The airport

A number of major airlines have already canceled flights out of PHL on all or part of the day Tuesday, including American Airlines and Southwest. Some are offering waives to change your itinerary. Check PHL Airport’s live updates here.

Roads and parking

Philadelphia’s snow emergency begins tonight at 9 p.m., and we’ve got to make way for the plows. That means the Philadelphia Parking Authority will begin ticketing and towing vehicles parked along snow emergency routes beginning at midnight Monday night. You can find a map of snow emergency routes here.

A word to the wise for when you re-park your car: Try to avoid the corners. That makes it more difficult for plows to get around (and more likely your fender might get accidentally smashed).

Also: No savesies.

The PPA announced Monday that it won’t enforce meter violations after 10 p.m. Monday night, but it will enforce snow emergency route violations. There will be discounted parking in Center City garages during the snow emergency beginning at 6 p.m. Monday. You can get a $5, 24-hour flat rate spot in these locations:

  • AutoPark at Independence Mall (5th & Market Streets)
  • AutoPark at Jefferson (10th & Ludlow Streets)
  • Autopark at the Gallery Mall (10th & Filbert Streets)
  • Autopark at 8th & Filbert Streets Garage (801 Filbert Street)
  • AutoPark at Old City (2nd & Sansom Streets)
  • Philadelphia Family Court Garage (1503-11 Arch Street – Going south on 15th Street, enter the garage on the west side just after 15th & Cherry St.)
  • Gateway Garage (enter from Spring Street between 15th & 16th Streets)

What to do in an emergency

Save it for emergencies, but call 9-1-1. The city says you can also contact its non-emergency service Philly311 with questions. Hospital emergency rooms across the city will be operating.

Code Blue

A “Code Blue” is in effect, meaning the city will take measures to ensure the homeless are protected throughout the storm. Call (215) 232-1984 if you see a person who appears to be homeless. You can read more about the program here.

Trash pickup

Trash and recycling pickup for Tuesday is canceled. If you have Tuesday pick-up, the city is asking you hold your trash and recycling until next week. The city will make a decision on whether or not trash collection will take place Wednesday by some time tomorrow. Reminder if your collection is later in the week: Place your trash at the curbside. The Streets Department won’t pick up your trash from the driveway in conditions like these.

Mind your pets

Winter can be bad for your furry friends, especially in the snow. Anyone in the city can be fined up to $500 for leaving their pets outside in extreme cold. Call the ACCT Philly hotline at 267-385-3800 if you see a dog or other pet outside.

Food delivery

Food delivery services like GrubHub, Caviar, Eat 24 and Uber Eats are typically open for business during snowstorms, but do encourage customers to understand that it may take extra time for their food to arrive if roads are in bad shape.

FWIW: Don’t feel bad about ordering delivery. Do feel obligated to tip a little extra, though.

Fun stuff to take note of on your snow day

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