Nor'easter a 'dud' for Philadelphia but dangerous icy conditions persist
Updated Tuesday, 9:15 p.m.
The storm that's pounding parts of the Northeast has dropped almost 2 feet of snow in Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountains and the northern reaches of New Jersey, yet it didn't perform to forecast expectations in New York City, the rest of New Jersey and Philadelphia.
That's because the line between a rainy wintry mix and snow ended up farther west than anticipated.
The rain-snow line on Tuesday was a 50-mile wide swath where cold Arctic air from the north and west clashed with warm moist air from the Atlantic Ocean.
Private meteorologist Ryan Maue of Weather Bell Analytics said it's tough to forecast the location of the line, because it undulates and computers models only have a few data points over a width of 50 miles. He also says much of the storm is over the Atlantic Ocean, where fewer observations can be made.
Maue and other experts say missing where the rain-snow line winds up doesn't make the blizzard forecast a bust.
Forecasters Monday predicted the nor'easter could leave a foot in Philadelphia but instead it the city got a mix of snow, ice and rain making for a slushy mix. New York City also dodged the storm where predictions as high as 18 inches were forecast.
In New Jersey, which saw rain or just a little snow in many areas, Gov. Chris Christie called the storm an "underperformer." But officials are warning motorists to beware of ice on the roads as melting snow refreezes during chilly temperatures expected overnight.
The Philadelphia public school district announced that schools would be open Wednesday on a normal schedule, while the Archdiocese of Philadelphia said high schools and parochial elementary schools would operate on a two-hour delay.
The City of Philadelphia ended its snow emergency declaration at 1 p.m. today, meaning cars could again park on snow emergency routes.
New Jersey ended its snow emergency on Tuesday at 6 p.m.
Eraine Townsell Moore didn’t let the storm stop her from heading to work. The South Philly woman waited an hour for a bus that never came, before she jumped on a train to head to the hair salon where she works as a stylist. “I come rain, snow or sleet. I love what I do, so I show up no matter what, if I can get there,” Townsell Moore said.
Steve Piantone was out shoveling in downtown Norristown by 7 a.m. He works for a real estate company, and whenever it snows, he has to dig out 12 properties. "I hate snow. Snow's not fun unless you're a kid," Piantone said. "Brings me a little extra income, but I'd rather have sun."
And Jim Hansen, who drives The Connector bus that ferries commuters from Norristown Transportation Center to businesses in King of Prussia, said he expected to encounter other motorists on the road, even though so many citizens have hunkered down at home. "You gotta go very, very slow," the West Norriton man said, as hail pummeled his black cap. "It's really slippery out there."
Here's a look at where things stand:
SEPTA: The Broad Street Line and Market-Frankford Line are operating today. Regional Rail is returning to normal but some lines were running behind Tuesday evening. Check for travel updates at www.septa.org and @SEPTA on Twitter. A full rundown of service details can be found here.
PATCO: The rail passenger service is running on a storm schedule until midnight. It will resume its normal weekday schedule Wednesday, March 15 at 12:01 a.m.
Amtrak: The Acela Express and Northeast Regional will operate a modified schedule in the Northeast region on Wednesday, March 15 due to Tuesday's winter storm.
NJ Transit: The rail agency said customers will see increasing service levels across bus, rail, light rail on Wednesday, March 15. River Line: Service will operate on regular weekday schedule. The Atlantic City Rail Line will continue to operate on a regular weekday schedule. Check njtransit.com before traveling for schedule updates, @NJTransit on Twitter, or call (973) 275-5555.
Philadelphia International Airport: Airlines plan to resume normal operations on Wednesday. Check with your airlines for flight information or the airport’s website phl.org, or @PHLAirport on Twitter. Some airlines are allowing travelers to change their itinerary without paying the customary change fees.
Pennsylvania roadways: Gov. Tom Wolf has cancelled some but not all of speed restrictions on interstates and expressways east of Interstate 99, which runs North-South through the center of the state. As of Tuesday, 8 p.m., none of the road restrictions affect Philadelphia or its suburbs. PennDot has a map showing the current road restirctions.
New Jersey: Gov. Chris Christie lifted a state of emergency at 6 p.m. on Tuesday.
Delaware: The sleet and freezing rain caused power outages throughout New Castle County.
Philadelphia: A snow emergency, declared last night, was lifted at 1 p.m. today. Philadelphia city government offices had a delayed opening at 10 a.m.
Trash/recycling: Suspended today in Philadelphia. Trash and recycling collection will resume Wednesday. To accommodate residents impacted by collection delays, the Streets Department will extend the hours of its six Sanitation Convenience Centers until 8 p.m. all week. See www.philadelphiastreets.com for locations.
Power outages: Report outages online to PECO here or call (800) 841-4141 and track current outages here. To report a gas emergency, call 9-1-1. Report street light outages tol Philadelphia’s non-emergency number 3-1-1.
Downed trees: If a tree falls during the storm and blocks a road or falls on a house, car or other property, call 9-1-1. City arborists are on call and will remove any part of the tree that poses a public safety risk. If a tree falls on electrical wires, call PECO's emergency line at (800) 841-4141.
Snow shoveling: Residents who don’t shovel all walkways within six hours after the storm ends face a $50 code violation. Residents and private plowers are forbidden from shoveling or plowing snow into the streets. Authorities also urge residents to shovel snow away from fire hydrants and storm drains to allow melting snow to drain. And Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Karen Murphy reminded citizens to stand guard against injuries and health concerns that could come with shoveling and sledding. “Removing the heavy, wet snow that is expected from this storm puts you at greater risk for heart attacks, bodily injuries, and even hypothermia or frostbite,” Murphy said. “Heavy, wet snow can prove to be very dangerous for small children. In extreme cold and wind, like the conditions we expect to see over the next few days, children can get frostbite in just 15 minutes.”
Homeless: Philadelphia officials declared a Code Blue until temperatures rise. That means homeless people do not need identification to enter Code Blue shelters or cafes from the street, and they can remain indoors throughout the duration of the Code Blue. Call the Outreach Coordination Center at (215) 232-1984 (available 24 hours a day) to report concerns about homeless people during the storm.
Philadelphia courts and prisons: The Criminal Justice Center were closed Tuesday, except for bail, protection orders and other emergency operations. All inmate visits were also canceled.
Pet safety: Call the ACCT Philly hotline at (267) 385-3800 if you see a dog or other pet outside during extreme cold, a violation of city law that can land owners fines of up to $500.
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