Wolf Administration Defends Response to Storm That Left Hundreds Stranded

Members of the Temple women's gymnastics team stuck on Pennsylvania turnpike

Members of the Temple women’s gymnastics team show off their provisions. They were stuck on the Pennsylvania Turnpike for more than a day. (Photo: @TUWG)

The administration of Gov. Tom Wolf is defending its response to the storm that left hundreds of travelers stranded overnight on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

More than 500 cars, trucks and buses — including vehicles carrying Duquesne University men’s basketball team and the Temple University women’s gymnastics squad — got stuck on the turnpike Friday as the storm set in, with snowfall reaching near three feet in some areas.

“Despite the historic and daunting conditions of the storm, there were no fatalities or major injuries … due to the response of local and state responders who worked tirelessly to check on vehicles and keep drivers safe,” Mark Smith, a special assistant to the governor, said in a Sunday afternoon blog post.

He added: “Considering the low temperatures, heavy snowfall and number of vehicles trapped, this is a true accomplishment for those first responders, many of whom were from fire departments and other local agencies.” Read more »

WATCH: Philadelphians Throw Snowballs at TV Reporters

Several Philadelphians entertained themselves during the storm this weekend by throwing snowballs at television reporters.

Really! The first to be hit with a snowball was NBC10’s Lauren Mayk, at 11:15 on Friday night at 15th and Sansom streets. She responded beautifully, taking the snowball hit in stride. NBC10 and Mayk, who joined NBC10 last year and used to write for the Inquirer’s South Jersey bureau, declined to talk to Philadelphia magazine about the segment.

The next snowball attack came at 1:39 a.m. at Dilworth Park, when two Philadelphians ran in front of the camera and one of them hit CNN’s Sara Ganim with a snowball. She did not take the snowball throw as smoothly as Mayk did, but she eventually recovered to finish her segment. CNN and Ganim did not respond to a request for comment. (A promise: If anyone ever attacks me with a snowball in the course of my reporting, I will take any and all interview requests.) Read more »

Sunday Storm Update: Hello, Sunshine!

after the snow

Photo by Joel Mathis.

After two feet or so of snow, the Great Blizzard of 2016 appears to be over. The mess isn’t.

Dawn brought a bright blue sky and temps still freezing cold in the twenties, though Accuweather predicted the high would hit 31 degrees later today. The National Weather Service says: “For Sunday, sunny and dry weather is expected with high temperatures in the lower to middle 30s. This will lead to snowmelt and ponding of water. This water will re-freeze Sunday night when low temperatures plunge into the teens region-wide. Untreated roadways and walkways, particularly bridges and overpasses, will become slippery. This may impact the Monday morning commute.”

It’s important to note: In Philadelphia, the snow emergency remains in effect. Read more »

How Much More Snow Is Philly Going to Get?

Snowfall forecast - National Weather Service

The final snowfall forecast from the National Weather Service for this storm.

The good news: The snow is eventually going to end. The bad news: It’s not going to be over until very late tonight.

The National Weather Service just released its latest update on the snowfall. The city of Philadelphia will continue to get snow for the next few hours, with the weather finally ending sometime between 9 and midnight. Philadelphia will have perhaps two feet of snow by the time the storm ends.

The National Weather Service, in its 5 p.m. storm briefing, says snowfall in the region will be from 18 to 30 inches, with some areas getting as much as three feet of snow. The South Jersey shore will get moderate to major flooding. Wind gusts of 55 miles per hour are expected at the shore, with gusts of 30 to 45 miles per hour inland.

Measurements taken at 1 p.m. show Philadelphia has received 17.7 inches of snow, among the top-10 biggest snowstorms of all time in the city. Read more »

Winter Storm Jonas: The Saturday Morning Update

Snowfall - Philadelphia - Mt. Holly - forecast map

The latest weather forecast map from the National Weather Service’s Mt. Holly bureau.

About 15 inches of snow fell overnight in Philadelphia — and as of 10:45 a.m. Saturday it’s still coming down. By the end of the storm, we’ll have more than 20 inches.

About an inch or two of snow is falling per hour, per the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency. The snow is expected to taper off a little bit in the late afternoon, and should stop falling by very late this evening.

Mayor Jim Kenney and city officials briefed the media this morning. Plowing will continue through the weekend, and Kenney urged residents to stay off the roads unless they absolutely need to drive.

“I just want to thank everyone for heeding the warnings that we’ve given,” Kenney said. “People have stayed off the roads generally. … Look after your neighbors, look after those who are shut in. Stay home. Stay inside. Enjoy your house. Re-arrange your furniture, do whatever.”

Cars continue to be towed from snow emergency routes; Kenney said they were pretty much cleared at one point but that some cars were “creeping back in.” If your car gets towed from a snow emergency route, call 215-686-SNOW to find out where it was taken. Read more »

Philly Could See Up to Two Feet of Snow This Weekend

The National Weather Service’s latest snowfall prediction map as of 4 p.m. Friday.

The National Weather Service’s latest snowfall prediction map as of 5 p.m. Friday.

According to the reliable folks at Phillywx.com Facebook Group, the storm looks like it’s going to hit Philadelphia a little earlier than we expected. Their latest estimate is between 5 and 8 p.m. in the city, and even earlier south of the city. NBC10 meteorologist Glenn “Hurricane” Schwartz is predicting it will start snowing around 6 or 7 p.m. Snow is already falling in the Washington, D.C., area. It’s coming, people. 

As such, the conditions could start to get slippery on the roads earlier than many people expected. Drivers should use caution while traveling this evening (and all weekend). Drive slowly. Use your windshield wipers. The road might look wet, but it could just be ice. Read more »

Kenney: Move Cars Off Snow Emergency Routes Or Get Towed

Mayor Jim Kenney - snow press conference - Philadelphia

If your car is parked on a snow emergency route, the city has one message for you: Move it.

The city is declaring a snow emergency at 9 p.m., which means emergency routes must be cleared of parked cars at that time. If your car isn’t moved by 9 tonight, the city will ticket it and tow it to another location. Snow emergency routes are listed on signs, as well as on the Streets Department’s website. There will be 400 plows and 600 workers salting and plowing the streets this weekend.

“Please do not park on the snow emergency routes,” PPA Executive Director Vince Fenerty said. “We don’t want to tow you. But in the interest of keeping the city open, we have to do our jobs.” Starting at 5 p.m., the PPA is offering $5-a-day parking at all of its garages. That will continue until at least 7 a.m. on Monday morning. Cars left on snow emergency routes will be issued a $125 ticket and towed to an alternate location. If your car does get towed, call 215-686-SNOW to find out where it is. Read more »

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