Winter Storm Jonas: The Saturday Morning Update

About 15 inches of snow has fallen in Philadelphia so far. We're expected to get more than 20 inches by the time this is over.

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.

Washington Square West - Philadelphia - snow - 2016

Photo | Dan McQuade

Once the snow stops, residents must clear a three-foot pathway on their sidewalks. They are urged not to throw snow in the street, as this could complicate plowing efforts. Kenney said he hopes residents will try to clear storm drains, as that will help clear the streets once it warms up and the snow begins to melt.

SEPTA continues to run only the Market-Frankford El and the Broad Street Subway, which is operating close to or on schedule. Trolleys and trains are not in service, but they continue to run to keep the rails clear.

Two important numbers to keep in mind:

  • Project HOME, 215-232-1984. Anyone who sees a homeless person sleeping on the street during the storm should call this number. They’ll be asked for a description of the person and the location.
  • ACCT, 267-385-3800. It is against the law to leave an animal tied up outside in the snow or extreme cold. There is a $500 fine for residents who do this. People who see animals tied up outside in the show should call ACCT.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf also urged residents to stay off the roads if possible so PennDOT can continue to clear roads throughout the storm.

“The safety of Pennsylvanians is my top priority, as many areas across Pennsylvania have been hit hard by this storm, which features heavy snow falling at a fast rate,” Tom Wolf said. “First responders from multiple state, county and local agencies are working together to address issues and ensure people are safe. Hazardous conditions will persist throughout the day and we are urging people to stay off the roadways for their own safety and to allow PennDOT to clear the snow.”

There’s also a huge backup on I-76 Westbound near the Allegheny Mountain Tunnel. Trucks were unable to climb the hill; once they stalled, traffic became backed up. This has also prevented PennDOT from clearing snow on the turnpike in the area. The state says more than 135 first responders are on the scene, with the Turnpike Commission refueling cars that are running low. There is a warming station at the Bedford exit for drivers who are stranded. The National Guard has been deployed. The Duquesne men’s basketball team is stranded on the turnpike, as is the Temple gymnastics team:

PennDOT has reduced the speed limit to 45 miles per hour on a number of Pennsylvania highways, including I-95, I-676, I-76 and I-476. Motorcycles and RVs are currently banned from highways in the state.

“PennDOT has more than 2,200 trucks statewide to battle winter weather and many of them have been working since before the storm to treat the roads, but travel is still hazardous in many areas and should be avoided if possible,” PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards said. “The high accumulations coupled with strong winds will make visibility and road conditions very difficult.”

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