Morning Headlines: The Blizzard Starts Tonight

The latest on the storm to come, Fattah's deepening woes, and the Eagles continue to rebuild.

The National Weather Service's latest snowfall prediction map as of 5 a.m. Friday

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

Good morning, Philadelphia. Here’s what you need to know:

We’re going to get a lot of snow. The only question is, How much?

While the forecasts say we won’t get hit as hard as the folks farther south on I-95, Philly’s still in the path of a major snowstorm. Yesterday’s blizzard watch was upgraded to a blizzard warning for the region this morning, and the latest forecast map from the National Weather Service calls for anywhere from 12 to 18 inches of snow to fall on Philly by the time the storm clears out early on Sunday morning. The NWS also says its forecast confidence has increased. Downashore, expect less snow, but strong northeast winds up to 60 mph and coastal flooding. Inland, wind gusts could range from 25 to 45 mph. You still have time to stock up on essentials if you haven’t yet done so; the first flakes aren’t expected until this evening — but keep your eyes and ears open for updates as the day progresses.

The city and state are preparing for a snow emergency.

Gov. Tom Wolf declared a state of emergency in Pennsylvania yesterday afternoon (CBS Philly has details in its report). Mayor Jim Kenney hasn’t yet declared a snow emergency in the City of Philadelphia, but as we reported yesterday afternoon, he’s likely to declare one today (he’s got a press conference scheduled for noon). City road crews are already brining the streets in advance of the storm. Once the snow emergency is declared, you will need to have snow tires or chains on your car if you plan to drive, and if your car is parked on a designated snow emergency route, you will need to move it. (More on transportation below.) Also, make sure your pets are someplace warm for the storm’s duration — you’ll be breaking the law if you don’t.

Now, what about getting around in the storm?

Our advice: Don’t go out unless you absolutely have to. But if you have to, the answer to the question “Will I be able to get where I’m going?” is “It depends on where and when.” If you planned to fly out of town, forget it: while Philadelphia International Airport will remain open, the largest airline serving it, American Airlines, cancelled all flights yesterday afternoon, and others have followed suit since, with more likely to follow as the day progresses — we recommend following the airport’s Twitter (UPDATE: PHL has just announced that all Saturday flights have been canceled). As for getting around locally, SEPTA will do what it usually does in a snowstorm, which is keep its buses and trains running as long as possible and give riders at least an hour’s advance notice of a shutdown. We’ll have more details later this morning, after SEPTA briefs the media on its storm service plans. If you must hit the road, PennDOT advises that you be prepared for the worst (it offers advice on how to prepare here).

Chaka Fattah’s troubles grow on the legal and political fronts.

It looks like both his lawyers and the voters could be bailing on U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah. According to a report in The Legal Intelligencer (registration required), Fattah’s attorneys have filed a motion in Federal District Court in Philadelphia asking to be removed as legal counsel in his criminal trial because he hasn’t paid them. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that the lawyers asked that their motion be kept confidential, but U.S. District Judge Harvey Bartle disagreed. The same day the lawyers filed their motion, the city’s Democratic establishment formally endorsed his re-election bid for his Congressional seat, the Philadelphia Tribune reports, but that might not be enough to save him: a poll conducted by Public Policy Polling for state Rep. Dwight Evans shows Evans in the lead in the Second Congressional District race, as Citified Insider Mustafa Rashed reported Tuesday.

The Eagles continue their rebuilding effort.

The overhaul of the Philadelphia Eagles continues after this year’s downer of a season, with the team making more efforts to lure and retain new talent. SB Nation reports that the team has made re-signing offensive tackle Lane Johnson, tight end Zach Ertz and defensive end Vinny Curry a top priority in the offseason, while Birds 24/7 reports that former Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator John DeFilippo has been named quarterback coach. But what quarterback will he be coaching? Will Sam Bradford stick around for DeFilippo to coach him? called free agent Bradford’s request for a $25-million-per-year contract “ridiculous.” Birds 24/7 looks at the Eagles’ QB options if Bradford leaves the nest.

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