Philadelphia declares another snow emergency ahead of winter storm

A few inches of snow coat the ground in Philadelphia

A few inches of snow coat the ground in Philadelphia on Feb. 1, 2021. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Ahead of a winter storm coming Thursday that’s expected to bring snow and icy conditions to the Delaware Valley, the City of Philadelphia is declaring another snow emergency, taking effect at 6 a.m. on Feb. 18.

During a snow emergency, all parked cars must be moved from snow emergency routes to make away for plowing. A map of emergency routes citywide can be found here. Drivers should avoid parking their car too close to the street corner, as it could get in the way of snowplows.

Vehicles that are left on emergency routes after the emergency declaration goes into effect will be towed to a parking spot nearby. If you need assistance finding your car, do not call 911. Call 215-686-SNOW and press option 4.

Emergency routes are prioritized for plowing, followed by primary roads, secondary roads, and then residential streets.

The forecast will vary throughout the day but expect at least a few inches of heavy, wet snow citywide from Thursday to Friday morning.

The snow crew will continue operations until it’s deemed safe for travel, said Philadelphia Managing Director Tumar Alexander.

“This storm is expected to bring heavy snow and mild winds. Residents should be mindful of fallen tree limbs and possible power and signal outages,” Alexander said. “Our goal is to make roads passable and return the city back to normal operations as quickly as possible.”

The Streets Department team brined roads with salt on Wednesday, and are mobilizing over 400 pieces of equipment. There are 20,000 tons of salt available as needed while the storm progresses Thursday.

The city also launched PlowPHL on Wednesday, which will allow residents to track the status of the city’s salting and plowing operations.

A few other reminders on Philly snow etiquette:

  • Do not shovel snow into the streets. It is illegal, unsafe, and makes work more difficult for Streets Department employees on snow detail. The penalty ranges from $50 to $300.
  • Your cleared sidewalk path should be at least 36 inches wide within six hours of the end of the storm.
  • Snow from neighborhood sewer drains should be cleared as well to allow for draining.

Trash and recycling collections are postponed for tomorrow, but collections will resume on Friday. Delays are expected.

Wednesday’s trash collections, which were postponed already to Thursday because of President’s Day, are now postponed until Friday. Thursday’s collections are postponed until Saturday.

For residents whose trash collection is normally on Friday, the city asks they hold their materials until Friday, Feb. 26. Residents with rear driveways should expect some delays as ice and snow can make it difficult for the trucks to navigate.

The sanitation centers will be closed on Feb. 18 as crews perform snow duty. The centers will reopen with normal hours on Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The city’s access centers for Philadelphia school students will be closed. Students who attend access centers should contact their school regarding attendance.

The city’s COVID-19 vaccine clinics will also be closed. If you had a scheduled appointment for Thursday, you will be contacted to reschedule with the Health Department. The city-run testing sites will remain open.

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