Philadelphia prepares for major snowfall

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 Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney discusses the city's preparations for a major snowstorm expected to hit Friday night. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney discusses the city's preparations for a major snowstorm expected to hit Friday night. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

State officials are warning of an approaching winter storm expected to cut a path through Philadelphia, dumping more than a foot of snow on some parts of the region. 

The snowfall is expected to begin Friday night, and really pick up after 10 p.m., and end around Sunday morning.

“If you don’t have to go out, don’t,” cautioned Rick Flinn, director of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency.

State meteorologist Jeff Jumper said snow accumulations over 12 inches are expected in the southern half of the state. The Gettysburg area and southeastern Pennsylvania are likely to see the most snow, he said.

“The closer you live to Philadelphia, the better chance you have for the higher snow totals” and stronger wind gusts, Jumper said. “But again, this is a very large storm and it will impact from the western border of Pennsylvania to the eastern border of Pennsylvania.”

Earlier in the day, Wolf declared a state of emergency in anticipation of the storm, saying it would allow the state to get resources where they need to be more quickly.

The state officials urged residents to take common-sense safety precautions, such as putting fresh batteries in flashlights, making sure cellphones are charged so they can call for help during power outages, keeping first-aid kits handy and ensuring their families have enough food.

Wolf, a Democrat, urged residents to monitor weather forecasts.

“We all know we cannot control the weather, but we can be prepared for whatever the weather brings us,” the governor said.

In Philadelphia, officials are bracing themselves for the worst. 

The heavy weather comes at an inconvenient time — a special Saturday trash collection had been  scheduled because of the Monday holiday.

Mayor Jim Kenney said Thursday evening that the city will forgo that collection, in favor of getting the plows on the streets as soon as there is enough snow.

“When it comes to the major roads, they will be done first and the airport needs to be done first,” said Kenney. “We will get to the smaller streets as we have done in the past, we have smaller vehicles that are capable of doing that.”

Emergency Management head Sam Phillips said she expects to declare a snow emergency and activate the city’s emergency operations center.

“That activation will most likely begin with a partial activation followed by a full activation Saturday morning,” she said.

The mayor urged residents to help one another during the storm expected to bring about a foot of snow to the region. And he urged motorists not to try to save shoveled parking spaces.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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