Snow cleanup underway in Philly region after long drought

Highway agencies around the region are working to remove the snow and ice from the roadways to keep them passable for drivers.

A person crossing the street in front of Philadelphia City Hall with snow on the ground.

File photo: A mix of ice and snow makes travel treacherous in the Philadelphia area. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

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A massive operation is underway throughout the Philadelphia region to clear roadways from the overnight snow.

In southeast Pennsylvania alone, there are 400 trucks plowing and laying down material to keep the roads from freezing over. PennDOT’s Brad Rudolph said their trucks were running into some issues Tuesday morning because of the high number of crashes reported.

“I think we’re seeing some rain, more in the city, and some light snow north and west of the I-95 corridor.”

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He said crews “are continuing to run their routes, clearing travel lanes” and will continue to do so through Wednesday morning’s commute.

Temperatures are expected to drop into the mid-teens overnight Tuesday with wind chills near zero, according to the National Weather Service office in Mount Holly.

A person walking in Love Park in Philadelphia in the snow
A mix of ice and snow makes travel treacherous in the Philadelphia area. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

It’s not just the highways that need to be cleared — the city of Philadelphia requires residents to shovel a three-foot wide path along sidewalks after precipitation has concluded.

Business owners are also working to clear parking lots and salt walkways so no one slips as they are going to patronize their stores.

“Definitely if you have any slush right now, try and get rid of it before it gets cold tonight because it’s going to be rock hard by tomorrow morning,” said NWS Meteorologist Ray Martin.

In New Jersey, Camden County used more than 100 pieces of snow removal equipment to clean streets and roads.

Philadelphia received just over 3 inches of snow, among the highest in the area. Rain is hitting points south, and to the north and west there is freezing sleet and ice that was expected to end just in time for the afternoon rush.

A person walking in the snow in the street in front of City Hall in Philadelphia
A mix of ice and snow makes travel treacherous in the Philadelphia area. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

While snow isn’t in the forecast again until Thursday evening, temperatures aren’t predicted to rise much above freezing this week.

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“It’s going to feel like winter the next few days, so definitely prepare, bundle up, dress in layers, try and limit your time out in the cold,” Martin said.

There have been more than three dozen cancellations at Philadelphia International Airport and a few hundred flights delayed due to the weather.

PHL’s Heather Redfern said the storm swept across the country, causing delays in other cities that resulted in a ripple effect.

“Dallas, northern New York, Nashville, Ohio. Those are the flights that we’re seeing canceled and delayed heading to Philadelphia today. So it’s important that everybody, no matter where they’re headed or if they’re coming to pick somebody up at the airport, check with their airlines.”

Many schools opened late or went to virtual learning to deal with the winter weather.

Philadelphia’s court system also shut down for the day because of the weather.

WHYY News reporter Cory Sharber contributed to this report.

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