Winter storm: Take two

Listen 2:09

Updated: 6:05 p.m.

A late-season nor’easter walloped the region today, dumping up to a foot of heavy, wet snow in some areas, crippling roadways, toppling trees, snapping power lines, and leaving thousands without power.

Winter Storm Quinn came just four days after another large winter storm devastated some neighborhoods and left thousands without power — some of whom hadn’t gotten power restored before snow started falling again this morning.

This storm had one extra, unexpected meteorological quirk: Thundersnow. Thunder boomed throughout the afternoon, as warm air spun into the storm from the southeast.

That was bad news for one South Jersey teacher, who got struck by lightning while she was on afternoon bus duty today at Manchester Middle School in Manchester, Ocean County. The woman was holding an umbrella at about 2:30 p.m. when she was hit, police Capt. Todd Malland said. She was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. A second woman sharing the umbrella but not holding it escaped uninjured.

As conditions worsened, authorities urged people to stay off the roads. Today’s snowfall reduced visibility to less than a quarter of a mile, with bands of heavy snow falling at a rate of two inches an hour, according to the National Weather Service.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf mobilized almost 500 National Guard members to assist emergency workers in eastern counties that lie in the storm’s direct path.

The City of Philadelphia, Delaware County, Montgomery County and New Jersey have all issued emergency warnings.

A winter storm warning will remain in effect through 3 a.m. Thursday.

Six women traveled from Lancaster to Philly today to see the Flower Show.

“It was phenomenal at the flower show because there were no lines so we got to see everything without fighting crowds,” said Ronnie Aston, of Lancaster.

But their train home was delayed an hour and 45 minutes.

“This hasn’t been bad, the delay,” Aston said. “It’s a little bit of a nuisance, but we’re getting home.”

The women passed the time by going through the alphabet and trying to name a flower that started with each letter. After that they named animals, including jackalope and iguana.

“We were hoping to get stuck here,” Aston joked. “We were hoping to go to the Marriott for a room.”

SEPTA Regional Rail trains are running with delays on a Saturday schedule, bus routes are operating with delays, and the subway lines will run all-night service later tonight.

Massachusetts resident Kyle Goodell was waiting on a delayed train to Harrisburg in 30th Street Station this afternoon. His 12-hour journey today started in Massachusetts, with a bus and another train.

“My bus was cancelled so I had to get creative to catch another one,” Goodell said.

The heavy snow has brought down trees throughout the region, forcing authorities to close roads and leaving many without power. In Montgomery County, for example, authorities reported more than 10,400 power outages, 40 disabled vehicles, 17 accidents, and 10 obstructed roadways, as of 3 p.m.

As for utilities, PECO is reporting 73,000 customers out of power; PSE&G in New Jersey, 9,000; Atlantic City Electric, 9,000; and DelMarva Power in Delaware, 700.

Here are the resources you need to get updated information as the storm progresses throughout the afternoon.

Transit

Driving? PennDOT has temporarily reduced the speed limit to 45 mph on several roadways including I-76, I-95, I-676 and Route 1.

The Delaware Memorial Bridge closed briefly today to allow emergency crews to clear 10 disabled tractor trailers. It’s now reopened.

In Princeton, New Jersey, police reported near-whiteout conditions on roads and multiple trees down.

SEPTA regional rail lines will operate on a Saturday schedule with enhanced Wilmington/Newark Line service to Newark and Churchmans Crossing Stations. The Cynwyd Line will not be in service. Service on the West Trenton Line was suspended around 2 p.m., due to a downed tree near the Trevose Station. By 4 p.m., it was restored — although delayed — just in time for the Trenton line service to get suspended due to signal power issues. For information on bus and trolley routes, visit SEPTA’s website.

Some bus routes have been suspended, while others are on a limited schedule today, with delays and detours. More here.

All New Jersey Transit bus service will be suspended starting at 4:30 p.m. today.

The Broad Street and Market-Frankford lines will operate with all-night service Wednesday evening. SEPTA recommends traveling via the BSL and MFL during a winter storm.

PATCO will run on its “snow schedule” from midnight through 2 p.m. Wednesday. As part of the modified schedule, there will be no express trains, no Woodcrest Local trains, 6- to 10-minute westbound service during morning rush hour, 10- to 12-minute eastbound service during morning rush hour and 15-minute day base service.

Amtrak train schedules will be modified today and some Acela Express, Northeast Regional, Keystone Service and Empire Service trains have been cancelled.

NJ transit is running on a severe weather schedule. The Northeast Corridor line service is suspended between Trenton and Jersey Avenue in both directions due to Amtrak overhead wire problems in Trenton. More here.

You can check the location of local plow trucks, cameras on major roadways and winter road conditions at 511PA.com.

The Philadelphia International Airport temporarily halted all flight operations at 3 p.m. today. Numerous flights have been canceled. Airport officials urge travelers to check the status of their flight with airlines before heading to the airport.

Parking

All parked cars must be moved off snow emergency routes for plowing. To make sure you are not parked on a snow emergency route, visit http://www.philadelphiastreets.com/highways/snow/emergency-routes/.

When moving your car, park as far from the corner of the street as possible; vehicles parked too close to the corner impede snow plows trying to turn corners.

If your car is moved, call 215-686-SNOW to find it.

The Philadelphia Parking Authority will be offering a flat 24-hour $5 parking rate at the following Center City garages.

To receive the discounted $5 rate, customers should bring their ticket and pay at the PPA Management Office in each garage.

Starting at 8 a.m., Wednesday, meters, kiosks and time limits on residential blocks will not be enforced until the snow emergency is lifted.

Closures

Pennsylvania has closed all state buildings in Philadelphia, as well as courts and office.

Delaware Go. John Carney announced that all state offices in New Castle County closed for the day at noon today.

In New Jersey, Camden County offices closed at 12:30 p.m. today for non-essential employees.

Philadelphia public schools and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia schools are closed. Here’s a complete list of school closings in the region.

Newark announced at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday that city offices would close at noon today, and Unicity bus service will end at 1 p.m.

All critical court services — including emergency protection from abuse, bail acceptance, and preliminary arraignments — are expected to remain operational.

Sanitation and recycling collections are suspended. Residents who normally have collections on Wednesday are asked to hold their trash and recycling until Thursday. Thursday and Friday collections will also be delayed one day.

Rutgers Camden campus is closed today.

Temple University U.S. campuses are closed today.

Saint Joseph’s University is closed today.

Drexel University’s University City, Center City and Queen Lane campuses are closed today.

The University of Pennsylvania is closed today.

Institutions

A handful of museums have closed for the day, including The Museum of the American Revolution, The National Museum of Jewish American History, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Rodin Museum, the Barnes Foundation and Mutter Museum.

The Philadelphia Zoo will also be closed all day on Wednesday.

The Franklin Institute, Academy of Natural Science, the Constitution Center, the Independence Visitor Center and the Independence National Park Service are all closed.

The Franklin Institute, Academy of Natural Science, National Liberty Museum, the Constitution Center, the Independence Visitor Center and the Independence National Park Service are all closed.

The Free Library system is also closed today.

Eastern State Penitentiary is closed today, and will reopen for tours at 10 a.m. on Thursday.

The Philadelphia Flower Show will remain open all day on Wednesday.

Need Help?

TREES If a tree falls during a storm and poses a safety threat, call 911. Otherwise, call 311. A crew of arborists from Philadelphia Parks and Recreation are on call to respond to tree emergencies, and they will come out to remove the hazard and any part of the tree that is an immediate risk to public safety. In the event that a tree has fallen on electrical wires, call PECO’s emergency line: 1-800-841-4141.

311 The Philly 311 Call Center will remain open during normal business hours Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. to take calls for non-emergencies.

WATER The Philadelphia Water Department’s customer contact center 215-685-6300 will be open. Citizens are encouraged to shovel snow from the fronts of fire hydrants and storm drains on their block to allow snow melt to drain to the city sewer system.

HOMELESS OUTREACH The Office of Homeless Services is continuing its Code Blue. Philadelphia’s homeless outreach teams will patrol the streets in greater numbers, urging homeless people to come to local shelters. People do not need identification to enter Code Blue shelters or cafes from the street, and they can remain indoors throughout the duration of the Code Blue. If you are concerned about someone who is homeless, call the Outreach Coordination Center at 215-232-1984 at any time. Outreach is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  First responders can also transport people to shelter for their own safety.

PET SAFETY Citizens should contact the ACCT Philly hotline (267-385-3800) if they observe a dog or other pet outside during extreme cold. It is against city ordinance to leave dogs outside in extreme cold without proper shelter, and owners can be fined up to $500.

WHYY’s Joe Hernandez and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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