City government shut down tomorrow

Mayor Nutter, who earlier declared a snow emergency beginning at 8 p.m. tonight, announced that the city government will shut down tomorrow.

All nonessential employees have Thursday off, and the scheduled City Council meeting is canceled. The School District of Philadelphia and diocesan school are closed.

"This is highly unusual weather," said Nutter, noting that the 43.4 inches of snow recorded this winter is almost double what a normal accumulation would be at this point in the year. 

If the storm beginning tonight drops 6 inches on Philadelphia, Nutter said, it will be the fourth storm to reach that mark this year. That's a record. Another 6 inches would also push the cumulative total snowfall for the season into the city's top five of all time. 

The Streets Department is deploying 700 workers and 400 pieces of equipment to combat the newest storm, which could last 24 hours.

"This is going to be heavy, wet snow," Nutter said. "Trees and power lines are in even greater danger of being brought down."

All vehicles parked in snow emergency routes, which are posted, must be moved by 8 p.m., when the city will begin towing or ticketing cars. 

The city is offering discounted $5 parking at several downtown garages to help people clear the emergency routes. The garages are at JFK Boulevard and 16th Street, Market and 5th, Ludlow and 10th, Filbert and 10th, Filbert and 8th, Sansom and 2nd.