Snow emergency to end at 6 p.m. Wednesday

After an extensive all-night snow removal effort involving more than 700 workers and 300 vehicles, Mayor Nutter announced that the city’s snow emergency will end officially at 6 p.m. Wednesday night, allowing people to resume parking on some 100 miles of snow emergency routes.

Nutter said that the city work force ­– joined by private contractors called in to help with the 13-plus-inch snowfall – had done an exemplary job overnight clearing roads and dealing with other aspects of the storm.

City Streets Commissioner David J. Perri estimated that by 6 p.m. Wednesday, snow would be cleared off all primary and secondary roads and 80 percent of the city's tighter, tertiary streets, where parked cars and the narrowness of the roadway makes snow removal much more time consuming, taking up to an hour for every block.

The unusual combination of a heavy snow, over 12 inches, followed by single-digit temperatures, is likely to happen just once every 30 years, Perri said, citing a study by a city consultant.

Nutter reported snowfall measures of 13.5 inches at the airport and 14 inches at the city’s Emergency Operations Center at 3rd and Spring Garden – the first time in city history, the mayor said, that Philadelphia had endured three snowstorms of six inches or more before Feb. 1.

The toughest aspect from the Streets Department’s perspective was the frigid temperatures accompanying the storm, dipping far below the 20-degree mark where the city’s salt and brining operations lose their effectiveness.

Nutter said the city government  would resume normal operations Thursday morning after non-essential workers were sent home Tuesday afternoon and given the day off Wednesday. Trash collections will also resume Thursday – though a day behind normal schedules because of the Martin Luther King holiday on Monday.

Among a dozen other storm-related issues, the mayor urged citizens to continue using caution in dealing with the snow – driving safely if they have to use the roadways, and shoveling carefully if they have driveways and sidewalks to clear. Those working outside should drink plenty of water, Nutter said, and try to push snow rather than lift it, to spare them from potential back injuries.

No good deed goes unpunished. “Mayor Nut is giving snow shoveling lessons at a news conference. WTH?” tweeted City Councilman Jim Kenney, who is among those interested in succeeding Nutter as mayor.

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