Freezing rain, thunder hit Philadelphia region

After snow, sleet and slush have plagued the Philadelphia region throughout February, the area got a dose of new weather woes this morning: Freezing rain, rain, strong winds and even rare winter thunder.

Freezing rain fell hard in the city's northwestern suburbs this morning, causing icy conditions in many places.

Officials reported that roads in Chester County iced over rapidly, and the ice contributed to a pile-up on Route 82 in Coatesville. Scattered other crashes were reported throughout the region, though no major injuries were reported.

The precipitation turned to plain rain as the storm moved into Philadelphia and New Jersey, with downpours and thunder occurring at times. 

The National Weather Service warned that hail and wind gusts of up to 40 mph were possible, along with "occasional intense cloud to ground lightning," were accompanying the storm.

Several dozen flights into and out of Philadelphia International Airport were facing delays due to weather conditions.

The thunder and lightning -- unusual events in winter -- appeared to take the area by surprise, with "#thunderice," "thunder," "lightning," "thunderstorm," "shook," and even "earthquake" (though one didn't happen) all trending on social media in Philadelphia.

The weather service said up to a tenth of an inch of ice could hit some parts of the area.

For the rest of the day, forecasters say to expect rain showers, particularly before 2 p.m., and isolated thunderstorms. The high temperature is expected to reach 49 degrees, a significant warm-up from the highs in mid- to high-20s common last week.

Contact Emily Babay at 215-854-2153 or Follow @emilybabay on Twitter.

Contact the Breaking News Desk at 215-854-2443 or Follow @phillynews on Twitter.