Snow delays PHL flights; roads dicey tonight

Variable road conditions are seen shortly after the snowfall Saturday, Jan. 25, 2013. (Photo: Vance Lehmkuhl / Staff)

Just days after a storm dumped 13.5 inches of snow on Philadelphia, crippling the city and leading officials to declare a state of emergency, more winter weather is moving through the area.

Jim Bunker, observing program leader at the National Weather Service in Mount Holly, said an inch of snow had accumulated by 2 p.m. Saturday. Up to two inches was expected to fall by the time the storm started to taper off around 5 p.m.

The storm might make travel difficult in Philadelphia Saturday afternoon, according to Bunker. “There is the potential for icy, snow-packed conditions on the roads,” he said. “If anything has melted, it can refreeze, so people need to be careful driving this afternoon and take it slow and easy, especially if they encounter low visibilities.”

Last week's snowstorm marked the first time since records started being kept 140 years ago that three six-inch or more snowstorms fell in Philadelphia before Feb. 1. Philadelphia’s seasonal snow total as of Saturday afternoon stood at 34 inches, more snow than has fallen on the city in the past two winters combined and well over the city's average seasonal snowfall for the years 1973 through 2013, which is about 21 inches, according to the National Weather Service.

Due to the storm, flights arriving to the Philadelphia International Airport were being delayed an average of two hours and 11 minutes Saturday afternoon, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. Air traffic destined for the Newark International Airport was not being allowed to depart until at or after 3 p.m. Officials recommended travelers check with their individual airlines for more information on delays.

A SEPTA spokeswoman said the agency did not anticipate any major systemwide transit delays due to the weather.

Temperatures were expected to remain low through the weekend, further hampering the city’s cleanup efforts. Mayor Michael Nutter pointed out in a news briefing on last week's storm that the single-digit temperatures forecast for the days following the snowfall rendered the Streets Department's salting and brining process less effective.

Bunker said Philadelphia may see temperatures rise to the mid-30s Monday but that they were expected to again fall toward the afternoon and remain in the teens through Wednesday. The weather may warm slightly by late next week. “We’ll see a little bit of moderation and temperatures in the upper 20s on Thursday,” Bunker said. “Friday, it looks like we’ll continue that moderation and be back up in the low 30s.”

Contact Alex Wigglesworth at 215-854-2305 or Follow @phila_lex on Twitter.

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