Wednesday, September 24, 2014
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Second-snowiest winter ever in Philadelphia

Gallery: Second-snowiest winter ever in Philadelphia

A St. Patrick's Day snow that began falling overnight welcomed commuters to a slippery top 'o the morning and led to school delays and closures, mostly in South Jersey.

The snow also made this winter the second-snowiest ever in Philadelphia.

Snowfall totals and forecast

The National Weather Service said 4.5 inches of snow was recorded at Philadelphia International Airport today. That amount moved this winter's total -- now at 67.4 inches -- past the 1995-1996 season's 65.5 inches as the second-highest amount ever.

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  • Bolaris: Snow amounts to be heavy to nothing
  • This winter's snowfall total is now second only to 2009-2010. 

    The snow overnight and this morning hit South Jersey and Delaware hardest, however. Parts of Cape May County were reporting more than 10 inches, and multiple places in Atlantic and Gloucester counties saw 5 to 8 inches.

    The highest totals reported by early afternoon included 10.5 inches in Wildwood Crest, 10 inches in Dennisville and 9.8 inches in Woodbine, all in Cape May County.

    Several spots in Delaware reported 7-plus inches, with 9 inches recorded in Lewes.

    With temperatures hovering right around freezing, with a peek of sun possible, most of the snow could be gone from roadways by this afternoon's rush hour.

    Read a full forecast for the day here.

    The St. Patrick's Day snow is unusual for Philadelphia -- since 1892, measureable snowfalls have been recorded in the city just five other times on March 17, ranging from 0.1 inch in 1992 to 3.5 inches in 1892, according to the National Weather Service.

    Trace amounts of snow have been recorded in 14 other years, most recently in 2007.

    Schools

    Philadelphia public and parochial schools will remain open with the usual start times.

    However, some large school systems, such as Cherry Hill in Camden County, were opening late. Multiple schools districts in Atlantic and Cape May counties are closed.

    Transit

    The snow was causing slippery road conditions, and speed restrictions are in place on a number of major highways and bridges in New Jersey.

    Police were reporting some crashes throughout the area, including one fatal wreck on Interstate 676 at the base of the Walt Whitman Bridge in Camden, though it wasn't immediately known if the weather played a role in that accident.

    New Jersey State Police said the one-car fatal crash was reported shortly after 7 a.m. The driver was taken to Cooper University Hospital, and pronounced dead there at about 8 a.m. 

    The crash remains under investigation, and troopers closed westbound lanes of I-676 in the area to investigate.

    By 8:30 a.m., 85 crashes had been reported in New Jersey State Police patrol areas, officials said.

    In Delaware, a Department of Transportation snow plow driver suffered minor injuries when the plow he was driving on Interstate 95 in Wilmington overturned. Delaware State Police said the plow's passenger-side tires ran into a ditch, causing the vehicle the strike a guardrail and overturn.

    The speed limit has been reduced to 45 mph on the New Jersey Turnpike between the Delaware Memorial Bridge and the Garden State Parkway in Woodbridge Township.

    The speed limit has been lowered to 35 mph on both the Atlantic City Expressway and the Garden State Parkway from the highway's southern end to exit 80 in Beachwood.

    On the Benjamin Franklin and Betsy Ross bridges, the speed limit is reduced to 35 mph; the Walt Whitman and Commodore Barry bridges have a 25 mph speed restriction in place.

    SEPTA said riders should prepare for delays of up to 15 minutes on Regional Rail trains due to weather conditions.

    Bus routes 55, 90 and 95 are facing detours because of the weather. 

    Dozens of flights to and from Philadelphia International Airport have been delayed or canceled.

    Government

    Courts in Atlantic, Cape May and Gloucester counties are opening late.

    Government facilities in Atlantic County are opening at 10 a.m.

    There's a two-hour delay for non-essential employees at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.

    Check back for details as they develop.


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

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