A powerful nor’easter that was expected to dump mostly rain on Philadelphia suddenly turned into snow and wreaked havoc on the region. High winds toppled trees that blocked rail lines and highways and took down power lines, cutting off electricity to hundreds of thousands of customers.
Visibility was near zero in some places, and rail lines were sent into various stages of suspension. At the Jersey Shore, they braced for flooding from the combination of what one forecaster called “an angry ocean” and a full moon, but mostly fended off powerful winds. By the end of the day, The National Weather Service was predicting up to 9 inches of slushy snow north and west of the city.
Here’s the latest of what you need to know for Saturday.
The region is under a variety of weather alerts, including a high wind warning and a coastal flood warning. Winds will continue to howl at 25 to 35 mph, with gusts of up to 60 mph. While temperatures have dropped to near freezing, the storm is gradually pulling away from the coast, so the rest of the weekend should be dry.
SEPTA: By Friday’s end, service on most Regional Rail Lines was suspended, leading to extensive delays that left hoards of stranded commuters scattered among the city’s major transit hubs. Looking toward Saturday, only the West Trenton Line’s early morning service has been cancelled. Travel alternatives can be found here.
Amtrak: Due to lingering effects from Friday’s storm, Amtrak will operate on a modified schedule starting in the morning.
Due to impacts from severe weather in the Northeast, we will operate a modified schedule in the Northeast region beginning Saturday morning. The following trains are cancelled: 150, 52, 160, 88, 156, 158, 2249, 2290, 153, 65, 660, & 20. (1 of 2)
— Amtrak Northeast (@AmtrakNEC) March 3, 2018
Additionally, trains 79, 89, 82, & 164 will originate from WAS. Train 143 will originate from NHV; trains 2251 & 147 will originate from NYP. We will update should information change. We appreciate your patience as we work to fully restore service. (2 of 2)
— Amtrak Northeast (@AmtrakNEC) March 3, 2018
Roadways are wet and some are slushy. Overnight, icy conditions are a concern. Drivers are being urged to reduce their speeds.
The Delaware River Port Authority has reduced the speed limit on the Ben Franklin, Walt Whitman, Betsy Ross and Commodore Barry bridges to 35 mph and banned empty trailers until further notice because of the wind.
There is some street flooding at the Shore and police are advising to stay off flood-prone roads, including parts of the White Horse Pike, over the next few day, particularly at times of high tides.
PECO reports more than 330,000 customers are without power in Southeastern Pennsylvania, most of them in Montgomery County (111,000) and Delaware County (96,000).
Atlantic City Electric says more than 27,000 customers are without power in South Jersey.
PSE&G reports nearly 34,000 of its customers are without power, most of them in North Jersey.
Official said 540 flights to or from Philadelphia International Airport were canceled Friday, which accounts for about half of its daily average. You should check with your airline for flight status information. (According to the federal Aviation Weather Center, the crew of one flight landing at Dulles International Airport outside Washington reported it was so bumpy on descent that “pretty much everyone on the plane threw up.”)
A large tree fell in Rittenhouse Square on Friday shortly before 11 a.m.. A photo of the aftermath was quickly uploaded to Reddit. “I was standing on the sidewalk when I heard it happen,” said User_Name13, who lives in the Rittenhouse Square area and took the picture. “I turned around and saw the absolute end on it.” Only a handful of people were in the park at the time and no one was injured.
Steer clear of 76, currently two trees in separate locations blocking both lanes heading West and 1 lane East just north of Belmont Ave.
Posted by Kristina Spier on Friday, March 2, 2018
Interstate 76 westbound was closed at mile marker 336 in Lower Merion Township for more than three hours after trees fell across the roadway, including one that landed on the roof a SEPTA bus around 1:10 p.m. SEPTA said 15 passengers were in the Route 125 bus. Four minor injuries were reported.
A post shared by Courtenay Harris Bond (@courtenayharrisbond) on
Courtenay Harris Bond, a freelance journalist based in Bala Cynwyd, documented on Instagram the destruction to her home caused by a falling tree.
“Thank god nobody was hurt,” she wrote.
Staff writers Patricia Madej, Anthony Wood, Erin McCarthy, Mari A. Schaefer, and Frank Kummer contributed to this report.