Quick snow blankets area, triggers accidents

The winter storm that walloped the South with snow and ice crept up the coast late yesterday to coat the streets of Philadelphia and dump up to 9 inches on parts of South Jersey.

Before the storm drifted off to sea, Atlantic City was blanketed with 6 inches of snow; Ocean City, N.J., with 7; and Cape May County with 8, according to the National Weather Service in Mount Holly.

Snowfall was light in Southeastern Pennsylvania. Philadelphia International Airport recorded about an inch and a half. Exton saw about an inch.

"The snow was more or less cut off over Bucks County," meteorologist Jim Eberwine said.

But temperatures in the mid-teens created icy roads and triggered dozens of accidents.

A multi-vehicle crash shut down southbound I-95 from the Walt Whitman Bridge to Broad Street from 6:20 to 6:35 p.m. There were no serious injuries, a state police spokesman said.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation dispatched about 130 trucks to salt major thoroughfares early in the day, spokesman Gene Blaum said. As the sun set, more than 200 trucks were salting the roads.

The New Jersey Department of Transportation put 340 pieces of equipment out on the roads to spread salt and plow, spokesman Joe Dee said.

"We mobilized everyone to be out there," he said.

Today's forecast calls for mostly sunny skies with highs barely reaching 30. Lows tonight will drop to 11 in the metropolitan area, with temperatures a few degrees higher along the Shore.

A coastal flood advisory is in effect today from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. due to a full moon and a late morning high tide.

Frigid air will keep the region on ice until Tuesday, when temperatures will rise to just over freezing.

"On Feb. 2 we'll be holding our breath to see what Punxsutawney Phil will say," Eberwine said.


Contact staff writer Sam Wood

at 215-854-2796 or samwood@phillynews.com.