Snow fell throughout the day around the Philadelphia region, making driving hazardous — potentially contributing to two deaths in a crash that occurred during the peak of the storm — and disrupting travel, after having set off a spate of closings and cancellations before the first flake fell.

As of early Wednesday evening, places around the region had reported up to three to four inches of snow, with 2.3 inches recorded at Philadelphia International Airport. Here’s how the storm impacted the Philadelphia region throughout the day.

Driving

Roadway conditions worsened starting mid-morning. A number of crashes, including one-car spin-outs and multi-vehicle accidents, were reported around the region.

During the height of the storm, two people were killed in a two-vehicle accident just before 12:20 p.m. in Burlington County. The accident occurred in the 100 block of West Hampton Street in Pemberton Borough. The cause of the accident was under investigation; further details weren’t available.

Other roadways where crashes have been reported included I-95 in South Philadelphia and Northeast Philadelphia, U.S. 422 in Oaks, and I-295 in South Jersey.

PennDOT reduced the speed limit to 45 mph on Interstates 76, 95, 295, 476, 676; U.S. Routes 1, 30, 202, 422; and State Routes 63, 100 Spur, and 309.

Similar speed restrictions also were in place on I-76, I-676, and I-294 in South Jersey and the New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway.

The speed limit was reduced to 25 mph on the Ben Franklin, Walt Whitman, Betsy Ross, and Commodore Barry Bridges.

Crews started treating roadways Tuesday. PennDOT sent out about 400 trucks in Southeastern Pennsylvania Wednesday morning to treat roadways and then to plow after the snow falls.

At noon, PennDOT and the Pennsylvania Turnpike banned straight CDL-weighted trucks; all large combination vehicles (double trailers); tractors hauling empty trailers; any trailers pulled by motorcycles, passenger vehicles, pickup trucks or SUVs; all motorcycles; and all recreational vehicles and RVs from some interstates in the Philadelphia area, including I-76, parts of the turnpike in the region, and the Blue Route. A complete list for the region and the state can be found here.

With road conditions improving in the Garden State, the New Jersey State Police lifted similar restrictions on commercial vehicle traffic at 5 p.m.

The New Jersey Department of Transportation deployed more than 2,500 plows and spreaders statewide.

Motorists are asked to keep a safe distance from plows and other vehicles.

Despite the problems, Jana L. Tidwell, spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic, said it appeared motorists were heeding the warnings to stay off the roads because the volume of roadside assistance calls to the group was “very light” as of early afternoon.

Mass Transit

SEPTA: Anticipating an early rush hour, SEPTA implemented its “Early Exit” schedule at 1 p.m. and operated nine Regional Rail trains in the early afternoon that are regularly scheduled to run in the evening. Multiple bus routes faced detours, and a few Regional Rail trains were canceled. More details are on SEPTA’s website.

All trains on the Market-Frankford line stopped at all stations.

Amtrak: Keystone Service trains 647 and 651 (New York Penn - Harrisburg) terminated in Philadelphia. Train 656 (Harrisburg - New York Penn) originated in Philadelphia. Train 620 (Harrisburg - New York Penn) is canceled. No alternate transportation will be provided.

No major problems reported on PATCO or NJ Transit.

A person waits for the 109 SEPTA bus at the Springfield Mall on Wednesday.
CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer
A person waits for the 109 SEPTA bus at the Springfield Mall on Wednesday.

Air Travel

More than 175 flights to or from Philadelphia International Airport were canceled. Check your airline for the latest flight information.

Due to an FAA traffic management plan, some flights headed to Philadelphia were held on the ground at the points of origin, causing some arriving flights to be delayed an average of one hour and five minutes.

Some airlines are offering fee waivers to change itineraries for booked travel to or from certain cities on certain dates, the airport advises. Contact your airline for details if flying in the next couple of days.

Forecast

The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory for most of the region, except for western and eastern Chester County, northern Montgomery County and Berks County, which are under a more-serious winter storm warning.

The heaviest snowfall was expected during the afternoon hours, and was shifting to mixed precipitation by evening.

The wintry mix may lead to a layer of ice potentially as thick as a tenth of an inch in Berks County, which could cause slippery conditions in the evening.

Roads that appear wet could be icy, the weather service cautions.

The National Weather Service issued this map of predicted snowfall in the Philadelphia region on Wednesday afternoon.
The National Weather Service issued this map of predicted snowfall in the Philadelphia region on Wednesday afternoon.

Thundersnow was reported in western Maryland.

The precipitation is expected to turn to all rain during the night and continue to fall into Thursday morning.

Courts and Government

Philadelphia courts are closed. Do not report if you are scheduled for jury duty. You will be rescheduled to serve at a later date.

Philadelphia City Council and other government offices closed at 1 p.m.

Inmate visits have been canceled at Philadelphia jails.

A Code Blue has been declared in the City of Philadelphia. Call Homeless Outreach at 215-232-1984 if you see someone in need of shelter.

Government offices and courts are closed in Delaware, Chester, Montgomery, and Bucks counties.

PennDOT’s Driver License and Photo License Centers in Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery counties closed early Wednesday. Anyone with appointments scheduled later in the day will be contacted by PennDOT staff, according to the department.

Schools

Philadelphia public and archdiocesan schools are closed. Most schools and school districts outside the city also closed, but some, mostly in South Jersey, planned early dismissals. NBC10 has the full list.

The University of Pennsylvania, Temple, Drexel, Villanova, and La Salle universities as well as Bryn Mawr and Haverford colleges experienced closures or limited operations Wednesday.

Cultural Closings

Institutions that have closed for the day include:

  • The Philadelphia Zoo
  • Academy of Natural Sciences
  • American Jewish Museum
  • African American Museum in Philadelphia
  • Museum of the American Revolution
  • Independence Seaport Museum
  • Retailers like Deptford Mall and the Promenade at Sagemore closed early

‘No Savesies’ and other tips

While nodding to Drake’s “Hotline Bling,” and Netflix’s hit “Stranger Things” in years’ past, the Philadelphia police’s most recent reminder that saving parking spots are a big no-no tipped a hat to the Philly Special on Wednesday.

“Yes - we know that saving parking spaces was the original Philly Special,” the police wrote on Twitter. “And yes, it was fun while it lasted, but c’mon - it’s over! It’s time to move on! Saving parking spaces is illegal, so shovel and share. *Sniffle* We’ll always have the memories! #NoSavesies”

Instead of confronting the person using a cone or lawn chair to save a parking spot, contact the police, the department has suggested in the past. Oh — and while you’re digging out the car, don’t toss snow onto fire hydrants and storm drains, requests the Philadelphia Fire Department.

If the freezing temperatures have kept you inside this season, remember that shoveling snow can be a full-on workout that could lead to overexertion. There are some steps to follow when you do head out to shovel in order to prevent serious injuries, especially in the lower back. Rather than lifting, twisting and throwing the snow, it’s best to push it out of the way, writes Bill Tokmajian of Motivate Fitness wrote for the Inquirer. Additionally, use a small and light shovel and don’t be afraid to take frequent breaks.

Once back inside, Lifestyle columnist Elizabeth Wellington has all the cold-weather skin tips, hair hacks, and nail tricks to combat dryness this time of the year.

Staff writer Melanie Burney contributed to this story.