It’s been quite a winter wonderland in Philadelphia.
Snowfall has once again blanketed the city, and as of 6 a.m. Thursday, officials have declared a snow emergency.
Forecasters predicted 4-to-7 inches of snow and according to the National Weather Service, 2.5 inches had accumulated throughout most parts of the city by 10 a.m.
The Streets Department mobilized snow removal equipment, clearing emergency routes, primary roads, and secondary roads first, and then planned to plow residential streets once the main roads were clear. On Thursday, the department launched a new app, PlowPHL, which is an interactive map that allows residents to track and monitor the status of the city’s plowing and salting operations. PlowPHL is on the StreetSmartPHL platform.
“Crews will continue snow operations until all conditions are safe for travel,” said Managing Director Tumar Alexander. “However, this storm is expected to bring heavy snow and mild winds. Residents should be mindful of fallen tree limbs and possible power and signal outages. Our goal is to make roads passable and return the city back to normal operations as quickly as possible.”
The city reminded Philadelphia residents that shoveling or plowing snow into the street is illegal. Residents should clear a sidewalk path at least 36 inches wide and make sure sewer drains are clear to allow melting snow to drain.
The Streets Department suspended trash and recycling collections Thursday, Feb. 18. Collections will resume Friday, Feb. 19.
All outdoor dining setups should be secured, removing as much of the setups as possible—including tables, chairs, heating equipment, and temporary structures. As noted in the city’s winter guidelines for outdoor dining, the city is not liable for any damage from plowing or snow removal, even if structures are permitted. Materials should be cleared as much as possible to avoid possible damage.
City-run COVID-19 testing sites remained open Thursday. People should call ahead to non-city run sites to check if they are open or have limited hours due to weather conditions. Health Department COVID-19 vaccine clinics are closed Thursday. Individuals who have registered for appointments with the Health Department are being contacted to reschedule. For all the non-city sites, including hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies, residents should call ahead to check their status.
The Office of Homeless Services issued a Code Blue on Wednesday, Feb. 10, and it will remain in effect until further notice. Throughout the Code Blue, Philadelphia’s homeless outreach teams will patrol the streets in greater numbers, urging individuals to come indoors and avoid prolonged exposure to the elements amid dangerously cold temperatures.
“It’s been a winter where we haven’t turned people away and where we’ve really been able to offer more opportunities for people to come in,” OHS Director Liz Hersh told Metro.
If you are concerned about someone who is homeless, call 215-232-1984. Outreach is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Residents should contact the ACCT Philly hotline (267-385-3800 Ext. 1) if they observe a dog outside during extreme cold. It is against city ordinance to leave dogs outside in extreme cold without proper shelter, and owners can be fined up to $500.
If the storm causes a tree to fall and it’s blocking a road, or it has fallen on a house, car or other property, call 911. In the event that a tree has fallen on electrical wires, call PECO’s emergency line at 1-800-841-4141. For other non-emergency downed trees, residents can submit a request through Philly 311.
Residents can sign up for emergency alerts and weather updates from ReadyPhiladelphia at phila.gov/ready.
Snow Emergency information and a map of Snow Emergency routes can be found at philadelphiastreets.com/