PHILADELPHIA – The Streets Department stands ready for the impending inclement weather, Streets Commissioner Carlton Williams announced today.
The forecast is calling for rain beginning at 1 a.m. on Thursday, January 20 then mixes with and changes to snow during the early hours of Thursday through noon. Current forecast is a total of 2 inches of snow accumulations expected across the city. Expect temperatures to drop near freezing and slippery road conditions.
The Plan: Streets Department crews will be mobilizing overnight to commence a salting operation to treat roads. This is planned to be a salting operation of primary and secondary roads, bridge decks and streets in higher elevations, however, crews will be prepared to plow if the conditions change. Crews will remain on-duty overnight to monitor roadways and respond to problem locations and emergencies.
Motorists are asked to allow extra time and maintain safe driving distances to allow for sudden stopping. The frigid temperatures and cold ground will make it easy for snow to accumulate and cause slippery travel on untreated roadways.
- Do not shovel or plow snow into the street. This practice is illegal, unsafe and hinders snow operations. The penalty for violating this can range from $50 to $300 for each violation.
- Clear a sidewalk path at least three (3) feet within six hours of the end of the storm.
- Clear snow from neighborhood sewer drains to allow melting snow to drain.
- Keep fire hydrants clear. Shovel at least 3-feet around your block’s hydrant so firefighters can gain access safely during an emergency response.
- Motorists should allow extra time, exercise patience and maintain safe driving distances.
Sanitation and Recycling Collections: Residents should expect delays in trash and recycling collections as crews work to navigate during this snow event. Residents can track the progress of collections on their block by clicking on the PickupPHL tab at streetsmartphl.phila.gov. Updates can also be found at phila.gov/streets and on social media.
To avoid collection delays, residents are strongly encouraged to use Sanitation Convenience Centers that are open Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
PlowPHL: Use the snow app, PlowPHL, an interactive map that allows residents to track and monitor the status of the City’s plowing and salting operations. PlowPHL is the fourth and final web mapping tool on the StreetSmartPHL platform.
City Buildings and Services: This weather event is not expected to interfere with City operations on Thursday, January 20, 2022.
Information for Businesses: All property owners and/or tenants are responsible for clearing a 36 inch path on all sidewalks, including curb cuts, abutting the building or premises within six hours after the snow has ceased to fall—even if the establishment is temporarily closed due to snow or COVID-19 restrictions. A fine of $50 or more can be imposed in violation of this code.
Establishments with outdoor dining will need to take additional precautions in advance of the storm. All outdoor dining setups should be secured, removing as much of the setups as possible—including tables, chairs, heating equipment, and temporary structures. The City is not liable for any damage from plowing or snow removal. Materials should be cleared from the right of way as much as possible to avoid possible damage and blocking of dining setups. Restaurants with unpermitted structures are reminded that their establishment is liable for any injuries suffered due to damage from the structure during and after the storm.
Homeless Outreach: The City has resources and shelters to help people stay safe during cold weather. If you see someone on the street who needs shelter or other homeless services, call 215-232-1984 to request outreach anytime.
Pet Safety Awareness: Residents should contact the ACCT Philly hotline (267-385-3800 ext. 1) if they observe a dog outside during extreme cold (aside from bathroom breaks and short walks). It is against City ordinance to leave dogs outside in extreme cold without proper shelter, and owners can be fined up to $500.
Food Sites: Visit phila.gov/food to view specific site schedules and please call before you go to verify the site is open.
SEPTA: Customers are cautioned to plan for disruptions and check for updates before leaving home. SEPTA will post real-time travel updates at septa.org and @SEPTA on Twitter.
PHL International Airport: Travelers and those picking up travelers are encouraged to check their flight status and road conditions before leaving for the airport on Thursday and Friday. Call your airline, get updates at 1-800-PHL-GATE (745-4283), or check the PHL International Airport website—phl.org. The airport has snow removal and deicing operations planned for the duration of the event.
Call Centers Open: The Philly 311 Call Center will remain open during normal business hours on Thursday (8 a.m. – 8 p.m.) to take calls for non-emergencies. Requests for salting and plowing will not be taken during the storm. Once the storm has moved on, the City will announce when such requests will be taken.
The Philadelphia Water Department’s 24-hour emergency PWD hotline will remain open for emergency calls. Water main breaks and other water emergencies should be immediately reported by calling (215) 685-6300. PWD’s customer contact center will also remain open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (215) 685-6300.
With temperatures in the teens forecasted, there is an increased chance of frozen or burst pipes. PWD is not responsible for customer pipes, even if they are outside of your home. Residents should keep sidewalks and the area around valve covers and other utility access points clear of snow and ice should they need to be accessed by plumbers.
When shoveling, do not pile snow on top of storm drain inlets. Blocked storm drains can create flooding. Make sure all fire hydrants are clear of snow, visible, and easily accessible. More information, including tips for preventing frozen pipes and safe use of salt and deicers, is available on the @PhillyH2O Blog.
Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW). The 24-hour Emergency Hotline will remain open for emergency calls. At any time, all gas leaks or gas-related emergencies should be immediately reported by calling (215) 235-1212. PGW’s customer contact center will also remain open 8AM to 6PM (215) 235-1000.
The Department of Parks & Recreation reminds residents that if a tree falls during a storm and it’s blocking a road, or it has fallen on a house, car or other property, call 911. A crew of arborists from Philadelphia Parks & Recreation are on-call to respond to tree emergencies and they will come out to remove the hazard and any part of the tree that is an immediate risk to public safety. Other parts of the tree that don’t pose an immediate risk (such as tree trunks and stumps) will be removed at a later time so crews can focus on other safety hazards around the city during extreme weather events. In the event that a tree has fallen on electrical wires, please call PECO’s emergency line: 1-800-841-4141. For other non-emergency downed trees, residents can submit a request through Philly 311.
- Tune to local news for weather updates.
- Sign up for free emergency alerts and weather updates from ReadyPhiladelphia by texting READYPHILA to 888-777 for free phone alerts or customize free text and email alerts by visiting the Office of Emergency Management’s website at www.phila.gov/ready.
- For more winter weather tips, visit the Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management online at www.phila.gov/ready.
- For official updates from the City, follow @PhilaOEM on Twitter or Facebook.
- Other City Twitter accounts to follow for information: @PhiladelphiaGov, @Philly311 and @PhilaStreets.