City declares snow emergency beginning at 7 p.m.
PHILADELPHIA – With a winter storm approaching, Acting Managing Director Vanessa Garrett Harley announced that a Snow Emergency will be declared for the City of Philadelphia beginning at 7 p.m. tonight, Friday, January 28, 2022.
A Snow Emergency means all parked vehicles must be moved off Snow Emergency routes for plowing. When moving your car, park as far from the corner of the street as possible; vehicles parked too close to the corner get in the way of snowplows trying to turn corners.
Snow Emergency information and a map of Snow Emergency routes can be found online at phila.gov/departments/department-of-streets/roadways/snow-events/snow-emergency-routes/. Vehicles left on Snow Emergency routes will be moved to other parking spots to assist in snow plowing operations. If your car is moved, call 215-686-SNOW (7669), and press option four (4), to find it. Do NOT call 911.
The forecast is calling for a Nor’easter beginning tonight, Friday, January 28 through Saturday, January 29. Current forecast is for significant snow with a total of 5 – 7 inches of accumulations expected across the city.
“Crews will continue snow operations until all conditions are safe for travel. However, this storm is expected to bring heavy snow and wind gusts up to 30 miles per hour which can reduce visibility for people driving due to blowing snow.” said Acting Managing Director Vanessa Garrett Harley. “Residents should be mindful of fallen tree limbs and possible power and signal outages. Temperatures are expected to drop Saturday which may cause slick driving conditions due to freezing on streets. Our goal is to make roads passable and return the city back to normal operations as quickly as possible, so we strongly encourage people to stay home and off the roads as much as possible.”
The Plan: In preparation for the snow, the Streets Department will have a full deployment of equipment and employees. The Department will mobilize over 400 pieces of equipment including support from City agencies and contractors. Crews have been brining since Thursday in preparation for this snow event. The Streets Department has 45,000 tons of salt available.
Snow emergency routes, primary roads, and secondary roads will be serviced first to allow for safe passage. Residential streets will be treated after the primary and secondary roads are safe to travel. This does not mean roads will be completely clear of snow and ice but made passable for safe traveling.
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 3 to 5 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: The Streets Department will be completing Friday’s trash and recycling collections today. Trucks will then be equipped with plows to assist with snow operations. 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. [Update: Sanitation Convenience Centers will not be open on Saturday, January 29 to allow crews to assist in winter weather efforts. Convenience Centers will resume operations Monday, January 31.
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 Run-Testing Sites: All City-run testing sites, including Health Centers, mobile testing vans, and resource hubs scheduled for Saturday, January 29, 2022 are canceled.
City Run-Vaccine Clinics: The Health Department’s vaccine clinic at Salvation Army (5501 Market Street) will be closing early on Friday, January 28, 2022 at 4 p.m.
The Health Department’s vaccine clinic at Global Leadership Academy (125 South 52nd Street), scheduled for Saturday, January 29, 2022, is canceled.
School District of Philadelphia: All School District after-school and athletic activities are cancelled today due to the approaching snowstorm.
City Recreation Centers: All Philadelphia Parks & Recreation (PPR) sites will close at 6 p.m. tonight, Friday, January 28. All evening programs are canceled. PPR sites will remain closed on Saturday, January 29 and all Saturday programs are canceled.
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 stopped falling—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, even if structures are permitted. 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 Friday and Saturday. 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 regular business hours on Friday (8 a.m. – 8 p.m.) to take calls for non-emergencies. Over the weekend, residents can submit a service request or report an issue online or through the Philly311 mobile app, available on App Store and Google Play. 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 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 for billing and other issues 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Friday. Call (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. Information on customer-maintained plumbing is available here. 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.
PECO: High wind gusts can cause power outages. Charge your electronic devices and report power outages to peco.com/outages.
Philadelphia 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 official updates from the City, follow @PhilaOEM on Twitter or Facebook.
- Other City Twitter accounts to follow for information: @PhiladelphiaGov, @Philly311 and @PhilaStreets.