Mayor Parker, City Officials Announce Preparations for Winter Storm
City declares snow emergency beginning at 7 a.m. Friday
PHILADELPHIA – With another winter storm approaching, Mayor Cherelle L. Parker joined City officials and partners to share winter storm preparations at a press conference this evening. During the briefing, Managing Director Adam Thiel announced that a Snow Emergency will be declared for the City of Philadelphia beginning at 7 a.m. Friday, January 19, 2024.
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 list and map of Snow Emergency routes can be found on the City’s website. 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 4, to find it. Do NOT call 911.
The forecast is calling for a winter storm starting on the morning of Friday, January 19 at around 4 a.m. Current forecast is for significant snow with a total of 5 to 7 inches of accumulations expected across the city. Heavy, wet snow is expected.
“We expect a significant winter storm coming into Philadelphia overnight and all through the day tomorrow,” said Mayor Cherelle L. Parker. “Our primary objectives are to clear our streets – from major roads to smaller streets in our neighborhoods; maintain public safety; and take care of our people throughout the city. It’s an all-hands-on-deck moment.”
“Crews and first responders are working together to ensure we are as ready as possible for when the snow starts. However, this storm is expected to bring significant snow and wintry conditions,” said Managing Director Adam Thiel. “The Office of Emergency Management will be sending out public information related to the weather through ReadyPhiladelphia. Text READYPHILA to 888-777 or sign up by visiting Phila.gov/ready. For official updates from the City, follow @PhilaOEM on Twitter or Facebook. Be a good neighbor, check on your neighbors after this snowstorm. Especially those at risk or elderly neighbors. You can make sure they are warm, have enough food or even offer to shovel their sidewalk.”
“When inclement weather or an emergency occurs, the safety and well-being of District students, staff, and working families is the District’s top priority. To the greatest extent possible, the School District of Philadelphia strives to keep schools open for in-person learning to accelerate student achievement,” said Superintendent Dr. Tony Watlington, Philadelphia School District. “As a father of three children, I understand the importance of children having fun and experiencing joy, which is one of our Accelerate Philly core values.”
The Plan: In preparation for the latest snow event 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. While there is residual brine from Tuesday’s snow event still on the roads, crews have added additional brine for pre-treating. The Streets Department has 43,000 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. The Parker administration is prioritizing smaller tertiary streets as well. Our goal is to make roads passable and return the city back to normal operations as quickly as possible. This does not mean roads will be completely clear of snow and ice but made passable for safe traveling.
- 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 36 inches wide within six hours of the end of the storm.
- Clear snow from neighborhood sewer drains to allow melting snow to drain.
- Motorists should allow extra time, exercise patience and maintain safe driving distances.
- Please remember to dress properly and check in on your neighbors especially those at risk.
- Keep fire hydrants clear. Shovel 36 to 60 inches around your block’s hydrant so firefighters can gain access safely during an emergency response.
- Clear snow from neighborhood sewer drains to allow melting snow to drain.
City Buildings & City Workers: City of Philadelphia offices will be closed to the public on Friday, January 19, 2024. Departments should notify any essential personnel required to report to work on site tomorrow. Employees who are able to work virtually should continue to do so.
Sanitation & Recycling Collections: Due to the amount of snow accumulations expected, Sanitation crews and equipment will be diverted to snow operations. The City is currently on a holiday schedule due to the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday which means collections are currently one day behind regular schedule. Friday’s collections which was scheduled to be picked up on Saturday, January 20 is now suspended. Residents who normally have Friday’s collections will have to hold their materials until next Friday as crews will not be able to pick up materials while they are working on snow operations. We appreciate residents’ patience and cooperation. As an alternative, residents may drop off their materials at the City’s Sanitation Convenience Centers which are open for regular hours, Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. Residents can track the progress of collections on StreetSmartPHL by clicking on PickupPHL tab.
PlowPHL: Residents can use PlowPHL, an interactive map, 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.
Water Department: 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 through Friday. Keep fire hydrants clear. Clear snow from neighborhood sewer drains to allow melting snow to drain. If you have no water, it may be due to frozen pipes on your property. Use these tips to troubleshoot frozen pipes, and call the Water Department 24/7 to report a leak in the street using the emergency option at (215) 685-6300.
City Run Health Centers: All City Health Centers, Resource Hubs, and COVID testing sites will be closed on Friday, January 19, 2024.
School District of Philadelphia: All District schools and Central Offices will be closed tomorrow, Friday, January 19. All after-school activities including all athletic programs and professional development sessions scheduled for Friday are canceled as well. All District early childhood centers will also be closed.
Archdiocese of Philadelphia: Archdiocesan high schools and parochial elementary schools in the City of Philadelphia will utilize a flexible instruction day tomorrow, Friday, January 19.
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. A fine of $50 or more can be imposed in violation of this code. Businesses are encouraged to review these emergency preparedness tips to protect their employees, and customers. 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. To maintain functions of city infrastructure, snow removal takes precedent over outdoor dining. The City is not liable for any damage from plowing or snow removal, even if structures are permitted. Restaurants with outdoor dining structures are reminded that their establishment is liable for any injuries suffered due to damage from the structure during and after the storm.
SEPTA will post real-time travel updates at septa.org and @SEPTA on Twitter.
Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA): PPA will be offering a flat twenty-four-hour $5 parking rate at the following Center City garages from 5 p.m. Thursday, January 18, 2024, until the snow emergency is lifted.
- AutoPark at Independence Mall (5th & Market Streets)
- AutoPark at Jefferson (10th & Ludlow Streets)
- AutoPark at the Fashion District (10th & Filbert Streets)
- AutoPark at Old City (2nd & Sansom Streets)
- Parkade on 8th (801 Filbert Street)
- Philadelphia Family Court Garage (1503-11 Arch Street – Going south on 15th Street, enter the garage on the west side just after 15th & Cherry Street)
To receive the discounted $5 rate, customers must bring their ticket and pay at the PPA Management Office in each garage. During the snow emergency, the PPA will enforce all snow emergency and safety violations. Starting at 7 p.m. on Thursday, January 18, meters, and time limit violations on residential blocks will not be enforced until the snow emergency is lifted. Additionally, beginning at 7 p.m. on Thursday, January 18, vehicles illegally parked on snow emergency routes will be subject to ticketing and towing. If your vehicle is towed during the snow emergency, please call the city’s snow emergency line at 215-686-SNOW or visit the PPA’s website for its location.
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 Sunday. Call your airline, get updates at 1-800-PHL-GATE (745-4283), or check the PHL International Airport website—phl.org. The airport has brined onsite roadways, with snow removal and deicing operations planned for the duration of the event.
Homeless Outreach: The Office of Homeless Services issued a Code Blue that went into effect on, Sunday, January 14, 2024, at 3 p.m. It remains in effect until further notice. During this extended Code Blue, Philadelphia’s homeless outreach teams will continue to patrol the streets with greater urgency, encouraging people experiencing homelessness to come indoors and avoid prolonged exposure to the elements amid dangerously cold temperatures. On Wednesday, January 17, a warming center was brought online. People do not need ID to enter shelters and may remain indoors throughout the duration of the Code Blue. If anyone is concerned about someone who is homeless, they should call the Homeless Outreach Hotline at (215) 232-1984 at any time. Outreach is available 24/7. First responders can also transport people to shelter for their own safety. See how the City of Philadelphia helps people who are unsheltered during freezing temperatures and how other residents can help too.
Pet Safety Awareness: Residents should contact the ACCT Philly hotline at (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.
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.
Free Library of Philadelphia: All branches of the Free Library will be closed tomorrow, Friday, January 19, 2024.
Philadelphia Courts: The Courts of Philadelphia will be closed tomorrow, Friday, January 19, 2024. All cases — both in person and virtual — that were scheduled for tomorrow, Friday, January 19, 2024, will be rescheduled. The public can contact the Court at our website Courts.phila.gov for new dates starting Monday. If you have been summoned for jury duty, you are excused and do not need to report tomorrow, Friday, January 19, 2024.
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: While PECO works to prevent as many outages as possible, severe storms can cause damage and power outages. Customers can act now to prepare for severe weather by visiting peco.com/storm. In addition, customers can visit peco.com/alerts before winter weather grips the region and sign up to receive updates on their energy usage and information regarding power outages via text, email, or phone, including when power is out, when service is expected to be restored, or when power is restored. Customers can also report power outages to peco.com/outages, or by texting “ADDOUTAGE” to MYPECO (697326), to enroll in our two-way texting program to report outages and check the status of their outage.
- Tune to local news for weather updates.
- Sign up for emergency alerts and weather updates from ReadyPhiladelphia by texting READYPHILA to 888-777, or visiting phila.gov/ready.
- For more winter weather tips, visit the Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management online at 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.