NBC10.com - Sheena Parveen
Bitter cold temperatures remain in the region. But how long will it last? Sheena has the forecast.
Philly's snow emergency has been lifted as the city continues to dig out of the snow.
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter lifted the city's snow emergency at 6 p.m. Snow emergency routes are now open again to parking. Cars parked along those routes during the day were ticketed or towed.
The city also announced that Philadelphia public schools will open as normal on Thursday. The announcement was made Wednesday afternoon by Philadelphia school district spokesman Fernando Gallard.
The major winter storm that buried Philadelphia in more than a foot of snow moved out and left in its wake bitter, sub-zero winds.
Philadelphia International Airport recorded 13.5 inches of snow while the Philadelphia Fire Department recorded 14 inches of the white stuff. The massive storm marked a milestone for Philly this season.
Mayor Nutter asked citizens to be patient as the city digs out from under the heavy snow. Nutter said since Philadelphia got a consistent amount of snow, more than 700 Streets Department employees had to battle high accumulations across the city's entire 135 square-miles.
"The Streets [Department] had to focus on pretty much the entire city, not just areas where there were higher totals," the mayor said.
The city set goals to completely clear all 100 miles of its snow emergency routes by Wednesday evening and get all primary roads cleared down to the blacktop. They also hope to get 80-percent of the secondary streets "passable" -- meaning there may still be snow and slush left behind.
"This will be a marathon effort that will likely stretch into Saturday," Nutter said. "We’re asking our citizens to be patient."
Along with Philadelphia schools, City offices will reopen for business on Thursday.
A RECORD BREAKER
Philadelphia shattered a snowfall record for Jan. 21 and also entered the record books for dropping more snow in the city earlier in a winter than ever before.
"This is the third storm of six inches or more officially in Philadelphia," said NBC10 Chief Meteorologist Glenn Schwartz. "This has never happened before February, since records were kept since 1884. We have never had a winter with four such storms. Plenty of time left to do that."
Philly Storms This Year
Dec. 8 - 8.6 inches
Jan. 2-3 - 9.0 inches
Jan. 21 - 14.0 inches
The snow cleared completely in Philly and the north and west suburbs by 3 a.m. The new issue is the bitter cold and freezing. The temperature continued to drop overnight as did the wind chills, making it feel like it's almost 10 below in Philly Wednesday morning.
With the freezing cold temperatures, roads will be slippery for the morning commute.
"Everything freezes," Schwartz said. "Even the salt doesn't work that well at the temperatures that we're talking about. So it could be pretty slippery in the morning."
The bitter cold will remain with morning temperatures in the single digits. Wind chills in Philadelphia should be below zero and the chills could dip to -25 in the Poconos. The day's high will only be 14.
Temperatures should remain below the freezing mark for the rest of the week as another polar vortex blasts the region with windy, bitter cold.
There's even the chance of some light snow on Thursday.
By the weekend, conditions won't be as frigid and temperatures will rise into the 30s.
Before the snow even arrived it already caused school closures and travel delays.
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter declared a snow emergency for the entire city and announced all city public and Catholic schools would be closed on Wednesday. The emergency activation meant anyone parked on one of the city's 100 miles worth of snow emergency routes had to move their cars. Those that didn't move had their vehicles towed.
All Philadelphia city offices are closed on Wednesday as well, meaning only employees essential to dealing with the snowstorm must report at work.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Delaware Gov. Jack Markell also issued statewide emergencies. Markell also issued a driving warning -- meaning state officials urged everyone to stay at home and off the roads.
Delaware's emergency was lifted at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday.
The Weather Service warned of heavy winds and hazardous driving conditions throughout the day as the storm moved up the East Coast. Conditions quickly became dangerous on area roads as the snow intensified.
The snow caused a messy evening rush. Ahead of the worst of the storm, PennDOT put speed restrictions on most major highways and local municipalities urged motorists to stay off the road.
By midday, dozens of crashes were reported around the area as roads became downright treacherous.
The New Jersey State Police tweeted that as of 4 p.m. there were 238 motor vehicle accidents and 354 motorist aids -- just in the areas they patrol.
SEPTA buses were delayed up to 30 minutes and some trains were delayed 60 minutes with a few trolley routes also operating behind schedule.
Around 600 flights were canceled at Philadelphia International Airport, according to spokeswoman Victoria Lupica. Airport officials were able to maintain one runway throughout the entire day and there are still flights coming in and going out.
Lupica says travelers should expect some cancellations and delays early Wednesday morning due to the amount of canceled flights on Tuesday. Airlines who canceled flights resumed operations as early as 6:30 a.m. Wednesday/
If you planned on traveling, make sure you contact your airlines or call toll free 1-800-PHL-Gate.