As the Blizzard of 2010 continues to unleash its fury on the Philadelphia region, deteriorating conditions are forcing officials to close roads, stop public transit service and ask residents to stay home Thursday.
Pa. Gov. Ed Rendell ordered the closure of the Schuylkill Expressway, the Vine Street Expressway and Blue Route at 2 p.m. Wednesday because of the extremely dangerous weather conditions. Interstates 81, 83 and 78 have also been closed.
Officials say the closures will allow road crews to get the highways back into drivable condition without the worry of car accidents.
The Pennsylvania Turnpike and I-95 have remained open as well as the DRPA bridges crossing into New Jersey, but all are operating with reduced speeds and vehicle restrictions.
In Philadelphia, SEPTA stopped bus service at 5 p.m. because of the dangerous conditions and city public and Archdiocesan schools announced they will be closed Thursday.
Mayor Michael Nutter closed all city offices Thursday -- with the exception of public service and snow removal, of course -- so that officials can focus on cleaning up the mess.
"Use tomorrow as a bit of a transition day," Nutter said. He asked city residents to shovel their sidewalks, check on the elderly and take their time to get their cars cleaned.
This latest Nor'easter has begun intensifying as it moves off the coast sending even heavier snow and howling winds into neighborhoods across the area.
Blizzard conditions are expected to develop as the night goes on, meteorologist Glenn "Hurricane" Schwartz says.
The heavy, wet snow is also causing concerns in more places than just the roads. EMS workers in Philadelphia say they've seen a huge spike in the number of cardiac arrest emergencies than any other recent storm.
Get the latest on closures and up-to-date radar over in the NBCPhiladelphia.com Winter Weather Center.