[PHI] NBC10 First Alert Severe Weather Central

PHI

Heavy Snowfall, Bitter Cold as First Storm of '14 Strikes

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The deep freeze is worsened by strong winds. (Published Friday, Jan 3, 2014)

    The heaviest snow pushed off to the east Friday morning after leaving more than 10 inches of snow on parts of the area and at least 5 inches in many neighborhoods.

    As the snow moved away the bitter cold settled in with temps in the teens and wind chills far below that.

    Heavy snow fell overnight into Friday morning as the first winter storm of 2014 moved through the region -- prompting widespread school closings, a state of emergency and many travel delays.

    It also caused fender benders, stuck cars and two jackknifed tractor-trailers on major roads including I-95 in Pennsylvania and the New Jersey Turnpike.

    First Alert Weather: Bitter Cold

    [PHI] First Alert Weather: Bitter Cold, 8 a.m.
    Bitter cold moves in as snow moves out. (Published Friday, Jan 3, 2014)

    Two storm systems, one from the north and west and another from the southeast collided to envelop the area in snow, ice and strong winds as temperatures tumbled to frigid levels. A Winter Storm Warning is in effect for the entire Philadelphia region from the Poconos to the I-95 Corridor to South Jersey to Delaware.

    The winter storm prompted hundreds of schools and school districts to close on Friday -- including the School District of Philadelphia and all city Archdiocesan schools. Many local and county governments also issued snow emergencies. Concerned with public safety in the Garden State, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie declared a statewide snow emergency on Thursday afternoon.

    NJ State of Emergency

    [PHI] NJ State of Emergency
    NBC10 reporter Cydney Long reports from Burlington City as snow begins falling. NJ Governor Chris Christie issued a state of emergency. (Published Thursday, Jan 2, 2014)

    "The impending weather conditions over the next several days will produce a variety of dangerous travel conditions throughout the state," Christie said. "I encourage all New Jerseyans to stay off the roads if possible so that our first responders and public safety officials can safely respond to any emergency situations."

    Speed limits were lowered to 45 mph on most major Pennsylvania roads including the Pennsylvania Turnpike (I-76), the Northeast Extension (I-476), US-202, US-422, the Roosevelt Boulevard (US-1) and the Vine Street Expressway (I-676) and to 25 mph on area bridges as conditions deteriorated.

    Amtrak changed its Friday schedule, reducing the frequency of trips along the Northeast Corridor, anticipating weather-related problems. SEPTA suspended some bus lines and had a number of delays on its bus and rail lines as the storm intensified. Officials recommend checking the transit authority's system status website for the latest information.

    At Philadelphia International Airport, 160 flights were canceled on Thursday. Airport officials tell NBC10 they expect more trouble on Friday thanks to the high winds that will be sticking around after the snow stops falling. Travelers can check the latest flight status by calling 800-PHL-GATE or by visiting PHL.org.

    The snow, which began falling in most of the area early Thursday evening, turned heavy as the night progressed -- peaking late Thursday night.

    Timeline

    Lehigh Valley/Poconos

    7 a.m. - 10 a.m. - Snow clears

    North & West Suburbs

    7 a.m. - 10 a.m. - Snow clears

    Philly/I-95 Corridor

    7 a.m. - 8 a.m. - Snow tapers off

    8 a.m. - 11 a.m. - Snow clears

    DE/NJ Shore

    8 a.m. - 12 p.m. - Snow clears

    Also on Friday, an arctic blast will move in, causing freezing on untreated roads.

    "We have an arctic blast that’s going to be coming Friday into Saturday morning that may be the coldest that we’ve seen in many years. It will be dangerous cold, potentially life-threatening cold," NBC10 First Alert chief meteorologist Glenn “Hurricane” Schwartz says.

    Hurricane says South Jersey has the highest chance of ice forming since the area will see more rainfall before temperatures start to plunge throughout the night. Another concern for the shore will be high tide and moderate coastal flooding around 8:30 a.m.

    Temperatures are expected to hover in the teens for most of Friday. Winds gusting to over 30 mph will send the wind chill well below zero.

    THE COLDEST AIR

    The coldest air is set to be in place early Saturday morning, although wind chills will be below zero by Friday morning. In Philadelphia, a low of 5-degrees Fahrenheit is expected. Lows below zero-degrees will most likely be seen in the suburban and rural areas.

    "The wind chill could be 10 to 20-degrees below zero in parts of the area by later Friday night into Saturday morning," Hurricane says.

    At 20-degrees below zero, a person could potentially develop frostbite on uncovered skin by being exposed to those temperatures for just 30 minutes, according to the National Weather Service’s Wind Chill chart. Anyone outside in the cold weather will want to ensure they are properly bundled up.

    Hurricane says the strong winds in the Philadelphia region could send trees and power lines crashing to the ground – resulting in power outages.

    The winds are expected to diminish through the day on Saturday, but the temperatures will remain very cold, according to Hurricane. He expects the temperature to hover around 18-degrees Fahrenheit, with a wind chill of 10-degrees below zero, by the start of the Philadelphia Eagles playoff game at Lincoln Financial Field on Saturday night.

    TOWNS, COUNTIES PREPARED

    In preparation of the extreme temperatures, local governments in many local counties and townships issued severe weather advisories.

    Pennsylvania

    Montgomery County -Code Blue emergency - Dec. 30 at 9 p.m. to Jan. 7, 2014.

    Lower Merion Township - "Snow Emergency" - begins Jan 2. 5 p.m.

    Towamencin Township - "Snow Emergency" - Jan.1 at 3 p.m. to Jan. 3 at 6 p.m.

    Abington Township - "Snow Emergency" - Jan. 2 at 4 p.m. to Jan. 3 at 4 p.m. Vehicles parked or abandoned on snow emergency routes in the township may be towed or impounded.

    New Jersey

    Burlington County - Code Blue emergency - Dec. 31 at 8 p.m. to Jan. 4, 2014 at 12 p.m.

    Camden County - Code Blue Weather Emergency - Jan. 3 at 6 p.m. to Jan 4 at 6 a.m.

    Atlantic City - Code Blue - Jan. 2 at 4 p.m. to Jan 5 at 8 a.m.

    Local governments issue such warnings when the temperature drops below 20-degrees -- temperatures which pose threats to life and limb to the homeless and those spending long periods outside.

    Atlantic City authorities also say the city's police department "will take, as available, those wishing to go to the Atlantic City Rescue Mission where food and lodging will be provided."

    Camden officials also suggest checking on relatives who are elderly or handicapped and neighbors who live alone.

    “It is important that the most vulnerable among us are not left without heat or electricity,” said Camden County Freeholder Carmen Rodriguez.

    Hurricane and the NBC10 First Alert Weather Team are continuing to track the storm and extreme cold. Check back often for the latest information.