Gusty Winds, Deep Freeze Take Hold of Region

'The best time to move this snow is sooner rather than later.'

After a storm brought snow to the entire Philadelphia region Thursday morning, bitter cold temperatures and gusty winds took hold as the evening arrived.

A few inches of snow fell on much of the region in a matter of hours as the intense storm quickly moved through the Philadelphia region as temps dropped to freezing and below. Snow first began falling in Berks, Chester, Lehigh and Northampton counties and then spread to Bucks, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties as well as northern Delaware and South Jersey turning from rain to sleet to snow. By late morning, more than 6 inches had fallen in parts of the Lehigh Valley.[[413343353, C]]

Before noon the storm moved out from west to east.

Temperatures should stick below freeing with wind gusts up to 40 mph through the rest of Thursday. The high temp isn't expected to get past the freezing mark Friday and overnight temps should feel like the single digits. [[413290823, C]]

Due to the expected snowfall, all Philadelphia public and archdiocesan schools closed Thursday. (Philly schools will open Friday, officials said.) Hundreds of other area schools also closed ahead of the storm. Philadelphia lifted its snow emergency at noon.

SkyForce10 captured children taking advantage of the day off bu sledding on Belmont Plateau. [[413342543, C]]

New Jersey closed all state offices Thursday for nonessential employees and the snow was expected to linger longer in the Trenton area. Bucks and Montgomery counties also closed offices and courts. In Delaware, all state offices would open as normal as the storm didn't hit as hard.

Some attractions also changed schedules Thursday such as the Adventure Aquarium in Camden, opening late at noon, and the Please Touch Museum in Fairmount Park, which closed for the day. [[413298133, C]]

Speed limit restrictions were put in place on many major highways and bridges and PATCO operated on a special "Snow Schedule."

Precipitation began to fall overnight starting as rain in some areas but changed to sleet, then snow as temperatures cooled before daybreak. The snow led to blinding conditions — less than 1/4-mile visibility — in some areas right around the time of the morning rush. [[413264633, C]]

The intensity of the snow made roads difficult to traverse. Philadelphia International Airport warned travelers that most morning flights were canceled.

Some sun shined late Thursday morning and more could shine in the afternoon but not enough to melt off much of the snow left on the ground. The sun should shine Friday but with freezing temps, not much melt off will happen.The heavy wind combined with the heavy snow also posed a threat for limbs to take down power lines.

A warm-up comes this weekend as temps push into the 40s Saturday.

The NBC10 First Alert Weather Team's forecasts are the most accurate in the Philadelphia area, says The team brings 80 years of combined forecasting skill to NBC10 viewers.

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