A nor’easter packing strong winds, snow (2 feet fell in the Poconos), ice and flooding moved through the Philadelphia region Tuesday, knocking out power to thousands as many stayed indoors.
The rain/snow line hovered along the I-95 corridor through much of Tuesday morning adding an icy layer that weighed down snow already on the ground and caused slippery conditions in Philadelphia and the immediate suburbs. More than one dozen cars wound up disabled along Montgomery County roads.
The heaviest snow fell Tuesday morning with the far northern and western suburbs, the Lehigh Valley and Berks County getting the most snow with the Delaware Beaches and Jersey Shore seeing mostly rain, wind and coastal flooding. In Newark, Delaware, ice formed on cars -- NBC10's Tim Furlong called it an NBC10 ice scraper kind of day -- while snow piled up on cars in Chester County.
In Philadelphia and the immediate suburbs, snow turned to sleet then to rain and then back to snow as the rain/snow line fluctuated during the storm. About 24 inches of snow fell in Mount Pocono with half a foot of snow in Philadelphia. The U.S. Postal Service even canceled mail delivery in the Lehigh Valley due to the nasty conditions.
The icy conditions caused power to go out to thousands of homes in the area with more than 40,000 customers without power at one point.
By early Wednesday morning, about 5,3000 PSE&G customers and nearly 11,000 Delmarva customers remained in the dark.
The National Weather Service says the dividing line between snow and a wintry mix from a nor'easter pushing through eastern Pennsylvania moved farther inland, cutting down the anticipated snow accumulation in places like Philadelphia but increasing the chance of icing, making for a slippery travel day. Fog also impacted visibility in some neighborhoods, including North Philadelphia.
Gov. Chris Christie, who on Monday declared a state of emergency, said it was "a tale of three storms" in New Jersey.
He said southern areas saw mostly rain and sleet, while central areas got a wintry mix of rain, freezing rain, sleet and a little snow. Northern areas saw mostly snow with strong winds, making it more difficult to clear roadways.
Christie warned that the Jersey shore would likely see moderate flooding as high tide rolled in. Flooding was a problem in Barnegat and Atlantic City, where fire department crews were dealing with multiple storm-related calls.
Although most areas saw less snow than originally expected, Christie still urged residents to stay off the roads so crews could do their work. The governor said 3,800 pieces of equipment were spread across the state to clear roadways and help with the storm cleanup, adding that most of those resources were diverted from southern areas to harder-hit northern Jersey.
"This is a day to stay inside," the governor said.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf declared a state of emergency for Pennsylvania and urged drivers to avoid unnecessary travel. Wolf said about 700 National Guard members would be deployed along with more than 2,000 snowplows to keep up with the storm.
All state offices were closed in Pennsylvania and New Jersey Tuesday.
All School District of Philadelphia schools, administrative offices and after school activities as well as all Philadelphia Archdiocesan high schools and parochial elementary schools were closed Tuesday due to the storm. Many suburban schools and school districts followed suit, closing schools overnight.
All Philly public schools and administrative offices will be open and on a normal schedule Wednesday. All Philadelphia Archdiocesan high schools and parochial elementary schools will be on a two-hour delay
Plenty of attractions around the region including the Philadelphia Zoo and Please Touch Museum also closed due to the icy conditions.
More than 500 flights combined were canceled at Philadelphia and Pittsburgh international airports.
Speed limits were reduced to 45 mph on many interstates and expressways in eastern Pennsylvania. I-84 was closed to trucks and empty trailers, while towed trailers, buses, RVs and motorcycles are banned from roadways with speed restrictions. The restriction was later lifted.
Ahead of the storm municipalities declared states of emergency (Philly lifted its snow emergency at 1 p.m.) and made "Code Blue" declarations. Philadelphia, Reading and other municipalities also canceled trash pickup -- Philly told residents to hold trash for next week's regular pickup. Philadelphia did expect city employees to report for work around 10 a.m.
While the snow has moved out, frigid temperatures moved in. We'll see bitter cold temperatures overnight into Wednesday morning with highs in the 20s and wind chills in the single digits. The colder temperatures are leading to a re-freeze causing dangerous road conditions.
The bitter cold temperatures will last for the rest of the week.
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