PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — The Philadelphia region is bracing for another winter storm that will likely have an impact on the Tuesday morning commute for a large part of the region.
Winter weather warnings and advisories are in effect across the region as the system comes together overnight Monday.
Everyone will see rain at first, but a blast of cold air will mean a changeover to snow.
The heaviest wet snow falls from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., with rates up to 1″ per hour. This will overcome the warm ground and allow snow to stick making for slushy/slick driving conditions for I-95 and areas northwest.
The snow ends around midday and even some peaks of sun for the mid to late afternoon Tuesday. With temps up in the 40s, roads will quickly improve for the afternoon hours and the evening rush should feature mainly wet roads.
How PennDOT is preparing
“We’ve been a little spoiled lately,” said PennDOT District 5 spokesperson Ron Young, talking about the lack of snow in the Lehigh Valley over the past couple of years.
But, as always, road crews are ready to contend with whatever this storm system delivers to the region.
“For this storm, it looks like all the weather predictions are showing that it’s going to start out as rain. So, we didn’t do much pre-treating of the roads because that would’ve gotten washed away,” said Young.
PennDOT will have 275 trucks on standby to hit the roads as soon as the rain switches to snow.
How Lehigh Valley is preparing for February snowstorm
Ken Ringer, the owner of Albright Hardware in Allentown, says his shop is ready as well. The store has been selling salt, shovels and even snowblowers at a steady clip.
But he admits the lack of snow last winter hurt the business.
“It must be a third of the business,” he says. “And we look forward to snowfalls and that there but the past few years there hasn’t been any amount of snow or anything.”
Preparation is key — that’s why Kiersten Cash is stocking up on ice melt ahead of the winter storm.
“I’m not waiting till the last minute. I’m hoping we don’t get a storm at all,” she said.
Peggy Meikrantz of Allentown says, “I have my shovels. I don’t have a snowblower but I have my Subaru, so I can get around pretty quick.”
New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) issued a commercial vehicle travel restriction on multiple Interstate highways in New Jersey starting at 12 a.m. Tuesday. The restrictions do not apply to New Jersey Turnpike, Garden State Parkway, or Atlantic City Expressway.
School closings and delays
Dozens of schools in the region have announced closures or delays due to the storm.
The School District of Philadelphia will operate on a two-hour delay. All athletic events and after school activities will proceed as scheduled.
Archdiocesan high schools and parochial elementary school buildings in the city will be closed due to the storm. The Archdiocese says schools in the city will utilize a Flexible Instruction Day. Students and parents should refer to their local school website and look for updates from their local school administration for further details.
A full list of school closings and delays for Tuesday can be found at: 6abc.com/community/schoolclosings/
As always, keep the 6abc mobile app handy to receive real-time updates on traffic and the AccuWeather forecast.
AAA is reminding drivers to be aware of potholes. Heavy rain and other precipitation could camouflage the craters in the asphalt.
If you have to drive in the snow, AAA shared the following tips:
- Drive slowly. Always adjust your speed down to account for lower traction when driving on snow or ice.
- Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Apply the gas slowly to regain traction and avoid skids. Don’t try to get moving in a hurry and take time to slow down for a stoplight. Remember: It takes longer to slow down on icy roads.
- Increase your following distance to five to six seconds. This increased margin of safety will provide the longer distance needed if you have to stop.
- Know your brakes. Whether you have antilock brakes or not, keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal.
- Don’t stop if you can avoid it. There’s a big difference in the amount of inertia it takes to start moving from a full stop versus how much it takes to get moving while still rolling. If you can slow down enough to keep rolling until a traffic light changes, do it.
- Don’t power up hills. Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads will just make your wheels spin. Try to get a little inertia going before you reach the hill and let that inertia carry you to the top. As you reach the crest of the hill, reduce your speed and proceed downhill slowly.
- Don’t stop going up a hill. There’s nothing worse than trying to get moving up a hill on an icy road. Get some inertia going on a flat roadway before you take on the hill.
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