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Philly braces for Winter Storm Quinn

Another nor'easter is bearing down on Philadelphia as the city races to adequately prepare this time.
The Streets Department is sending out 400 pieces of equipment with 40,000 pounds of salt to fight snowy streets on Wednesday. (Kait Moore)

The brutal nor’easter that brought powerful winds to the Philadelphia region knocked out electricity for thousands, downed hundreds of trees, interrupted SEPTA service, shut down traffic signals and caused general commuting havoc as well as dense gridlock around the city. 

And according to forecasters, that was just an appetizer. The main course, Winter Storm Quinn, is expected to hit the region Wednesday.

Meteorologists predict that the storm will bring up to a foot of "heavy, wet" snow. While last week's storm caught the city off guard, officials are vowing to be ready this time around. In a warning to residents, emergency officials said to avoid transportation during the storm. 

Quinn will arrive as thousands in the Philadelphia area are still without power from last week's storm. As of Wednesday, approximately 10,000 customers were still without power across the Philadelphia region and throughout the suburbs. PECO has been working to restore power to those residents.

“[This storm] will be a significant event if the forecasts are to be taken entirely at their word,” Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management executive director Dan Bradley said on Tuesday afternoon at a City Hall storm preparedness press conference. “Let’s help each other take care of our communities.”

SEPTA snow storm preparations

The Broad Street and Market Frankford Lines will operate all day and night on Wednesday for “passenger convenience,” SEPTA said. But other transit lines are expected to see changes.

“SEPTA is urging customers to plan ahead, and if possible, avoid unnecessary travel as Winter Storm Quinn moves into the region late Tuesday evening into Wednesday,” SEPTA GM Jeffrey Kneuppel said in a statement. “The predicted heavy, wet snow and moderate wind gusts will impact SEPTA services on all modes of travel throughout the transit system.”

The Regional Rail will operate on a “Severe Storm Schedule,” a Saturday timetable with some adjustments. SEPTA will begin detouring buses on tight or hilly routes that have been historically impacted by snowstorms at 9 am Wednesday.

SEPTA plans to bring on additional staff to help address any unexpected issues, and will run pilot vehicles along trolley lines and the Norristown High-Speed Line overnight on Wednesday to keep tracks clear.

Visit septa.org/service/winter for the latest updates or call (215) 580-7800 with inquiries.

Expect more downed trees

The Departments of Parks and Recreation has received more than 520 tree emergency reports since Friday, and 80 workers have been working every day from 7 a.m. until dark to clear the downed trees, they said.

“Crews have not stopped working,” Parks & Recreation commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell said. “Crews said the tree damage from Friday’s storm is the worst they’ve seen in 20 years. We anticipate there will be even more tree emergencies after tomorrow’s storm.”

To report a downed tree, call 911 if it has fallen on a car, home or caused other danger. If it falls on electric wires, call PECO’s emergency line to report downed wires at 1-800-841-4141. For non-emergency fallen trees, call 311.

Need to know

The Streets Department is deploying more than 400 pieces of equipment and 800 employees armed with 40,000 tons of salt to fight snowy conditions on the roads.

Pet owners are required to bring animals inside, or face a $500 fine. Call ACCT Philly if you see any animals outside.

All Philadelphia municipal offices and city courts will be closed. Trash and recycling pickup will be canceled Wednesday and will take place Thursday, with remaining pickups delayed by one day. If you are scheduled to report for jury duty, you will be rescheduled. Critical court services will remain open. The Philadelphia Parking Authority will not enforce meter or zone violations on Wednesday. All inmate visits to Philly prisons are canceled on Wednesday.