Despite some recent spring-like temperatures andPunxsutawneyPhil not having seen his shadow, winter is about to hit Philadelphia — and the rest of the Northeast — with a wallop.
Winter Storm Stella could drop as much as 16 inches of snow on Philly, starting overnight Monday and going into Tuesday, meteorologists said.
In response, a snow emergency is in effect as of 9 p.m., Monday, and public schools will be closed on Tuesday.
City officials say despite a mobilization of manpower and equipment, motorists are urged to stay off the roads.
"It's always aninconvenience," Mayor Jim Kenney said of the comingsnowfall. “It’s alwayssomething we didn’t want, midway through March, but I think we’ll be okay.”
Kenney urged people toexercise "common sense,” avoid driving to nearby businesses if they need anything. The mayor even suggested staying home entirely.
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“Don’t go out if you don’t have to,” Kenney advised. “Make some soup.”
Stella is not forecast to dump more snow than the 2016 blizzard of Jan. 23 to 24, when 22.4 inches of snow fell, making it the fourth biggest snowstorm in Philly history.
“There is a worst-case scenario forecast that has us closer to the 20-inch range,” said Samantha Phillips, executive director of the Philly Office of Emergency Management.
The Regional Rail will be operating Tuesday on a Saturday schedule, with no Cynwyd Line. Bus detours are considered likely depending on snowfall, and trolley service may be interrupted as well. The Market-Frankford and Broad Street lines are expected to be able to run uninterrupted on Tuesday.
All city and archdiocesan schools are closed.
Parking rules and time limits in permitted zones will be suspended during the storm. But cars parked onsnow emergency routes must be moved.
The Philly Police Department again took to social media to get the word out that the act of saving spaces is illegal. "Winter is coming," the police department wrote onTwitterunder the satirical hashtag #GameofCones, "and House Savesies is gathering an army. Playing the Game of Cones can lead to fines, so shovel and share. #NoSavesies
The police department urged neighbors who spots cones left in parking spaces to call 911.
“We will continue to fight the storm until the streets are passable,” said Streets Department commissioner Carlton Williams.