Philadelphia and suburbs prepare for winter storm

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A snow emergency is in effect in Philadelphia. (WPVI)

One by one, large trucks at the highway yard in Juniata Park filed in to fill up on salt and brine Monday night, ready to hit the roads by midnight.

People in South Philadelphia seemed to move around with a sense of urgency, stocking up and preparing for the impending snowstorm.

Snow shovel racks were cleared and piles of salt quickly shrunk.

City officials weren't sugar coating things.

"Due to the severity of the expected conditions, we encourage the public to avoid all non-essential travel," Streets Commissioner Carlton Williams said.

SEPTA says, because of the storm, buses will be operating on weather related detours and Regional Rails will run on Saturday schedules.

"This is a very fluid situation and close to the tipping point for SEPTA to make additional service suspensions," SEPTA General Manager Jeff Knueppel said.

Mayor Jim Kenney asked that the public do their part.

"Even if you get your car out of the street and the other primary and secondary streets aren't plowed, you're not going anywhere, so rather than clog up plowing operations, walk to the supermarket," Kenney said.

And though small side streets will be the last to be plowed, those in South Philadelphia are prepared for what always comes with a major storm like this.

"My car getting hit. As you notice everybody puts their mirrors in here, so it's going to be interesting to see whether or not I have a couple of dings and dents in my car," South Philadelphia resident Christian Auch said.

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PennDOT was preparing for the snowstorm.



For this storm, it's all hands on deck for PennDOT.

"We are deploying every truck that we have in our contracts and in our department forces groups, which is in excess of 400 trucks," PennDOT Regional Maintenance Manager Tony Goreski said.

The nor'easter is expected to dump several inches an hour at the height of the storm and while PennDot says it'll be ready, roads will be snow covered at times. That's why Governor Tom Wolf announced speed restrictions on Pennsylvania's major highways and roads.

"The speed restrictions on area highways are expected to go into effect after 10 p.m. and these speeds on the highway will be reduced to 45 mph," Goreski said.

Inside Lowes in Plymouth Meeting, people were scooping up salt and other supplies.

"I was looking for the brush for the car, but it's gone, so I am going to get a shovel and some salt," Karen Haley of Conshohocken said.

Casey Kallam of Gulph Mills bypassed the shovel selection and went right for the snow blowers. The heavy equipment is needed for a storm like this one.

"If it's going to be 12-18, don't want to throw my back out. I can do the in-laws', get it all done," Kallem said.

Mike Rinker of Lowes said his store sold approximately 18 to 20 snow blowers. Spring is next week.

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Allentown residents stock up for the storm.



Meanwhile, it was all hands on deck for Allentown's Street Department as they are responsible for keeping 1,500 lane miles clear.



"This is going to be a fairly significant snow event; we're looking at winds up to 40mph, so blizzard conditions," Mayor Ed Pawlowski said.

At Lowes in Allentown, salt was scarce. Snow blowers and shovels were sold out by early Monday evening.

Some were so desperate they resorted to gardening tools.

"They are all out of shovels, it looks like I have to buy a cheap metal one," Allentown resident Robert Salbino said.

Allentown is under a snow emergency and residents are bracing for the worst.

"We've been very busy. We've had a lot of calls from people prepping for the storm," Jeff Drease of Elek Plumbing said.

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