PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Among the biggest challenges that Wednesday morning commuters were facing were the steps from the front door to the street or driveway. Then, for drivers, it was a coating of ice on the car that needed to be scraped off.
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Philadelphia Public and Archdiocesan schools opened two hours late on Wednesday. Public school personnel were expected to report at their regular time.
Many areas of the Delaware Valley were very, very slippery early this morning. Sidewalks, parking lots, driveways and steps were often a sheet of ice, making walking and driving hazardous.
Untreated side streets, rural and secondary roads were also treacherous. Dozens of accidents, mostly fender-benders, were being reported. Adding to the dangers for drivers, tree limbs came down in some roadways, and areas with power outages had non-working traffic lights.
The state departments of transportation in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware had hundreds of salt trucks in action, as did the City of Philadelphia.
The main highways and interstates were mostly slushy and wet, according to PennDOT spokesman Gene Blaum, who urged drivers to take it slow and use extra caution.
In addition to icing, many storm drains are clogged, resulting in ponding near intersections and in low-lying areas. The eastbound lanes of the Schuylkill Expressway were closed at Gulph Mills about 5 a.m. because of flooding; the left hand lane was reopened about 20 minutes later.
SEPTA‘s Route 101 Media and Route 102 Sharon Hill trolley lines were not running at the start of the morning due to weather-related conditions. Both resumed by 8 a.m.
In addition, SEPTA said its Regional Rails were operating in most cases, but commuters should expect delays up to 30 minutes. The Trenton line was suspended for a couple of hours due to Amtrak’s power problems (see below) and was restored about 7 a.m., then suspended again about 9:45 a.m. The Lansdale-Doylestown line was running only between Center City and the Colmar station, due to downed overhead wires.
More information is at septa.org.
At Philadelphia International Airport, officials said air travelers should expect delays and cancellations due to weather conditions both locally and nationwide. Many airports around the nation have either limited activity or are closed entirely. The FAA was urging air travelers to check with their airline.
Philadelphia travelers can go to the airport’s web site, PHL.org.
Amtrak suspended service between Philadelphia and Harrisburg, and its Northeast Corridor service between Philadelphia and New York was also suspended for a time due to problems with overhead power lines (see related story).
PECO, the electric utility, was reporting about 100,000 customers in Chester, Delaware, Bucks, and Montgomery counties without power. In New Jersey, PSE&G said it had 3,100 outages in South Jersey and many thousands more in North Jersey. PECO said repair crews hope to restore the majority of customers to normal service by Thursday evening but readily admits that some customers may be without power until sometime Friday (see related story).
Reported by Al Novack and Ed Fischer, KYW Newsradio 1060.