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Philadelphia Braces For ‘One-Two Punch’ From Winter Storm

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It is not just snow we are dealing with tonight, bitterly cold temperatures are on the way as well.

That means shelters will be opened and taking in the homeless.

The first part of the battle starts here at the Hunting Park Street Department yard, with the salt and trucks, but after that the dual threat, the very dangerous cold. And that is a threat that city officials and homeless advocates are taking very seriously tonight.

Fire department units and PGW workers were busy checking out a gas leak inside an unoccupied home, opening windows and using fans, as neighbors in two nearby homes were temporarily evacuated as a precaution.

“It’s very strong. It made me alert, woke my family up, told them to come outside too,” a resident said.

These same crews expected to work even harder as temperatures begin plunging.

“We get lots of calls during this time of year, so we want to encourage everybody in anticipation of this cold snap to make sure their carbon monoxide detectors are up and tested,” PGW spokesperson Doug Oliver said.

Oliver urging residents to stay warm safely.

“Don’t use stoves, don’t use barbecue grills, those sorts of things because they pose a dangerous hazard,” he said.

For the homeless, some already huddling along Logan Circle. The record cold could prove potentially deadly.

“Under these conditions it is just dangerous, it could be frostbite or life threatening situation,” Dave Stier, Operations Manager of St. John’s Shelter said.

Workers here at St. John’s shelter busy happening out donated jackets, ready to provide heat and protection at their facility, while teams citywide under a Code Blue alert, now empowered with police to remove those deemed to be in deadly danger.

But before the cold comes salt, and then snow. 180 city trucks now busy brining and pre-salting roadways in a storm that will hold special challenges.

“I think it will be the drifting. It’s supposed to be high winds coming with this and it will be a fluffier snow, so a street that looks like we have done already will look like we have to be not even out there doing them,” a Streets Department spokesperson said.

If you are expecting trash hauling in the city tomorrow, forget it.

Sanitation crews are performing double duty as plows will be mounted to Sanitation trucks to assist with snow fighting operations.

Residents that have normal Thursday collections are requested to hold their trash and recycling until next Thursday. Residents that have normal Friday collections are advised that their trash and recycling will be collected on Saturday.

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