By Howard Monroe

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A major snowstorm is coming to town, and road crews are gearing up for significant snowfall, a weather event the region hasn’t seen in nearly two years. Eyewitness News was at a PennDOT salt yard in South Philly on Wednesday morning as the crews continue with their snow preps.

The good thing is the city has enough salt — that’s thanks to virtually no winter weather events last year, but while they have the equipment and salt, they’re asking residents for some patience.

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“Be patient, understand that we’re on the job until the job is done,” George Sharretts, director of Newton Square Public Works, said. “Let us do it and we’ll be there.”

A plea for patience as the area pivots from pandemic to powerful snowstorm. Crews have been working to get the equipment ready and roads treated for a storm that could bring heavy snow to Philadelphia and all of its surrounding areas.

“Let us get out there and make the roads as safe as we can,” Sharretts said. “Try to stay off the road as much as you possibly can. And again, we always encourage people be patient with us.”

The work began on Tuesday with crews preparing equipment and loading trucks with salt.

Philadelphia has 100 pieces of equipment to help clear the roads. In some areas, crews are holding off on pre-treating roads because if the storm begins as rain, the salt will just be washed away. As for the crews, they are preparing for a 24-hour shift when they show up for work Wednesday.

Crews are asking you to stay off the roads and most of all, be patient.

“Our crews will continue snow operations until all conditions are safe for travel,” Tumar Alexander, the city’s managing director, said. “However, this storm is expected to bring heavy snow and heavy winds. Residents should be mindful of falling tree limbs and possible power and signal outages. Our goal is to make all roads passable and return the city to normal operations as quickly as possible.”

Officials are asking you to be like Frank Juliano and stay home.

“I’m working from home so it doesn’t inconvenience me anymore,” Juliano said. “I used to hate when snow came, but now I’m into it.”

Excitement is building for what’s expected to be the first snowstorm in nearly two years for Philadelphia.

“It’s winter. It’s what it’s supposed to do,” Amanda Horlacher, of South Philadelphia, said. “I’m actually excited for the snow. It hasn’t snowed in a while.”

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The last-minute mad-dash at the Acme in Snyder Plaza in South Philadelphia was in full effect on Wednesday morning as residents prepared to hunker down.

“You don’t know if it’s going to be all rain, partial rain, snow so I’m just trying to prepare as much as I can,” South Philly resident Jacqui Wright said.

Just as they did at the start of the pandemic, people in Newton Square flooded grocery stores for essentials, but this time, it wasn’t for toilet paper and disinfectant wipes.

“It’s crazy in there and you knew it would be,” Cass Benedetto, a shopper, said. “The bread and milk are flying off the shelves.”

Meanwhile, at Fairmount Hardware in Philadelphia, it’s shovels and salt that are hard to come by. It’s the first major snowstorm in the city in nearly two years.

“The last time I’ve seen some snow was like 2018,” Brewerytown resident Eric Summers said. “Significant snow. So I’m just preparing for it.”

“I grew up in New England, so this is nostalgic for me,” Jake Jackson, of Fishtown, said. “It’s been very weird to spend the last few winters here without any snow.”

City officials are reminding residents that while they’re clearing their roads, driveways and sidewalks that they should not put it into the street since that is illegal. It is also illegal to put any objects in the streets to help save your parking spots.

The city says it will clear primary and secondary roads first, and then smaller residential streets.


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