By CBS3 Staff

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A snow emergency is in effect in Philadelphia. Crews are out in force trying to stay ahead of the storm and people are being urged to stay home and off the roads.

“We encourage all residents to stay home if they can as commuting will become very difficult throughout this event. If you must venture outside, we urge caution to all motorists and pedestrians,” Philadelphia Managing Director Tumar Alexander said.

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LATEST EYEWITNESS WEATHER FORECAST

Call it a major snowstorm or a winter weather blast. This Nor’easter dumping plenty of snow throughout Philadelphia and our region is best described by one last-minute shopper.

“I think it’s terrible,” said Jean Perry-El.

But despite the whipping winds, blowing snow and freezing temperatures Perry-El and others still trekked to a South Philly Acme to get some last-minute forgotten necessities.

Inside, shoppers picked through the shelves and Shauna Green, who works at the store, has this theory behind why folks were still shopping even during the storm.

“They probably didn’t expect all of this and it probably always happens that way, so I’m just assuming that oh well, last-minute thing. Let’s hurry up and do it and get back to the house,” Green said.

The Philadelphia Streets Department began brining snow emergency routes and secondary roads on Sunday and that operation is continuing as the storm barrels down on the city.

With snow expected to fall for more than 36 hours, the city has declared a snow emergency.

That means parking is restricted from dedicated snow emergency routes throughout Philadelphia.

Eyewitness News cameras were rolling as Philadelphia Parking Authority tow trucks removed vehicles from one such route on Washington Avenue.

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“With 450 pieces of equipment, including support from other city agencies and private contractors have been mobilized, crews began brining over the weekend and we have 50,000 tons of salt available for this event,” said Philadelphia Streets Department Commissioner Carlton Williams.

Most of the city’s residents mobilized at home.

Though one woman said she decided to get out for a walk, a decision she quickly regretted because of the conditions of the roadways and sidewalks.

Hundreds of trucks will continue salting and plowing city streets as the multi-layered mix of sleet and snow makes for a more difficult approach.

“This has been a very difficult forecast and we’re not really sure what today will hold,” Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel said.

The city’s Emergency Operations Center remains activated and officials are urging residents to stay home to allow for the safe removal of snow and ice from city streets.

Sanitation trucks are being used to help plow the snow, so trash pickup will be delayed until next week.

CBS3’s Natasha Brown and Greg Argos contributed to this report.

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