PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia’s snow emergency declaration has been lifted as crews are continuing their push to clear streets as quickly as possible. The days-long winter storm pummeled the area with several inches of snow.
“We had the melting pot and the storm of all storms. We had a combination of everything,” Philadelphia Streets Department Commissioner Carlton Williams said. “We had freezing rain, hail, we had snow that came down immediately at cold temperatures, and we had blustery conditions, so it was one of the most challenging storms that we ever faced in the department.”READ MORE: 'A Game Changer': CDC Recommends Johnson & Johnson's 1-Dose COVID Vaccine, Paving Way For Distribution To Begin
More than 430 trucks have been tackling snow-covered city streets since Sunday. Fifteen to 20,000 tons of salt has already coated roadways and the snow removal process is far from over.
“Our primary and secondary streets are priority because of emergency vehicles, public transportation, people have to get to and from locations,” Williams said. “Now, residential locations, such as streets in South Philadelphia, North Philadelphia, and some in Germantown that are really small and tiny, almost 6 or 7 feet wide, we have to get small enough equipment to navigate through those streets.”
The multi-day, multi-layered storm has been daunting for streets department crews who converted sanitation trucks into snow plows, delaying trash and recyclables pickup for Monday and Tuesday by a week.
“Our plan tonight is to get those trucks back on sanitation duty after 6 p.m. tonight,” Philadelphia Managing Director Tumar Alexander said.
The winter storm dumped nearly 8 inches of snow in the city.
Folks got a head start shoveling before the temperature dropped Tuesday night. Eyewitness News caught up with residents who lent a helping hand to their neighbors and loved ones.
This isn’t the first day Michael Jaime has been digging out of South Philly. In fact, it’s the third.
He wanted to get a head start on what was to come, to clear not only his own sidewalk but his neighbors too.
“There’s a lot of elderly people on the block so what I try to do is lend a hand. I’m not looking for nothing,” Jaime said.
He even considers the trash collectors when shoveling the block. Jaime has lived in his South Philly neighborhood for 20 years and snow days are something he takes pride in.READ MORE: Irv Cross, Former Eagles Star DB And Pioneer Black Analyst, Dies At 81
“It’s one of the best things in life. Snow days, you get to shovel, you get to exercise, get out, breath some air,” Jaime said.
And some were just doing their responsibility as a son for a mother who happened to be snowed in.
“I was supposed to come yesterday but I was at work all of yesterday and she just asked me to come shovel. She usually does. So I came straight from work to shovel for her,” Warren Brown said.
It doesn’t cost anything to be kind. And in the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection, kindness can come in many forms, including that of a shovel.
“That’s what it’s about, the people. We all got to come together with all the crazy going on. We have to show that love for Philly is love for Philly,” Jaime said.
Trash and recycling collection will resume Wednesday. Residents should expect delays as crews navigate through the road conditions.
CBS3’s Natasha Brown and Kimberly Davis contributed to this report.
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