Although the winter weather forecast for Philadelphia may be messy and travel difficult, city-dwellers often come up with unique solutions to the daily challenges of the coldest season. Here are the top six things you can expect when frozen precipitation hits the area.
Safety is a priority when it comes to young children, so expect school to be closed when travel becomes treacherous. All area school districts build snow days into their calendars, meaning cabin fever can occur when we’re hit with a rash of severe storms. Snow and ice storms also can result in late school openings or early closings across the region. Safe transportation is essential for your kids, so it’s a good idea to work with neighbors to put an emergency plan in place in the event that schools close before work.
SEPTA Delays and Icy Rails
Philadelphia’s buses, subways, and regional rails are incredibly convenient and usually run very close to their posted schedules. Yet when bad weather causes slippery rails or power outages hit the SEPTA grid, the whole system can be affected. If you absolutely need to be somewhere by a certain time on a wintry weather morning, consider building extra time into your commute.
Tons of Road Salt
If you choose to drive to work on winter mornings, be prepared for slow-moving plow trains clearing the region’s highways. Road salt and brine is everywhere this time of year, covering cars and being tracked inside homes and businesses. Learning to drive in snow and ice is a practiced skill, so if you’ve never had to do it before, remember to drive slowly and triple your normal distance between your car and the one in front of you.
Even with all the transportation hassles, winter fun is everywhere in Philadelphia. People flock to the city’s ice skating rinks, and areas like Belmont Plateau offer excellent hills for sledding. If you like to ski, snowboard, or snow tube, the Pocono Mountains are within driving distance.
Philadelphians love to stock up. The instant a local weather forecaster announces a potential storm is moving our way, we all run to the grocery store and Home Depot to clear out the staples. So if you’re shopping for bread or milk and find only empty shelves, check the weather forecast for Philadelphia — it’s a sure sign that a blizzard’s on the way. Or if you decide to buy a new shovel or rock salt and can’t find any left in the store, you can probably expect 10 inches of snow in your near future.
Late-Winter Temperature Fluctuations
After surviving Philadelphia’s average high temps only in the low forties for January and February, when the calendar flips to March, you might be ready to heave a sigh of relief. With average highs in the low 50s, March temperatures can be mild in the Philly region, but this month still brings with it a good chance of snow — so as tempting as the thought may be, it’s best not to put away the winter jackets after one day of relatively warm, sunny weather.
Once the excitement of the first snowfall fades, Philadelphians settle in for the long haul of winter weather. This time of year, when the hours of daylight decrease and we spend more time indoors, the pace of life can slow down, allowing us to catch up on a few good books or movies.
Image Source: Flickr/Ezra Wolfe