In a few hours, Harrisburg will be under a snow emergency, as a pending storm threatens to pound the area with more than a foot of snow.
Harrisburg Mayor Eric Papenfuse announced the emergency during a morning press conference, stating that all cars must clear out of snow emergency routes starting at 6 p.m. tonight. The snow emergency extends until 6 a.m. on Wednesday.
Snow emergency routes tend to be main arteries in the city, such as 2nd Street, Division Street, State Street, Walnut Street and Paxton Street.
City residents can park for free in the Locust Street Garage starting at 6 p.m. today until 8 a.m. on Wednesday.
Separately, Gov. Tom Wolf declared a disaster emergency for much of the commonwealth, restricting speeds on highways and deploying snow removal resources to the eastern part of the state. Both state and city government offices will be closed tomorrow in Harrisburg for all non-essential personnel. In addition, the city has imposed “liberal leave” for Wednesday.
City sanitation services will be suspended both Tuesday and Wednesday.
During last year’s blizzard, residents of some of Harrisburg’s narrowest streets complained that the city did not properly communicate with them that their cars had to be moved so the road could be plowed. This year, the city has made special arrangements for residents of Penn Street and Zarker Street.
In addition to the Locust Street Garage, residents of Penn Street can park in the HACC Midtown parking lot No. 5, the Fire Museum or City Island. Zarker Street residents can park in the Locust Street Parking Garage, the Old Hamilton Health Center parking lot on Walnut Street behind the school district Administration Building, the Tiny Fingers Tiny Toes Daycare parking lot at 2023 Market St. and City Island.
Currently, a Winter Storm Warning is in effect for the entire Harrisburg area, beginning at 8 p.m. and extending through 10 p.m. on Tuesday. The National Weather Service is forecasting 16 to 20 inches of snow for the area, with up to 2 feet possible. Sustained winds also will be strong at 10 to 20 mph, with gusts of 25 to 30 mph, which will cause blowing and drifting of snow.
If the storm is even worse than expected, Papenfuse said that the city may extend the snow emergency.