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Mid-Atlantic Survives The 'Snowmageddon'

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The huge winter storm that's come to be known as 'Snowmageddon' and the 'Snowpocalypse' is over. Now the 'Big Dig' begins. The blizzard dumped more than two feet of snow in parts of the Mid-Atlantic states. Hundreds of thousands of people are without power, roofs collapsed and tree limbs snapped under the weight of the snow. At least two deaths are blamed on storm. Travel is a mess, and below freezing temperatures will cause icy road conditions for days. Host Liane Hansen talks to reporter Susan Phillips of WHYY in Philadelphia about the snowstorm.

LIANE HANSEN, host:

The huge winter storm that's come to be known as "Snowmageddon" and the "Snowpocalypse" is over. Now, the big dig begins. The blizzard dumped more than two feet of snow in parts of the mid-Atlantic states. Hundreds of thousands of people are without power. Roofs collapsed and tree limbs snapped under the weight of the snow. At least two deaths are blamed on the storm. Travel is a mess, and below-freezing temperatures will cause icy road conditions for days.

For more, we're joined on the phone by reporter Susan Phillips of member station WHYY in Philadelphia. Hi, Susan.

SUSAN PHILLIPS: Hi, Liane.

HANSEN: We in Washington were hit with more than 30 inches of snow. What's the latest from your area?

PHILLIPS: We have 28 and a half inches recorded at the airport here - which is, you know, that's more than we often get in one season. And it's the second-highest snowfall recorded in 126 years.

HANSEN: Yeah, historic. Did you go to the grocery store before the weekend to stock up on, you know, bread and toilet paper?

PHILLIPS: I didn't. I actually went yesterday. And I think the problem right now is it's still so cold that the streets and the sidewalks are getting iced over.

HANSEN: What areas and services appear to be hardest hit?

PHILLIPS: Well, Philadelphia got a lot of snow and then, of course, the suburbs and other parts of western Pennsylvania. And the services right now, the commuter lines, the commuter rail lines, the buses, the trolleys, the trains, are back in action this morning. But yesterday, you know, commuters were left to themselves as to how they could get to work.

HANSEN: A lot of walking or staying home, right?

PHILLIPS: That's right.

HANSEN: Tell us, Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell declared a statewide emergency to help smooth operations. Do you know when services are expected to return?

PHILLIPS: Well, I just spoke to the head of the city's Office of Emergency Management, and she says the goal is to have everything back to normal by tomorrow morning - that's Monday morning. They're still out clearing the streets, clearing some of the secondary and tertiary, residential streets. But their, you know, their goal is to get everything back moving on a regular basis Monday.

HANSEN: Yeah. I mean, you've got highways going through the city of Philadelphia, you've got those little side streets. I mean, can you predict what commuters and others can expect tomorrow, Monday?

PHILLIPS: Well, it's hard to predict. But, you know, just walking around, they did this morning and last night, I walked around a bit, and the major arterials through the city seem to be cleared and passable. The highways are clear. I know I-95 is clear. So, you know, they had a go-around about, you know, a month and a half ago in December, when there was about 23 inches that hit the city. And again, that was on a Saturday, so it did give them sort of - it was a blessing, in some respects, because they did have the space and the time to clear the streets. And I think it's a similar situation this time around.

HANSEN: Susan Phillips of member station WHYY in Philadelphia. Thank you, Susan. Stay warm and dry.

PHILLIPS: Thank you.

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