A 23-year-old man was clinging to life early Wednesday morning after police say he was wounded twice in a hail of at least 40 bullets -- many from an assault rifle -- on a street in Nicetown Tuesday night.

The gunfire erupted on Wingohocking Street near 19th shortly before 10 p.m., according to Chief Inspector Scott Small. The victim was hit in the left side of his chest and his leg, Small said, and was taken in a private vehicle to Temple University Hospital, where investigators said doctors had to crack his chest in an effort to save him.

Around 12:30 a.m., the man was still alive, but remained in extremely critical condition, Small said.

"He's in really bad shape," he added.

At the scene, 43 yellow evidence markers spanned Wingohocking Street where police found shell casings and bullet fragments, most of which they said were from 7.26 rounds likely fired with an AK-47 assault rifle. The other rounds, police said, appeared to be from a 9mm or .40-caliber handgun.

"I'm surprised only one person is hit," a cop at the scene said as crime-scene investigators scoured the trash-strewn block for additional evidence.

Small said two bullets went through a first-floor window of a house on 19th Street, where a 91-year-old woman was asleep in bed at the time of the shooting. Both flew over her and went into the opposite wall, cops said. She was uninjured.

Despite the cold, some neighbors who'd heard the gunfire came onto their porches as police investigated the shooting.

"It sounded like they were in my motherf---ing kitchen," one woman said from her porch near Wingohocking Street.

Another neighbor who did not want to be identified by name walked up to the scene shaking her head.

"This neighborhood is horrible," she said. "All those bullet casings out here. Are you serious?"

Investigators said four cars were also hit by gunfire.

Cops were unsure what led to the shooting, but said the block is known for drug activity. As of early Wednesday, no surveillance cameras were found in the area.