The City of Chicago is bracing for a winter snowstorm beginning this afternoon.
The National Weather Service issued a Blizzard Warning, calling it a “potentially life threatening winter storm.” Snow accumulations in excess of a foot are expected throughout the Chicago area with localized totals in excess of 20 inches likely, especially near the lake.
The storm is expected to be accompanied by blowing snow and strong winds, which can lead to whiteout conditions and make travel very dangerous. The heaviest snowfall is expected to arrive after 9 p.m. tonight and last until Wednesday morning. During this period, the City could experience snowfall accumulations of two to three inches per hour. The snow should end by Wednesday afternoon.
In addition to snow, a Lakeshore Flood Warning is also in effect from this evening to Wednesday afternoon. Thirty to forty mile per hour winds with gusts up to 60 mph at the shore is expected to create 14-18 foot waves with occasional waves up to 25 feet.
I will work closely with my Ward Superintendent Greg Wagner during the storm. His top priority will be to keep the arterial streets clear so that emergency vehicles can pass. If the storm is as fierce as predicted, it is highly unlikely the residential streets will receive any plowing until the storm has ended, and for a period of time, it may be impossible to navigate the side streets and alleys.
Once the storm has ended and the arterial streets are completely clear and passable, Greg will turn his attention to the residential streets. Only after all the streets are clear and passable, will the City be able to clear any snow from the alleys. This will be done on a priority basis with the worst alleys receiving attention first. Given that temperatures are expected to remain well below freezing for the rest of the week, this may take a few days. I appreciate your patience and understanding.
I urge you to prepare for the coming storm by ensuring you have adequate and appropriate supplies at your home and work. That way, if you need to remain indoors for the next few days, you will be prepared.
I will update you through e-mail if circumstances change.
This storm will make things harder on all of us. However, rest assured the City is doing everything it can to prepare for a storm of this magnitude.