As the blizzard begins to unleash its furry, all Chicago public school after school programs and city college evening classes have been canceled today, and all public schools and city colleges will be closed tomorrow. All neighborhood Early Voting sites also will be closed. Chicago Park District facilities, however, will remain open.
The City also has invoked its rarely-used 2″ snow parking ban, which restricts parking on main arterial streets designated as snow routes. If you are parked on a thoroughfare marked with a red and blue 2″ parking ban sign, you must remove your vehicle immediately or face a $60 ticket and having your car towed and relocated to a nearby parking lot. For a photo of the 2″ parking ban sign, CLICK HERE or scroll to the bottom of this e-mail.
The 2″ ban is a matter of public safety and allows the City to clear streets more quickly. Drivers who normally park their cars on these affected streets should find a legal parking spot on a side street or a private parking lot or garage. Once the arterial streets have been cleared of snow curb to curb, motorists can park their cars once again on the main arterial streets, subject to the usual parking restrictions.
Even if more than two inches of snow accumulates during a snowstorm, the 2″ ban does not go into effect until the City makes an official announcement. This is the first time in five years that the 2″ snow ban has been invoked.
Below is a list of streets in the 49th ward where the parking ban is now in effect:
Ashland Boulevard (south of Rogers)
Howard (west of Rogers)
Pratt Boulevard (between Ashland and Sheridan)
Rogers Avenue (west of Sheridan)
Touhy Avenue (west of Ridge)
In addition to plowing the streets, City of Chicago laborers will be working 12-hour shifts beginning tomorrow clearing snow from intersection crosswalks throughout the ward. We ask that when you shovel your walk or clear snow from your car, pile the snow in the parkway. Never shovel snow in the street.
A Blizzard Warning is now in effect and the forecast from the National Weather Service remains the same. Between now and 9 p.m., snow is expected to fall at a rate of one to two inches an hour. The worst snowfall should arrive between 9 p.m. this evening and 5 a.m. tomorrow morning. During that period, snowfall is expected to fall at the rate of three to four inches an hour. Winds are expected to increase to 40-50 miles per hour inland, and 50-60 miles per hour near the lake.
In addition, lake effect snow will start Wednesday morning and may add up to an additional six inches of snow. Total accumulation in the City is expected to be anywhere from 16 to 24 inches, which will make this one of the largest snowfalls in Chicago history.
A Lakeshore Flood Warning is also in effect from 6 p.m. this evening until Wednesday afternoon. Thirty to 40 mile per hour winds with gusts up to 60 miles per hour at the shore is expected to create 14 to 18 foot waves with occasional waves up to 25 feet. According to the National Weather Service, residents on or near the shore should be alert for rising water and take appropriate action to protect life and property.
My staff and I will be on call throughout the storm and will check our office voice mail periodically throughout the night to address any urgent issues that may arise. Make sure you call 911 if you experience a true emergency.
I will continue to keep you posted as the storm continues.