City Braces for Severe Winter Storm to Hit Chicago
City Officials Maintain that Public Safety is Primary Concern
February 1, 2011 News Release
Mayor Richard M. Daley, city officials this afternoon provided the latest update regarding preparations for the impending snowstorm.
“The National Weather Service has issued a ‘blizzard warning,’ for our area, which remains in effect until 3 p.m. tomorrow,” said Mayor Richard M. Daley at the OEMC press conference. “As has been reported, we may be potentially dealing with a storm of historic magnitude, the likes of which we have not seen in decades. This means very large amounts of snow falling very quickly in waves and extremely strong winds, especially near the lake front.”
We urge residents to exercise common sense during the storm. Whether you’re commuting to work or shoveling snow, please be careful. We want to assure everyone that the City is doing everything we can to respond to this storm and we are as prepared as we can be for a storm of this size and scope,” said Mayor Daley. “I want to make clear that our first priority is public safety. We need to ensure that our major streets are clear and that emergency vehicles can get through.”
“The City of Chicago continues to track the path of the winter storm bearing down on the area,” said Jose A. Santiago, Executive Director, Office of Emergency Management and Communications. “The forecast from the National Weather Service remains the same in terms of the timing of the storm and the dangerous weather conditions expected to accompany the storm.” Santiago said:
Snowfall started afternoon, between 1 and 4 p.m. We expect to receive 1 to 2 inches of snow per hour
The worst snowfall should arrive between 9 p.m. this evening and 5 a.m. tomorrow morning.
During this time, snowfall is expected to be in the range of 3 to 4 inches per 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 6 inches of snow
Total accumulation in the City is expected to be as much as 1 ½ to 2 feet
In addition to snow, a Lakeshore Flood Watch is also in effect this evening to 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
The City has activated the Emergency Operations Center. The Emergency Operations Center will be staffed with representatives from all key city departments, and remain open as long as necessary.
The Department of Streets and Sanitation is prepared to use the whole fleet of 274 Snow Trucks and 120 garbage trucks with quick hitch plows, to clear main routes and Lake Shore Drive as effectively as possible.
Due to safety concerns, Chicago Public Schools has canceled classes for tomorrow.
Chicago Public Schools has cancelled all after school programs yesterday including elementary and high school sports, driver’s education, extended day preschool (22 locations/700 students), and Park District/CPS after school programs.
All Central Office employees, principals, assistant principals, lunchroom managers, engineers, custodians and security personnel are required to report to school. Teachers, paraprofessionals and other staff will be excused. All administrative personnel in Area Offices will be required to report to work.
Based on the expectation of record snowfall and high winds during this storm, The City Colleges of Chicago made the decision to close all facilities, including the District Office downtown, at 2 pm today. Classes will resume Thursday, February 3rd.
There will be no classes or event at any CCC facility on Wednesday, February 2nd, including our two restaurants.
The FIVE daycare centers will be fully staffed today until the last child is picked up this evening. We operate daycare centers at Malcolm X College, Daley College, Truman, Olive Harvey and Kennedy-King College. Essential personnel will be at all of our facilities regardless of the weather.
CTA buses and trains will operate on a regular weekday schedule; however, CTA will run longer trains during the day to accommodate riders who decide to leave work early due to the storm. Normally, after rush hour, the CTA reduces the number of cars in each train.
The City’s six warming centers located within our Community Service Centers will be available to provide emergency, temporary shelter and supportive services for our most vulnerable residents. In addition to the Garfield Center, we will extend operations of two centers, North Area and King Center, to offer 24-hour assistance beginning tomorrow at 7 a.m. through Thursday at 5 p.m. All other centers will be open during regular hours of operation.
· Residents are encouraged to sign up to receive extreme weather alerts via phone, text and/or email from the Office of Emergency Management (OEMC)
· Go to www.alertchicago.com and click on “Notify Chicago.”
· Early Voting: ALL EARLY VOTING SITES IN CHICAGO'S WARDS WILL BE CLOSED ON WED., FEBRUARY 2, 2011.
· On Wed., Feb. 2, the only Early Voting site in Chicago that will be open will be at the Election Board offices at 69 W. Washington St. on the Lower Level from 9 am to 5 pm. Visit the Board of Election website here.
City Officials Discuss Snowstorm Preparations
Currently, airlines at O’Hare are reporting delays of 30 minutes or more and have canceled over 1,300 flights today to minimize delays and stranded passengers. Over the next few hours, most of the airlines will stop operating flights at O’Hare for the remainder of the evening. Three more international flights may be arriving at O’Hare this evening.
At Midway, airlines have canceled operations for the remainder of today.
Most of the airlines at O’Hare have indicated they will have limited or no operations tomorrow.
City officials also issued the following reminders:
Drivers need to slow down and yield to emergency vehicles, including police vehicles, fire trucks,ambulances, and snow plows.
Landlords are reminded that they are required to provide heat for tenants at 68 degrees during the day and 66 degrees at night.
Any resident suffering without heat or in need of shelter should call 311 immediately for assistance or transportation to a warming center.
With more than 4,000 beds available in 60 shelters across the city, and the capacity to add more beds as needed, there is no reason for anyone to sleep outdoors or in a cold house or apartments
Residents can also use Police District Stations and Fire Stations as safe havens from the cold and snow.
Check on the well being of relatives, friends and neighbors, especially the elderly. If you can’t check on them yourself, then please call 311 to request a well being check.
Residents are encouraged to sign up to receive extreme weather alerts via phone, text and/or email from the Office of Emergency Management (OEMC)Go to www.alertchicago.com and click on “Notify Chicago.”
Early Voting: ALL EARLY VOTING SITES IN CHICAGO'S WARDS WILL BE CLOSED ON WED., FEBRUARY 2, 2011.
On Wed., Feb. 2, the only Early Voting site in Chicago that will be open will be at the Election Board offices at 69 W. Washington St. on the Lower Level from 9 am to 5 pm. Visit the Board of Election website here.