It looks like it’s going to be another harsh winter in “Chiberia,” and city officials are gearing up for plummeting temperatures and heavy snowfall while advising Chicagoans on how to best prepare for the frightful weather.
The executive director of the city’s office of emergency management, Richard Guidice, said Monday the city expects areas of “deep cold” and the “potential for above average precipitation” this winter.
“Basically, your typical Chicago winter,” he said.
With that in mind, the city is preparing for the frigid months with 425,000 tons of salt and 300 plows and other vehicles to help remove snow and ice, including 20 new salt spreaders.
“When you’re on the roads, obviously we encourage everyone to drive carefully and considerately if you have to go out, but please listen to the city alerts,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said.
On Monday, Lightfoot also touted the city’s new massive salt dome. The facility, located at 2555 W. Grand Ave., is 250 feet in diameter and can hold up to 60,000 tons of salt.
Beyond a nuisance, the low winter temperatures and heavy snowfall can be dangerous, Lightfoot said.
When temperatures fall to 32 degrees or below, the city will activate warming areas at its six community service centers. Most centers will be open on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., but hours will be extended during extreme temperatures. The Garfield Community Service Center at 10 S. Kedzie Ave. is open 24/7 to connect families and residents to emergency shelters.
The city’s Department of Family and Support Services will also be making wellness checks to the elderly and unsheltered residents throughout the winter.
Officials urge the public to call 311 if they see someone trying to survive the cold on the street, or if they know of a friend or relative who may need assistance during the extreme temperatures.
“That simple call can save someone’s life,” said Brandie Knazze, the department’s commissioner.
Additionally, starting Wednesday, Dec. 1 the city’s annual overnight parking ban goes into effect.
The ban will be enforced from 3 to 7 a.m. daily through April 1, regardless of snowfall amounts. It will impact approximately 107 miles of city streets, and signs are permanently posted along the affected routes.
A separate snow-related parking ban exists for another 500 miles of Chicago roads and can be activated after there are at least two inches of snow on the street, no matter the time of day or date.
Drivers who do not comply with the city’s overnight parking risk a minimum $150 towing fee, a $60 ticket and a storage fee of $25 per day.
While Lightfoot encouraged everyone to seek shelter indoors during the cold, she advised Chicagoans to continue to take appropriate precautions against COVID.
“You need to remain diligent when you’re indoors,” the mayor said.