CHICAGO — Chicago officials are using lessons learned from the Groundhog Day Blizzard of 2011 as it braces for Tuesday's big snowfall.
After the 2011 storm, stranded cars on Lake Shore Drive made the city look like the setting of an apocalyptic movie. Several accidents snarled northbound traffic as the blizzard hit, and cars were unable to move or turn around. After sitting in their cars for hours, people abandoned them on the Drive.
In the aftermath of the blizzard, the city cut two breaks in the Drive's concrete median and installed temporary walls that can be removed in an emergency. The removable barriers were put near Schiller Street and Fullerton Avenue.
The temporary wall at Schiller was taken down in preparation for Tuesday's big snowfall, a precaution to allow emergency responders to get to the scenes of potential accidents, Streets and Sanitation Department spokeswoman Anne Sheahan said.
A city vehicle was at the Schiller median break Tuesday morning, ready to be revved into action should an emergency occur. The barriers are managed by the city's Transportation Department, Sheahan said.
The city began salting roads early Tuesday morning, and again when snow began, Sheahan said.
A winter storm warning issued by the National Weather Service alerted the area of rapidly falling snow, high winds up to 25 mph, and blowing snow. Snow could amount to 10 inches in some areas with up to 7 inches expected for the city, experts said.
About 1,000 flights were canceled ahead of the storm, according to the city's Aviation Department.