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Chicago Handles Snow Better Than (Almost) Every Other Wimpy City: Study

By David Matthews | December 30, 2015 5:42am
 Residents try to free a stranded car in February  after it became stuck in the snow in Chicago.
Residents try to free a stranded car in February after it became stuck in the snow in Chicago.
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Scott Olson/Getty Images

CHICAGO — Monday's howling winds and snow drew a warning from the National Weather Service, but likely just annoyance from most Chicagoans.

That's because we're tougher than most cities. At least according to one measure.

People here wait until there's an average of 8.8 inches of snow on the ground before requesting private snowplows, according to consumer service website Thumbtack. By that measure Chicago is the second most snow-resilient city in the nation, trailing only Buffalo, N.Y., Thumbtack says.

Thumbtack, a website where people request anything from a plumber to a wedding photographer, looked at 2½ years of data to determine what most Chicagoans already know: We can handle snow.

We've endured not one, but two polar vortexes, and residents deemed the city's fifth-biggest blizzard in history earlier this year as nothing more than "business as usual." Any Chicagoan also knows his or her neighbors are more likely to dig out a parking space than call someone else to shovel their sidewalk for them.

RELATED: Chicago Blizzard Etiquette Do's and Don'ts

"You can look at this data point to say how Chicago is much more self-reliant [than other cities]. They only turn to private businesses when it snows a ton," said Lucas Puente, an economic analyst for San Francisco-based Thumbtack.

The study only tracks Thumbtack requests for private snow removal, not city snowplows, and includes the 35 cities with both the most snowfall and Thumbtack snow removal requests, Puente said. 


Forecasts are calling for snow Wednesday morning. Maybe enough for people in Cleveland or Springfield, Mass., to freak out, but it'll likely just business as usual here. 

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