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What Happens To All The Snow After a Big Storm? [MAP]

By Tanveer Ali | March 1, 2016 5:39am

CHICAGO — If this winter's big blizzard ever comes, the city will send out trucks in full force to pile up the snow in out-of-the-way parts of Chicago.

Usually, the Department of Streets and Sanitation's snow plow fleet is sufficient, as 300 of those trucks went out during last week's storm that disappointed blizzard lovers.

But in the event of storms like the one ahead of the 2015 Super Bowl or the big one from 2011 when all those cars were stranded on Lake Shore Drive, the city will call on crews to take snow to more than 500 vacant lots it owns across Chicago.

During spring and summer, the city chooses spots across the city to dump the snow with the help of the 50 ward superintendents, said Cole Stallard, who is responsible for the city's snow operations. The less concentrated West and South Sides of Chicago have more of these designated lots than the North Side.

At some of the locations far away from homes, the city will station melter machines that will turn snow into water in a snap.

"With the melt, we'd be concerned that it would become an issue with homeowners and businesses," Stallard said. These places are "a safe distance" from where people live, he said.

Don't expect to see a pile of snow like the 75-foot hill that took over Boston last year.

"Our goal is not to be climbing up the mountain and sliding on it," Stallard said. " We keep them reasonable so that people aren't looking at snow outside their window in July."

This map is a collaborative effort between DNAinfo Chicago and Atlas Obscura, a website that explores worldwide hidden wonders. Read Atlas Obscura's version of the story.

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