The Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) is advising motorists, pedestrians and residents to take necessary precautions as a possible ice storm passes through the city of Chicago, Cook County and Northern Illinois. The National Weather Service has issued an Ice Storm Warning in effect from Tuesday at 6 pm through Wednesday, 6 am.
An Ice Storm Warning means significant amounts of ice accumulations will make travel dangerous or impossible. Power outages and tree damage are possible due to the ice. Hazardous conditions may impact the evening commute.
OEMC will monitor the weather appropriately and remain in constant contact with the National Weather Service and the City Incident Center, as well as public safety departments to ensure the proper resources are deployed.
To report wires down or a tree emergency, call 3-1-1. Over 100 other city service requests can be reported via the new CHI 311 Mobile app or online at 311.chicago.gov, including reporting a traffic signal outage or requesting ice/snow removal.
The Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation (DSS) will activate a Phase III program, deploying more than 300 salt spreaders ahead of the afternoon rush to ensure main roads and Lake Shore Drive are safe and passable for motorists, buses and emergency vehicles. DSS will monitor weather and ground conditions and deploy additional resources as needed.
OEMC urges motorists to allow extra time traveling and be aware that roads and parking lots may be slippery. Icy sidewalks and driveways are also possible, so pedestrians should be cautious to avoid falls.
Motorists are reminded to slow down and move over for stopped emergency and maintenance vehicles, use directional signals and allow additional time for travel, increased distance between vehicles and yield to snowplows. Drivers should also avoid using cruise control in snow and ice, watch for black ice on roads that may appear clear – especially on approaching intersections, ramps, bridges and shady areas prone to icing. In addition, remember, handheld devices are prohibited when driving in Illinois.
For those with travel plans through O’Hare or Midway International Airports, it is advised to check the airline’s website for flight status before going to the airport and to plan to arrive well ahead of their flights. Travelers are encouraged to check for updates by following O’Hare’s Facebook page or Twitter account @fly2ohare and Midway’s Facebook page or Twitter account @fly2midway, in addition to their website, www.FlyChicago.com.
Those taking public transportation can get Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) updates on changes in service through informational displays at rail stations and select bus stops; through social media (Twitter and Facebook), the CTA’s web site or customers can sign up for notices at www.transitchicago.com.
For emergency alerts and traffic disruptions, subscribe to Notify Chicago at www.notifychicago.org or keep updated via Twitter @ChicagoOEMC or Facebook/coemc.
Residents can also view the City’s snow fleet in real time at www.chicagoshovels.org.