Winter Storm Watch in effect for the City of Chicago from Tuesday, February 1 at 8 p.m. through Thursday, February 3 at 6 p.m.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch in effect from Feb. 1 at 8 p.m. to Feb. 3 at 6:30 p.m. ahead of snowfall forecast this week. The City of Chicago is urging residents to take the necessary steps to prepare for possible snow accumulation in the Chicago area. The first round will begin on the night of Tuesday February 1, followed by the second round on the night of Wednesday February 2 to Thursday February 3.

Morning trips will be impacted. OEMC strongly encourages caution while driving along with the following winter safety tips:
• Allow more time to reach your destination.
• Leave enough space between vehicles.
• Have a full tank of gas and let friends and family know where you are going.
• Make sure you have an emergency kit in your vehicle.
• Yield to emergency vehicles as well as road salt and sanitation spreaders and plows.

OEMC will monitor weather conditions with the NWS and coordinate response efforts with city public safety and infrastructure departments and public partners to keep residents safe and informed. Additionally, OEMC issues several alerts and notifications to keep residents informed of weather conditions and emergencies:
Notify Chicago: Sign up for emergency alerts at www.NotifyChicago.org
CHILAKE: For Lakeside Reviews, TEXT “CHILAKE” to 7-8-0-1-5
COVID: Receive COVID-19 updates by TEXTING “COVID19” to 6-7-2-8-3
CHIBIZ: Business Updates, TEXT “CHIBIZ” to 6-7-2-8-3

the Department of Streets and Sanitation (DSS) manages over 9,400 miles of city roads and maintains a fleet of over 300 snowmobiles ready to respond to winter conditions when needed. DSS is also prepared with 425,000 tons of salt stationed on 19 salt piles throughout the city, including a new salt dome at Grand Ave. and Rockwell St. Residents can visit www.chicagoshovels.org to see the city’s snow plows in real time during a winter storm.

the transport department would like to remind residents that the City’s Snow Ordinance requires property owners to clear a path at least 5 feet wide on all sidewalks adjacent to their property, including crosswalk ramps. Snow must not be shoveled into the right-of-way, which includes the following: transit stops and bus platforms, parking spaces, bike paths, bike racks, Divvy stations and any other space where snow impedes traffic of any kind. Persons found pushing snow in the public right-of-way may be subject to a subpoena. If you are responsible for a corner lot, you must remove snow and ice from the sidewalks on all sides of your building as well as the sidewalk corner ramps. This applies to owners of residential and commercial buildings.

The public can help us help them by reporting uncleared sidewalks through the 311 system, either by phone or using the CHI 311 app. We respond to all complaints and usually respond to a first offense with a warning. But we will enforce the law, especially when it comes to businesses and multi-family buildings that ignore warnings and don’t clean their sidewalks.

The City of Chicago would like to remind residents to provide all necessary assistance to neighbors, family members, the elderly and the most vulnerable. If you need to request a health check, you can call 311, go to 311.chicago.gov, or use the CHI311 mobile app.

Warming centers
the Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) activated warm-up zones in the City’s six community service centres.
• The warming up areas are open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
• On evenings, weekends, or holidays, city-operated facilities, including libraries and parks, can also serve as warm-up zones, if needed.
• Residents must wear face coverings when in warming areas.
• The Garfield Community Service Center at 10 South Kedzie is open 24 hours a day to connect families and residents to an emergency shelter.
• DFSS activates warming zones at the city’s 21 senior centers when temperatures are 32 degrees or below freezing.
• Those looking for a cozy place to go after hours can also dial 3-1-1 to be put in touch with available services. People in need of emergency overnight shelter should also call 3-1-1, visit 311.Chicago.gov or download the CHI311 app to ensure residents are aware of city-designated warming zones. Residents are also encouraged to check on relatives, neighbors and friends during a winter emergency.
• A list of Community Service Center locations is available with information, and multilingual pamphlets with information about warming centers in English, Spanish, and Polish are also posted on the DFSS website at Chicago.gov/FSS.
• If you see someone trying to survive on the streets or in other public places, or know of a friend or relative who may need help, please call 311 with the person’s location.

the Water Management Department reminds residents to avoid freezing pipes, ensure warm air circulates throughout the home and let a trickle of water flow. If the pipes freeze, do not use candles or open flames to thaw them. Use a hair dryer or heating pad. For more information, visit www.chicago.gov/water

The Chicago Fire Department does not recommend the use of space heaters; however, if used, make sure they are UL listed and at least 3 feet away from anything that can catch fire. The use of a heater in children’s rooms should be closely monitored as children sometimes move them near the bed or in the bed with tragic results. If extension cords are used, they should be rated at 15 amps minimum and never run the cords under the rug. With the increased demand on furnaces and boilers, CFD is also reminding that residents are required by ordinance to have functioning carbon monoxide detectors to protect against carbon monoxide leaks from a heating system that could be fatal over time. Individuals seeking access to warming centers and/or having insufficient heat are encouraged to contact 3-1-1 for immediate assistance. Also, be sure to keep smoke detectors in good working order.

Family and home safety
the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) I would like to warn residents to take care of themselves and also help neighbors, family members, pets and friends, especially those who are elderly, disabled and/or living alone. Taking preventative measures is the best way to stay safe from serious health risks associated with winter weather. Residents are advised to limit their time outdoors, wear layers of warm clothing when outside, and watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia.

Cold weather tips
• Motorists should take extra precautions to winterize their vehicles and have the necessary supplies on hand, including cell phone chargers.
• Keep in mind that broken down vehicles or distracted driving can cause accidents, impact traffic and others requiring emergency services.
• Have a backup plan, such as keeping extra sets of vehicle and house keys, or shelter nearby if you become locked out of your vehicle or home to avoid exposure outdoors for an extended period of time.
• Residents should know the signs and care of frostbite and hypothermia. For more information on winter preparation, visit Chicago.gov/OEMC for details and links to other local, state, and federal resources.
• Avoid unnecessary trips outside – if you must go out, limit the time you spend outdoors.
• Wear several layers of loose, warm clothing.
• Keep your head, hands and feet covered when outdoors.
• Stay dry as moisture can affect the insulating effectiveness of clothing.
• Pay special attention to your daily needs: get enough sleep, eat energy-dense foods, drink hot drinks to help your body stay warm, and avoid alcoholic drinks.

Travel updates for O’Hare and Midway
In partnership with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and airlines, the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) is ready to maintain operations and ensure passenger safety in winter weather conditions. Crews of more than 500 personnel are ready to support 24/7 operations on more than 325 pieces of equipment and 5,000 tonnes of salt to keep runways and taxiways clear and safe at O’Hare and Midway International Airports. The expanded central de-icing facility at O’Hare streamlines operations and improves safety at one of the world’s busiest airports that operates in snowy conditions. Those traveling through Chicago airports are encouraged to visit www.flychicago.com to find real-time flight information, parking updates, taxi wait times, available concession companies, and more. other special alerts for the traveling public. Also, check airline websites for flight statuses and plan to arrive at least two hours before a scheduled flight.

For more information on emergency preparedness, visit the OEMC website at Chicago.gov/OEMC. Follow the Office of Emergency Management and Communications on Facebook (@coemc), Twitter (@ChicagoOEMC) and Instagram (chicago_oemc_911).

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