The City of Chicago Urges Residents To Take Precautions Around Flooding, Falling Ice and Other Dangers Associated With Melting Snow

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As temperatures rise and the city begins to thaw out, the City of Chicago would like to warn residents of the dangers associated with melting snow and ice. The Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) is continuing to coordinate response efforts with the City’s public safety and infrastructure departments and public partners to keep residents safe and informed. Residents seeking City offered services can contact 3-1-1 or visit 311.chicago.gov for assistance.

FLOODING FROM MELTING SNOW

Melting snow and ice can cause severe flooding on streets and damage to homes and businesses. Residents are urged to be aware of possible street flooding. Drivers who encounter a flooded roadway should turn around and not attempt to drive through it – water six inches high can severely damage your vehicle and cause it to stall. A flooded street can also hide dips, debris and other obstructions that can damage your car.

Residents should also be aware that flooding of homes is possible due to the large amount of snow that fell earlier this week. The OEMC and the Department of Water Management (DWM) provides the following tips to prevent flooding in the home:

  • To help the melting of the snow and ice safely from rooftops, take steps to clear the area around downspouts to allow melting snow/ice to flow.
  • To prevent flooding, clear drains and sewers of debris and snow to allow drainage for melting.
  • Do not dump fats/oils/greases in private drains or public catch basins.
  • Avoid running a dishwasher or washing machine during storms or when snow is melting quickly.
  • Disconnect downspout connections from the sewer system. Make sure to direct flow to areas with permeable surfaces that can properly absorb the stormwater or use rain barrels to collect the water directly from the downspouts.
  • For better resistance to large snowmelt in the future, it can be helpful to install rain gardens, green landscaping, or stormwater trees in your yard to help retain rainwater. Additionally, residents are encouraged to resurface driveways, parking pads, or patios with permeable pavement.

ICE ON BUILDING STRUCTURES 

In extreme temperatures, ice may form on building structures. Residents can take the following steps to prevent ice from building up on homes:

  • As building types, configurations, and materials vary, the Department of Buildings advises building owners to monitor the ​impact of a large accumulation of snow and ice on their building structures and contact a licensed professional to assess and evaluate any concerns related to the building.
  • Evaluate the insulation and ventilation in your attic, which prevents heat loss from the interior of the home. The venting allows the attic air to stay cold enough to prevent or minimize the freeze/thaw cycle on the roof. Consult a reputable roofing or insulation expert on making these improvements.

Additionally, property owners and building managers are advised to cordon areas underneath ice buildup and put caution signs warning of these conditions in order to make pedestrians aware of the potential for falling ice. Residents are also cautioned to clear the snow away from front and back porches or decks, as the added weight of snow and ice could compromise these structures.

CLEARING SNOW IN FRONT YOUR HOME OR BUSINESS

The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) encourages businesses and residents to continue clearing snow from the sidewalk in front your residence or business and treat surfaces with salt. CDOT would like to remind business & property owners that when clearing snow off their property, it should not be pushed into a marked bike lane, crosswalk or bus stop.

SNOW REMOVAL AND LARGE SNOW PILES

The Department of Streets and Sanitation (DSS) continues clearing snow from residential streets. Today’s forecast of sun will work in favor of melting snow, which will help with relocation efforts.

DSS has crews in every ward removing and relocating snow to predetermined City-owned lots. DSS will prioritize snow piles around schools, hospitals, fire departments and police stations. DSS also has reinforcement equipment coming in to help and will readjust as necessary. Residents are asked to keep children away from the large piles of snow as DSS relocates it. To view the City’s snow fleet in real time visit chicagoshovels.org.

EXTREME WEATHER ALERTS 

OEMC issues several alerts and notifications to keep residents up to date on weather conditions and emergencies:

  • Notify Chicago: Sign up for emergency alerts at notifychicago.org
  • CHILAKE: For lakefront notices, TEXT “CHILAKE” to 7-8-0-1-5
  • COVID: Get COVID-19 updates by TEXTING “COVID19” to 6-7-2-8-3
  • CHIBIZ: Business updates, TEXT “CHIBIZ” to 6-7-2-8-3

For additional information on emergency preparedness information, visit our website at Chicago.gov/OEMC. Follow the Office of Emergency Management and Communications on Facebook, Twitter (@ChicagoOEMC) and Instagram (chicago_oemc_911) using the hashtags #ChicagoOEMC #Smart911 #Chicago911 #BeSafeChicago.

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