Chicago Digs OutFebruary 3, 2011 - 6:00 PM | by: Marla Cichowski
After a nearly record breaking snowstorm, Chicagoans continue to dig out from the blizzard that brought new meaning to the phrase, “Windy City.” At a press conference today, Mayor Richard Daley described the storm as a ”crisis” and was questioned repeatedly on whether the decision to shut down Lake Shore Drive on Tuesday night came too late.
Hundreds of drivers were stranded in their cars overnight after blowing and drifting snow coming off Lake Michigan, created white out conditions making it impossible to drive. Conditions started to get dramatically worse during the evening rush hour, but city officials didn’t decide to close Lake Shore Drive until closer to 8pm. Chicago police and fire officials rescued dozens of drivers using snowmobiles. Other drivers attempted to wait out the storm in their cars, but eventually Chicago Police told all drivers to evacuate their cars as a safety precaution.
Daley says he stands by the decision made by the city’s emergency management officials during the blizzard that dumped more than 20 inches of snow. “I have confidence in all these people making decisions,” he said. Daley was asked whether drivers should take some personal responsibility for driving on Lake Shore Drive during the blizzard, after days of warnings from the city and local news media to stay off the roads during the severe storm.
Daley dodged the question and said, “Sure, they can blame me. That’s life. They can blame anyone.”
It took at least 85 tow trucks to get all the cars off of Lake Shore Drive. The cars were taken to various lots across the city where owners can reclaim them at no cost. The city is not asking drivers to pay any towing charges. The storm itself is estimated to cost the city close to $100 million.
Check out the photo slide show below from Chicago.