Chicago Blizzard 2011

As most of you probably know by now Chicago was hit with 20 inches of snow between Tuesday night and Wednesday afternoon. It took me 3 hours (usually a 40 minute drive) to get home from work Tuesday afternoon as everyone struggled to get home before the worst of the storm hit. I consider myself lucky as I made it home safely and was able to park my car off the streets for the night in a parking garage.

I sat at home glued to the news for the night while watching pedestrians and motorists struggling outside my window. Roads and interstates were shut down, public transportation systems canceled, and Chicago public schools were closed for the first time in over a decade.

Someone leaves a note on a bus stop on Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago as the snow continues to fall on the second day of a winter storm.

Wednesday afternoon after all of the snow had stopped I ventured out to to check out the damage firsthand and grab lunch at Cosi downtown. Surprisingly a few restaurants, retailers, and coffee shops were still open despite the weather. Only a handful of people went to work that day – I have never seen the city of Chicago so dead. Trains were running off-schedule, bus lines were cancelled, interstates were closed and news crews advised people to stay indoors and focus on digging themselves out.

Check out these pictures of the storm:

chicago blizzard 2011

Lake Shore Drive completely shut down with over 500 vehicles stranded overnight.

chicago blizzard 2011
Stranded commuters stuck on Lake Shore Drive in CTA buses are evacuated by CTA employees and Chicago firefighters onto a southbound rescue bus in the snow around 11 pm on Tuesday.

An abandoned bus is among the vehicles abandoned along northbound Lake Shore Drive.
A stranded bus on Lake Shore Drive was abandoned by commuters and left to be towed in the middle of the night.

Neighbors Peter Vassos, Steve Magurany and John Larocca add to the snowscape along Bruce Avenue in Flossmoor on the second day of the storm.
Neighbors working together to dig themselves out of the storm.

Snow plows clear a residential street in Geneva.
Snow plows working day and night to clear the main roads.

Dozens of dump trucks line up on South State Street near Cermak to carry accumulated snow to be dumped in a field at 27th and State Streets.
Trucks hauling snow off the streets; there is absolutely no where to put it.

2011 Chicago Blizzard Snow
Multiple feet of snow piled up outside.

Snowed in cars sit on the 3600 block of North Springfield Avenue in Chicago.
Cars parked on a city side street; it will be impossible to parallel park anywhere in the city for quite some time.

Workers remove snow from the CTA's Belmont station late into the night on the second day of the storm.
CTA crew work to clear el platforms in the middle of the night.

Plows work to move and melt snow on the runways and taxiways at O'Hare International Airport where more than 2,200 flights were canceled.
Plows work to move and melt snow on the runways and taxiways at O’Hare International Airport where more than 2,200 flights were canceled.

With the exception of the Lake Shore Drive event, I was impressed at how quickly the city of Chicago worked to clean up after the storm. I was able to drive to work this morning on roads and interstates that were completely plowed and accessible. I do live in the city though and realize that more residential areas are still suffering from unplowed roads. Most people returned to work today and tried to resume their normal lives. However Chicago public schools were closed again today and school buses will be out of commission until Monday.

It’s been quite an adventure being part of such a historic storm and now I’m ready for it all to melt!

photo source


  1. Awesome (aside from the damages…). Wish I was still in Chicago.

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