Fresh snow covers Chicago streets

December 8, 2008 5:44:38 AM PST
Many people around Chicago needed shovels Saturday as a fresh blanket of snow fell overnight in the city and in some suburbs.

If you are driving anywhere early, you are going to need to be very cautious, as there's plenty of snow on side streets as well as major roads.

In the city of Chicago the Department of Streets and Sanitation eventually had 184 trucks on the street. The city initially put 24 snow fighting trucks out at about 3:00 Saturday morning and then upgraded that number to 184 trucks at 4:00 A.M. Matt Smith of the Department of Streets and Sanitation says it's going to take time to clear the entire route.

"You have to be careful out there. I'm driving in traffic right now. It's tough to think of it when you're out on the road on a Saturday, but patience really is the watchword. This is a light, fluffy snow. It packs down. It's not the icy conditions we saw the other day. Still, there's the potential for roadways to be slick even if they're treated. So we're just telling people to be cautious today. On the side streets you're going to see snow and you're going to have to shovel your sidewalks. People should do both of those things but right now the focus is the arterial streets since that's where the traffic is moving. We have our snow fighting trucks out right now. They will plow. This is probably more of a salting process because it's really not a big accumulation," Smith said.

ABC7's Stacey Baca: "Mr. Smith, let's talk a little about the situation. As far as downtown, even downtown streets are not necessarily plowed just yet. So does it seem like the snow kind of caught you by surprise overnight? Or was it a matter of waiting a little bit?

"Yes. When the ground temperature is this cold, whatever you get accumulates rapidly. It's going to cause an accumulation as opposed to conditions when it's near freezing or actually above freezing, when you could have it snowing for a while and you don't get that buildup. So right now this is the situation. Our trucks are out there. They're going to keep doing it. As long as it's still snowing, you're going to see some accumulations. But once that stops is when we really make headway," Smith said.


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