Chicago Weather: City preparing for snowier winter than last year

CHICAGO (WLS) -- We all know Chicago's first snow storm can't be too far away and the city is already preparing for snow and slick roads.

The City of Chicago held its winter weather workshop Wednesday to make sure that all of the various departments are on the same page.

"Today's workshop we are talking about the forecast, how to prepare for winter and some of the events that we have to look forward to throughout the winter," said Rich Guidice, OEMC.

The city will have plenty of new equipment to clear the streets of snow.

"We've got 19 new spreaders and we're getting in 14 new high-lifts, and the high-lifts are what load up the salt for us," said Cole Stallard, Chicago Streets and Sanitation.

A new pilot program called Internal Plow Tracker will equip 15 trucks with a tablet. This will help in clearing the streets more efficiently.

"There will be turn-by-turn direction for the driver, so if the driver gets into an area where he's not familiar with, that will definitely help him. And it will give us an opportunity to see what's actually been completed to move our resources around," Stallard said.

There are some early indications that this will be a harsher winter. Waters in the Pacific near the equator are abnormally cold. Right now the winter forecast calls for equal chances of a warm or cold winter around here, but this La Nina Pattern usually means we will see a good number of winter storms.

"Typically a La Nina is going to bring us a more active weather pattern through the course of the winter - from December to about February or so. More active typically means more precipitation systems affecting the area," said Mike Bardou, National Weather Service.

There's no guarantee that this will be an excessively harsh winter, but it will almost certainly be snowier that what we saw last winter.

Thanks in large part to Lake Michigan, some of the worst conditions during a snow storm are along Lake Shore Drive. Because of what happened during the blizzard of 2011, the city has developed a new policy with mass transit.

"We know to get the busses off of Lake Shore Drive sooner. We've made adjustments constantly to make things better and safer," Stallard said.
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