Chicago Experienced the Third Snows in History

Shades of Winter of 1967:Snow drifts piling up, cars stranded on Lake Shore Drive and on Interstate 80 shut down the Windy City on Tuesday and Wednesday. Chicago received 20.4 inches of snow.  The third snowiest day in history. Only Storms in 1999  and the worst storm of all time January 1967. with over 23 inches of snow.  The Beacon News:

In the end, the great Blizzard of 2011 didn’t set a record — but still dumped 20.2 inches on the city, shut down schools, closed businesses and even major shopping malls, knocked out power to hundreds of thousands and left hundreds stranded on Lake Shore Drive.

The total snowfall made it the third worst snowstorm on record, behind only blizzards in 1967 — when 23 inches blanketed the city — and 1999 — when 21.6 inches fell.

“We are experiencing a storm of historic proportions . . . the likes of which we really haven’t seen in 20 or 30 years,” said Ray Orozco, Mayor Daley’s chief of staff.

“If you don’t have to go outside, stay indoors,” said Jose Santiago, executive director of the city’s 911 Center. “Walking in the streets is extremely dangerous. If you absolutely must drive, slow down.”

After a night when hundreds of motorists were stranded on Lake Shore Drive, the Drive remained closed Wednesday — and city officials could not say late Wednesday afternoon just when it would reopen.

“Was it a mistake not to close Lake Shore Drive? The answer is ‘no,” ’ Orozco said, saying traffic was moving until a series of accidents stopped traffic. “We were monitoring The Drive, and The Drive was moving.”

Later, Orozco said it was his call to keep the Drive open.

“No, I don’t think the mayor was pleased,’’ Orozco said.

But he said “hundreds of people” had been rescued off Lake Shore Drive and he said officials were “not aware of any serious health issues or injuries that occurred during the backup, but we know that hundreds of people were very inconvenienced, and we apologize for that.”

Orozco blamed a series of accidents on the Drive between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m., coupled with “white-out” conditions and wind gusts of up to 70 mph. One of the accidents was with a CTA bus, helping to cripple the roadway and bring traffic to a halt that never restarted.

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