City of Chicago prepares for snowstorm - links to agencies

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The City of Chicago is preparing for a blizzard emergency and has released information about the city agencies and services that citizens may need during the storm. The City of Chicago announced that according to the National Weather Service, the heavy snowfall should start on Tuesday, February 1, 2011, after 9:00 p.m. and should fall throughout the night. It is likely and a number of businesses and schools will be closed on Wednesday. The link to the Chicago Public Schools is included in this article, along with links to other city agencies dealing with the storm.

* The Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications is activating the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Tuesday afternoon at noon. The EOC will remain open for as long as necessary, and will be staffed by all key city departments.

* The Department of Streets and Sanitation will utilize its full fleet, 274 trucks, plus 120 garbage trucks with quick hitch plows. Trucks will concentrate on main routes and Lake Shore Drive so that emergency vehicles can pass.
* The City has also increased the number of garbage trucks to try and get ahead of this week’s garbage collection.
* City officials have been coordinating with groups such as the Salvation Army, Red Cross, the Building Owners and Managers Association, Chicago FIRST, Metra and IDOT to share information and coordinate storm response.
* The Chicago Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) will operate three 24 hour centers, including North Area, Garfield and King, beginning on Wednesday at 7 a.m. through Thursday at 5 p.m. All other centers will be open during regular hours of operation. With more than 4,000 beds in 60 shelters across the city, and the capacity to add more beds as needed, there is no reason for anyone to sleep outdoors. Call 311 for assistance or transportation.
* DFSS is contacting seniors to encourage them to stay indoors and make arrangements for necessary food, medicine and supplies. All six regional senior centers, 12 satellite senior centers and various nutritional sites will be closed on Wednesday, February 2. Seniors who typically receive meals through at these locations will receive boxed meals tomorrow to last through Thursday.
* The Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) will coordinate snow removal efforts with the Federal Aviation Administration and the airlines to minimize the impact of weather conditions on airport operations.
* The Chicago Transit Authority’s snow command team will make sure buses and rail cars can get in and out of garages and yards. Crews will salt bus terminals, turnarounds and garages. Parking lot vendors for CTA Park & Ride lots will be notified to salt and keep parking lots clear.
* If CTA buses and trains are significantly impacted by the adverse weather conditions, CTA Bus Tracker and CTA Train Tracker information also may be affected.
* Chicago Public Schools has sent letters home today with students advising parents on what to expect. Parents, guardians and CPS staff should monitor news reports, the CPS website www.cps.edu or the CPS Safety and Security hotline at (773) 553-3030 for updates on possible school closures. A decision on whether to order a partial or complete closure of schools, and/or a suspension of bus service will be made by the Chief Executive Officer based on the expected conditions Wednesday morning.

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