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Old 10-27-2011, 12:45 PM
 
3 posts, read 3,507 times
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Sorry if this is an annoying thread but I have to bring it up. Im moving to Chicago for school. My question is, what can I expect? Now, Im from the south and have been here my whole life. People that aren't from here probably would think that the weather is unbearably hot in the summer but that's pretty normal for me. I've never seen more than 7 inches of snow in my life and if we get like an inch of snow school is out. Am I about to be totally shocked by the snow? Do people walk in it? Is school or work ever cancelled? And what's the average snowfall? Sorry for all the questions but you have to understand, winters/cold weather are big things to us down here. I hope I'll be able to handle it. Any tips clothing wise?
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Old 10-27-2011, 01:08 PM
 
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Well for starters, it snows a LOT less often than people from the south tend to think. People have this vision that there's snow everywhere and everyone is shoveling and cleaning of their cars. every. single. day.

Most snows tend to be 4" or less, which basically won't even get spoken about up in these areas. Closing down schools and businesses for one inch of snow seems insane up here. No one would even register if it snowed one inch.

The only times it really impacts things more than making you roll your eyes at rush hour is if we get more than 6" or so in one storm. That happens maybe 2-4 times a winter. You can usually count on one hand how many times you actually need to shovel or pull out the snowblower.

Grade school and high schools might be closed 2-3 times a year for snow. If you're going to college though or working it won't get cancelled. I think the huge blizzard this february is the only time in the past 10 years that I've ever seen businesses or colleges/universities close down. It just doesn't happen.

The temp is normally swinging everywhere at all times. It gets super cold for a week, then it's in the 30's a ton, then it gets up to 55 or 60 for a day and people are running around in shorts and a t-shirt, then the next day the high is 18 degrees. It's not bone chilling cold for MONTHS on end though as some people think. Snow will normally melt within a week or so of falling as the temp creeps up above freezing here and there.

Just get a good coat, scarf, hat and boots and you'll be fine. Things don't shut down and people don't hide all winter. Life goes on, it's just the changing of seasons. Happens ever year.
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Old 10-27-2011, 02:01 PM
 
Location: Chicago - Logan Square
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chicago60614 View Post
Grade school and high schools might be closed 2-3 times a year for snow.
That's a pretty good overview, but schools are closed a lot less frequently than that. The CPS closure for the blizzard last winter was the first one in 10 years or so. Very few things are cancelled due to snow.
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Old 10-27-2011, 02:03 PM
 
Location: Nort Seid
5,279 posts, read 4,548,280 times
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Here's a new wrinkle, we'll see if it's smoke or if they actually follow through:

Failure to shovel snow from your sidewalk could prove costly - Chicago Sun-Times
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Old 10-27-2011, 02:14 PM
 
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I wouldn't worry much about the snow as much as the -0 below temps. It doesn't happen too much but it for sure will happen..especially around February. February is the worst Winter month in my opinion because at that point you just want it over with, and it just drags and drags on and on...
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Old 10-27-2011, 02:44 PM
 
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You need a coat that goes down to the thighs (ii.e. It has to cover your butt). The coat should have a hood(unless it is a formal coat).

Even with the hood you are going to need a hat (ski hat) and gloves. If you are a woman or a man who needs to walk outdoors a lot then boots are needed otherwise sturdy shoes will do. If you are taking public transit you may need a scarf but it you are driving the scarf could be too much (depends). How much you need to put on depends a lot on how long you plan to be outside and how cold it is.

Down makes for a good insulator, but some modern fabrics are not too bad either. Avoid leather if this is to be your coat for those really cold days (i.e. bellow 20F esp. with wind). The hat should cover your ears at least (or get ear muffs). Walking in snow and ice is just a skill you learn (i.e. take small steps so that you don't slip and fall). Leather can be an ok coat material, but you really need a good lining for it to work in the extreme cold. Leather is much better at temps over 20F.
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Old 10-27-2011, 02:52 PM
 
Location: Chicago
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School is cancelled like once a decade.
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Old 10-27-2011, 02:56 PM
 
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Grade schools sometimes close but not the whole system (i.e. they are having a particular problem at this location). High schools less likely to close and nothing short of a full scale blizzard(10+ inches of snow and wind) or way bellow normal dangerous cold(a actual temp of -20 rather than a -20 windchill) will close a college. Work almost never closes.

When I was a kid you at most got 2 days off due to snow and more often none.
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Old 10-27-2011, 03:40 PM
 
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I think the OP must be coming here for college though, in which case it will never close. Things in the city also tend to function and stay open more in snow than the burbs. Things are normally cancelled and shut down in the suburbs before the city starts making any moves.

You need a good 10" to really start getting people's attention and having it change your routine, and that happens once every 3 years on average.

Even with the snow though, things get back up and running very quickly since the city has been dealing with snow all its life. Even after the "epic" blizzard last February the city was pretty much back to normal within 48 hours. It was 24 hours of winter wonderland, then 24 hours of cleaning up areas that were missed, then the show was over.

The city loves to show off it's ~300 snowplows, so they get out there salting and plowing the second the first flurry falls from the sky. Back in the 1970's a mayor lost reelection in part because of horrible snow removal. Since then it's basically been a holy grail to make sure the city never stops for snow.

The shutdown and stranding of people on Lakeshore Drive last year was very embarassing for the city. I thought the pictures looked awesome though.
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Old 10-27-2011, 03:53 PM
 
Location: Chicago - Logan Square
3,022 posts, read 3,527,118 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chirack View Post
Grade schools sometimes close but not the whole system (i.e. they are having a particular problem at this location). High schools less likely to close and nothing short of a full scale blizzard(10+ inches of snow and wind) or way bellow normal dangerous cold(a actual temp of -20 rather than a -20 windchill) will close a college. Work almost never closes.

When I was a kid you at most got 2 days off due to snow and more often none.
CPS schools are closed all together, not by grades. Some private schools do have snow days every now and then, but elementary schools are the least likely ones to close. Working parents of elementary students depend on schools for daycare, so elementary schools and daycare centers really try to stay open. High school students can generally be left at home alone if need be.
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