Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Let me tell you about a real blizzard boys and girls.....

January 26, 1967

The snow started. It was just like any other snowy day in Chicago, so we thought. People heading out for the work day didn't realize that many would not make it home that night.

The snow started and would not stop. The snowfall broke all previous Chicago records. In one day we had 16.4 inches! Within 29 hours, the snowfall finally stopped with a total 23inches.


The streets were at a standstill. The winds, adding to the mess whipped the snow at 53 miles an hour.


You could only get anywhere by walking. Cars were buried in snow drifts so high, you could only see the top of the car antenna. We tried to keep up on the shoveling, trying to keep the sidewalks clear to no avail.

Getting to the hospitals was a challenge. Bulldozers and snowmobiles were the only option that day.

It was estimated that over 20,000 cars were abandoned, along with over 500 CTA buses clogging the streets.

Fireman had to walk to fires as the equipment could not get down the streets.

Local stores quickly ran out of the basic foods like bread and milk.

Within 24 hours the city had over 2,000 workers and 500 pieces of equipment to start the massive dig out of the city. The county chipped in 150 men and 75 pieces of equipment, the state sent in 200 pieces of equipment. Iowa sent in giant snowblowers, Michigan and Wisconsin also sent in snow removal equipment.

The main thoroughfares were of course the main working areas, the side streets would be the last to be plowed.

But the snow wasn't done. By February 6th an additional 11 of snow had fallen, now running the total up to 36 inches of snow, breaking all records in the history of Chicago.

Schools of course were closed. But it was not a lot of fun being home. the constant shoveling, trying to unbury the house and sidewalks and create paths to get anywhere was very tiring.

There was some fun of course. The wind had whipped up some huge snowdrifts and had caused the top of the snow to harden and get crusty. If you were careful, you could walk on the top of the snow.
I was able to walk up and climb on the roof of the garage next door.

Soon, food started to become a problem. Chicago neighborhoods were dotted with local mom and pop grocery stores. Because we were regulars, we managed to get enough food to get by. Nothing fancy, but just enough to keep the hunger pains down.


Still have this from 1967!

Cars and buses left abandoned. 
Tow trucks were busy at work pulling cars from the center of the road on day five.


This is a picture taken from a building on the 33rd floor.
The normally busy street is deserted.


There were drifts up to 10 feet high, making the street totally impassable. 
People were not digging out their cars until the streets were cleared.


Even slight inclines made driving treacherous. 
About 500 buses were stranded in the storm.



An aerial view of Grant Park on day 5. 
Motorists were advised not to drive in because  there wasn't any where to park.


Many people could not get home.
Here it shows a Red Cross disaster van stranded. 


Cars are left double and triple-parked.


Tow trucks hard at work trying to clear the roads.


The Eisenhower expressway empty. 
Driving on expressways was impossible.
City crews worked around the clock.





Walking was the only way to get around.
Grocery shelves were soon empty.


This is the mess that the city woke up to the day after the storm.

Just like anything else, memories are what you make of them. It was not something we wanted to go through, but we survived. Age makes all the difference.  We weren't sick at the time, no one we knew suffered loss of life. Things slowly got better, back to normal. The city was given a direct hit and survived. There were many hardships, but we survived. Then we you get older you tell tell the young ones....

I remember the day of the big snow......
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