Ten things about Chicago winter


Peter V. Bella photo.

Many people living in Chicago came from someplace else. Some from warmer climes, others from a foreign land called Suburbia.

Many people come to Chicago for a visit and get the shock of their lives when cold weather arrives.

Some act like they never even heard of winter before. It is some foreign concept to them. Winter is supposed to happen in Alaska, the Arctic or Antarctica, not Chicago.

If you are new to Chicago winter, here are ten things you should know.

1.) It gets cold during the winter in Chicago. This is not due to global warming, man made climate change, or any other greenie weenie gospels.

During the winter it gets cold. It is supposed to get cold. It has always been this way. Sometimes it gets brutally cold, with wind chill temperatures dipping into double digits below zero.

Dress warm. Do not complain. The world is not ending. The frozen lake and river will not turn Chicago into Antarctica. There will be no Ice Age. Spring and summer, with its heat and humidity will come. Then you can fret about that.

It is the natural order of things.


E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune

2.) It snows during winter in Chicago. This my be a shock to many people. Some years it snows a lot with drifting high enough to bury cars and tall humans.

It is just the way it is. Buy boots, snow shovels, and other items. No need to rush to stores, empty the shelves of groceries and sundries. Armageddon is not upon us.

Have fun. Go out and make snowmen, snow angels, or have snowball fights- if those are not banned by the over tenderly sensitive politically correct anti-violence wusses.

Help your neighbors, especially the elderly shovel snow. Sometimes Chicago snow is wet and heavy causing chest grabbers in even the healthiest. Pace yourself and shovel with care.

3.) Beware of warm weather. Prepare yourself. Chicago temperatures have a habit of dropping 20 to 40 degrees in a very short period of time. You could leave home dressed in light clothing and hours later face freezing or sub zero temperatures. Remember, it is winter.

4.) Cold and snow is no reason to stay home from work or school unless the authorities advise you to do so. Real Chicagoans never let brutal cold, blizzards, or high wind sleet stop them from going about their day to day lives. We are a tough hardy people to whom work is sacred. Remember, while you are contemplating keeping your lazy posterior at home, people are working outdoors in that weather. Firemen, utility workers, Streets and Sanitation workers, police officers, and others.


Chicago Tribune

5.) Dibs. This is a cherished sacred illegal Chicago tradition. During heavy snow falls people shovel out spaces to park their cars in front of their homes.

Many risk the perilous deadly chest grabber to do so. They put their assorted junk in the shoveled out space as a sign for others not to park there.

If you, who are too lazy to walk more than a few steps, move their junk and park, you are putting yourself in danger. You may get a beating or worse. Your car may have anything from four flat tires, burial in snow, total destruction, or all of the above.

The police will be no help. They will have no mercy or pity of fools who do not understand sacred tradition. To make matters worse, the cops may even laugh at you.


Chicago Tribune

6.) During blizzard conditions, pending blizzards, or gale force winter winds from the east, stay off of Lake Shore Drive.

Only idiots and fools get on the drive during such conditions. Do not expect sympathy or mercy if you are trapped in your car.

Do not expect pity if you leave your car, trudge miles to get away from the drive, and tearfully complain to the media that no one came to help.

Stay off the Drive.


Chicago Tribune photo.

7.) Chicago sidewalks get slippery under certain snow conditions. Watch out for the elderly or others who are having trouble traversing the sidewalks. Help them. Do not be an selfish primitive savage all your life.

If someone slips and falls, do not complain they are in your way and walk over them as if they did not exist.

How would you like it if you slipped, fell, were lying on the cold concrete, flailing like a dying cockroach, and hordes of people just walked around, over, or trampled you?


Chicago Tribune photo.

8.) Roads get slick during snow storms. Sometimes they are icy. Then there is the perilous black ice.

Drive slowly and do not tailgate. This is not Suburbia where you can drive as fast as you want, pass, or attempt other tricky maneuvers you saw on some cartoon show.

Do not beep your horn. It will only make people drive slower. No one likes horn beepers.

There is no reason to hurry. Leave your home earlier and expect delays on the way home.

9.) Carry a few emergency essentials in your vehicle. Jumper cables, some kind of blinking or high visibility device or flares, a snow brush and a small snow shovel. You might break down or get stuck.

The last thing you want is someone driving too fast, talking, texting, or sexting to run into your car or you. If you cannot start your car, having your own cables will prevent you wandering aimlessly, hat in hand, begging people to use theirs. Jumper cables are cheap. Do not be a miserable miser all your life.

10.) If the weather is bad the best thing to do is take public transportation. It is safer than driving. Yeah, you own a car and you want to drive your car. Most of you people from someplace else can't drive worth a fig during the best of times. What makes you think you can drive during winter? Do not be a peril to yourself or a danger to others. Take the bus, el, or train. Who knows, you may even meet someone interesting and have a nice conversation instead of talking to yourself while stalled in traffic.



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