The case for Chicago
By Denise Ryan
There seems to be a war of words underway over snow clearing in Chicago vs. the District. Chicagoans scoff at the District’s inability to remove a big snowfall, while D.C. denizens point out that Chicago has never had a snowfall on a single day that rivals our recent storm.
But Chicagoans have lived through significantly snowier years.
As a resident of Cook County in 1978-79, I can attest to a two-story-high pile of plowed snow in my front yard. In fact, the snowfall total in Chicago for 1978-79 was 89.7 inches, and the winter of 1977-78 produced 82.3 inches. Sometimes, it isn’t about the amount of snow that falls in one day or one week that gets you, but the amount over a whole season. Where do you put all of that snow?
This year’s winter in the District might best be compared to Chicago’s 1966-67 season, when 68.4 inches of snow fell. While I was still just a twinkle in my parents’ eyes during those years, they tell me that Chicago didn’t have the ability to remove snow the way it does today. Dad couldn’t get home from work in the blizzard of 1967, and the streets never did get plowed. People just shoveled themselves out. Neighbors helped neighbors.
Smug Chicagoans in D.C. should think of those years before heaping criticism on D.C. snow removal. It is the fairer comparison.
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