CHICAGO (CBS) — The snow and wind on Monday and the extreme cold to come on Monday night and Tuesday are enough trouble unto themselves – but near record-high lake levels mean it’s getting ugly on our roads on top of it.
Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) warned about the effects of the rising water this summer, especially on Lake Shore Drive.
On Monday night, conditions were such that Hopkins paraphrased “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” by Gordon Lightfoot.
“”The gales of November come crashing,” Lightfoot said. “Well, here we are. It’s early November and they’re here right now.”
And Hopkins warned that it will only get worse.
Earlier in the day, authorities were forced to shut down South Shore Drive between 67th and 71st streets as super-sized waves crashed onto the roadway and water pooled in the streets.
Traffic was stopped for hours.
Meanwhile, preparations in place in the form of concrete barriers separate the waves and traffic on Lake Shore Drive.
But it’s a fight Ald. Hopkins said we’ll have a tough time winning.
“We’re preparing for a long rough winter on the lakefront,” Hopkins said. “With the water levels being what they are, we expect more frequent closures of Lake Shore Drive – and especially the bike trail.”
Hopkins said the situation Monday on South Shore Drive was “not surprising.” He has been speaking out about lake levels and how they affect the city’s infrastructure since the summer.
“The lake is actually eroding away Lake Shore Drive and its undergrid right now,” Hopkins said in the summer.
Among the main concerns heading into the freeze is corrosion. With 200 Streets and Sanitation trucks salting the streets on Monday, the freeze-thaw cycle is starting early.
Also of concern is erosion, with the concrete barriers acting as a double edged sword in 8 parts of the city.
“What they also do is concentrate the erosion in the spot where we install them, so we’re going to see a lot more damage coming spring,” Hopkins said.
A record-setting total of 3.4 inches of snow fell at O’Hare International Airport on Monday. Temperatures began diving Monday night, with a forecast low of 10 degrees overnight with wind chills below zero, and a high for Tuesday of only 21, CBS 2 Meteorologist Mary Kay Kleist reported.