Chicago's much more prepared since the blizzard of 2011

CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - As Chicagoans watch the monstrous blizzard develop on the East Coast Friday, they’re just happy to know our city is much more prepared to deal with storms like this.

And that knowledge comes from experience. The blizzard of 2011 trapped hundreds of cars and commuters on Lake Shore Drive for days. But Chicago learned its lesson.

“Our city has a responsibility to residents and visitors to deliver essential services every single day and last night we didn't meet those goals and for that we are sorry,” said Washington D.C Mayor Muriel Bowser.

A mia-culpa from DC's mayor after snow and ice brought traffic in and around our nation's capital to a standstill, the city says it's now better prepared and just in time as  the worst of the storm is set to hit this weekend.

However, Chicago’s certainly not immune to tough lessons like DC's.

For example, the 2011 Chicago blizzard.

“Oh it was terrible...I mean it was a blizzard, I got home and on the news they were showing cars stuck,” a Chicagoan said.

“I got stuck at the end and had to go down like MLK through South Chicago and it took me three hours,” another Chicagoan added.

The biggest lesson the city has learned since that storm is preparing for the unexpected.

“Anything can go wrong during a snow storm...you can have a major fire during a snow storm, you could have a water main break, so the city is on high alert all the time,” managing deputy of OEMC Rich Guidice said.

The city had a much better result responding to the Super Bowl blizzard last year.

“The forecast for us for that weekend was 6 to 8 inches and I think we ended up getting 19 inches that weekend,” said meteorologist Matt Friedlein of the National Weather Service.

Could Chicago get caught off guard again? Who knows, but one thing is certain, and that’s that technology is better today than it was then.

“We've had in the past five years great advances in high resolution computer models and the communication on which we relay the forecast...our confidence and our certainty and that allows decision makers hopefully to make wise decisions with that information,” Friedlein said.

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