As Chicago begins a week of above-freezing temperature highs, the relief from the cold will bring with it the dangers of melting snow and ice.
Tuesday is expected to bring the warmest temperatures of the year so far, but as conditions fluctuate this week from highs around 40 degrees to lows near or below freezing, the risk for slick conditions and the potential for flooding arise.
"Winter weather can cause ice to form on buildings, overhead structures and outdoor walking surfaces. The continued cold temperatures with periods of slight warming can also contribute to ice accumulation," Chicago's Department of Buildings warned Monday.
The department urged building owners to take steps to "reduce the risk of injuries," noting that owners "are responsible for monitoring any potential hazards."
Their recommendations include:
- Post warning signs in areas where pedestrians are likely to be present when they are aware that ice has accumulated on a building or overhead structure, or ice is likely to accumulate because of the weather forecast. These signs help to remind pedestrians to be aware of their surroundings.
- Clear snow and ice from public sidewalks adjoining private property. Building owners are required to ensure that exit doors and exterior stairs that are part of a required exit path (such as porches in multi-family buildings) are kept clear of snow, ice and other obstructions.
- Clear ice and snow from walking surfaces on private property, such as in parking lots.
"In the long term, buildings should have a regular maintenance plan to ensure roofs, gutters, and downspouts are working as intended and not blocked, " the department tweeted Tuesday. "In spring, building owners should evaluate their buildings to identify and repair any damage caused by winter weather."
Chicago's Office of Emergency Management and Communications reminded residents to clear snow from porches "as added weight of snow/ice could compromise structures."
The city is also warning pedestrians and residents to watch for falling ice.
The warmer weather marks the warmest temperatures so far this year.
"We not been above 41 degrees so far this year, the longest wait for that temperature since 1979," NBC 5 Storm Team Meteorologist Paul Deanno said.
In fact, Chicago spent exactly 400 hours below freezing from 8 p.m. on Feb. 4 through 12 p.m. on Feb. 21.
"That’s a long time," Deanno said.
Thursday and Friday will likely stay in the low to mid 30s, before the 40s return for another mild weekend with chances for rain and snow.