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Chicago, IL Blizzard, Jan 1918

Blizzard Abates; Blockade Broken

Hundreds of Thousands of Volunteers Dig Paths Through Snow in the West.

Warmer, With Clear Skies

Chicago Trains Resume Partial Operations and Food and Fuel Situation Improves.

Chicago, Jan. 13.-Picks and shovels, wielded by hundreds of thousands of volunteer workers and tens of thousands of municipal and railway employees, today succeeded in breaking the absolute traffic tie-up in Chicago and the Middle West which had been caused by the blizzard which swept over this region Friday and Saturday.

Men, women and children bent willingly to the task of breaking traffic ways through the deep snow, while sunshine from a cloudless sky enabled them to make such progress that tonight railroads entering Chicago operated the first outgoing trains since yesterday afternoon, and from many cities came reports that the volunteer workers had so opened streets and roads that delivery traffic was able to penetrate the storm-swept district, thereby ameliorating conditions which had threatened fuel and food shortages.

No railway schedules were formed, but practically every road operating from here managed to send out at least one train. Reports from the outlying territory indicated that a majority of the scores of trains stalled in snow drifts yesterday were gradually proceeding toward their destinations and that by tomorrow, with the present clear weather prevailing, all lines would be open. Several through trains from the East and a few from the West arrived to-day, twenty-four to thirty-six hours late.

Stock Trains Rescued

The Chicago, Burlington and Quincy closed all local freight yards, so as to release the men from work to clearing the tracks. The Chicago switch yards were opened and scores of freight stock trains blocked on the outskirts of the city were brought in today.

Railroad officials announced that the unusual number of trains could not be operated before tomorrow night. The ones sent out tonight were made up late in the afternoon and sent out whenever it was thought there was a chance for them to get through. No effort was made to arrange a schedule.

The Twentieth Century Limited from New York, due yesterday, arrived late tonight, carrying a party of New York bankers, including Otto H. Kahn, who was to have addressed a bankers’ meeting in Milwaukee tonight.

In Chicago the situation, although improving, was still forbidding. It is still impossible to make deliveries of provisions in many districts. The city had been practically without milk since yesterday, and dairies reported today that only preferred deliveries to hospitals and to houses where there were children, would be made tomorrow.

Heading many of the volunteer digging brigades today were women-some clad in bloomers or overalls. In some districts the women were out at 4 o’clock in the morning. They were assisted by thousands of children. Schools will be closed this week until the streets are cleared. Releasing some 60,000 children for work in shoveling snow.

Though many apartment houses are without coal, it is thought that tomorrow night will see a danger of serious coal famine averted. Many cars of coal were brought in from the outskirts of the city today and there is no shortage in the supply. The difficulty in making deliveries is only the danger.

Fire Warnings Issued.

City officials tonight issued another warning of the danger of fire, because of the inability of the fire wagons to get through many streets, and volunteer bucket brigades have been formed. Police today made a house-to-house canvass, warning everyone to keep buckets of water handy, and seeing to the enforcement of city ordinances regarding clearing sidewalks.

Eighteen deaths in this territory are known to have resulted from the storm. The temperature has been rising slowly throughout the district since Saturday afternoon, the wind has died down, and indications are that there will be nothing of consequence to handicap the workers immediately, according to the Weather Bureau.

The New York Times, New York, NY 14 Jan 1918



article | by Dr. Radut