Chicago’s Winter Peril: The Silent Danger from Above
Ice falling from tall buildings during winter is an unlikely event that has become a common occurrence in some cities across the globe. While there are no official records on icicle injuries, there have been several reports of icicle accidents, with Russia being a hotspot for these accidents. In America, Chicago has gained notoriety as the most dangerous city for falling icicles. This blog will explore this issue, including the history of icicle accidents in Chicago, the causes of falling icicles, and how to stay safe during winter.
The History of Icicle Accidents in Chicago
Chicagoans have become accustomed to seeing yellow warning signs all over downtown after cold snaps to warn people of the potential danger of falling icicles. However, despite these warnings, there have been several accidents in the past, including the death of a woman in 2011 who was hit by a falling icicle. In 1994, a man died after a large piece of ice fell on his head, and in 2000, eight people were hospitalized after being hit by falling ice. These incidents highlight the danger of falling icicles and the need for increased caution during winter in Chicago.
Causes of Falling Icicles
Icicles form on the edges of buildings and can grow to several feet in length and weight. They fall when they become too heavy or when the temperature rises, causing them to melt and detach from the building. Wind gusts can also cause icicles to detach, making it difficult to predict when and where they will fall. Taller buildings are more prone to falling icicles since they have longer edges where icicles can form.
Staying Safe during Winter
The best way to stay safe during winter is to be aware of your surroundings and avoid areas where falling icicles are common. Walking in the street is not always safe since icicles can sail horizontally on wind drafts or be broken apart by building structures to become cluster bombs. The Chicago Tribune recommends looking up when walking near tall buildings and avoiding standing under icicles or near signs warning of falling ice. It is also advisable to wear a hat with a brim to protect your face and eyes from falling ice.
Falling icicles are a danger that cannot be underestimated, especially in cities like Chicago. While it is unlikely to get facially impaled by an icicle, there have been several reports of icicle accidents, with Chicago being one of the most affected cities in the country. The causes of falling icicles include their weight, rising temperatures, and wind gusts. To stay safe during winter, it is advisable to be aware of your surroundings, avoid standing under icicles, and wear protective gear. Remember, it is better to be safe than sorry!