Chicago blizzard takes social media by storm


By Laura Furr

Chicagoans took to the snow-filled streets this week to capture the realities of the fifth-largest blizzard to ever strike the city.

The 19.3 inches of snow recorded at O’Hare International Airport, according to the National Weather Service, inspired nearly 100,000 Instagram photos using the popular hashtag #chiberia. Almost 3,000 Instagrams were tagged #chicagoblizzard as of Tuesday morning.

Some took to the video-looping app, Vine, to share their playful snow days, while others tweeted of both the struggles and the beauty Chicagoans see each winter.

Here’s how some Chicagoans made the best of the blizzard:

Victoria Kato, a 34-year-old Gold Coast resident, captured this photo from the John Hancock Building on Monday afternoon. She said she was struck by the beauty of the storm.

“It reminded me that no matter what elements the city may experience, the city still will stand resilient and strong and of course regal,” she said. “And I relate that to myself and that no matter what circumstances or challenges I may face I will get back up and continue to walk forward steadfast and stronger.”

Kubra Aydin, a 25-year-old clinical psychology student from Istanbul, captured this photo after class at Roosevelt University on Monday afternoon.

Aydin said she has always been interested in “capturing moments” and uses Instagram to share them with her friends and family in Turkey.

“Although it was really cold outside I really wanted to capture some photos because it was really beautiful,” said Aydin, who moved to Chicago last year.

She said she was inspired to take the photo of the sculptures in Millennium Park on her Samsung 4 Mini because the snow caused the sculpted faces to “look like gray haired old people.”

Shortly after she captured the image, she said her parents called her from Istanbul to see how she was surviving the blizzard.

“I said ‘it’s ok I am just taking some pictures here,’” she said. “I am not dying!”

Comedian and graphic designer Steven Lyons, a 33-year-old New Zealand native, filmed this bearded-Vine Sunday night while walking home from a Super Bowl party in Lakeview.

“I didn’t grow up with snow so I walked from Belmont to Irving Park through the blizzard,” he said. “It’s not very far without the blizzard, but it was pretty awesome.”

Lyons said his beard, which he started growing in July, has been helping him through the winter.

“I was supposed to shave it off before Christmas but I couldn’t say goodbye to it,” he said. “I just liked it too much. We are friends now.”

C.W. Harris put his 17-years of Chicago winter knowledge to use Monday morning. The 43-year-old South Side resident said he spent six hours shoveling, snow blowing and helping neighbors.

“It’s no fun digging and all, but it’s Chicago in February,” he said.

A recent D.C. transplant studying at the University of Chicago, Matt, a.k.a. @mistergoat, tweeted of his shock when 54th and South Woodlawn  near his home had not been plowed by Monday at noon.

“Emanuel is often cast as someone who, even if one dislikes his politics, still gets basic jobs done,” he said. “But not here. I’ve seen better plowing in D.C.”

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Snowpiercer! #cta #chicagoblizzard

A post shared by Christopher Sanders (@shotbysanders) on


Chicago native Chris Sanders, 34, snapped this photo while waiting at the Brown Line Francisco stop on his commute to work Monday morning.

Sanders took the photo on his Olympus E-M10 camera with Wi-Fi and directly uploaded it to Instagram. He called the photo “Snowpiercer.”


An oncologist at Rush Copley Medical Center in Aurora, Ying Zhang, 31, took this photo of the Metra before commuting to work Monday morning on his Nexis cellphone.

“I stayed inside all day so it was really pretty to watch,” Zhang said of the blizzard. “But I think that for people that were driving places it was not.”


Kenny Kinzler, who has lived in Chicago since 1992, said his best childhood memories were from snowstorms. Monday morning he and his wife took their 6-year-old daughter, Lily, to Ward A. Montgomery Park, where they saw the Divvy bikes.

“We have used those Divvy bikes many times and it was crazy to see them out with the snow,” Kinzler said. “The sheer amount of snow on them was hilarious.”

Kinzler said his family had an “awesome time” at the park.

“There’s nothing better than when you are 6 years old and having a day off of school and knowing that all you are going to do that day is have fun,” he said. “Mission accomplished.”

Andi Scaletta, 18, took a break after a long day of shoveling snow at Chicago Canine Rescue where she works as a caretaker. At her home in Jefferson Park on Monday, Scaletta, her brother and neighbor jumped into the mounds of snow that had piled below a garage.

“Hard work leads to fun,” she said.

Kalyn Holste, a job recruiter from Arlington Heights, captured this picture of her family dog, Titan, on Monday morning.

Titan, an 11-year-old Golden Retriever loves the snow. Holste said he let himself out of his automatic doggy door Monday morning to play in the 19 inches she recorded at her home. The snow covered Titan’s legs.


Photo at top: Snow piles up in Chicago’s Federal Plaza Square on Monday evening after the area’s fifth-largest blizzard ever.