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CHICAGO (AP) – Mindful of last winter’s visit from the polar vortex, Chicago is girding for colder weather with a bigger stockpile of salt and more snow plows.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and other city officials briefed reporters Saturday on the preparations.

The Department of Streets and Sanitation is armed with 115,000 more tons of salt than last year, bringing the total stockpile to 400,000 tons. Its fleet of 280 snow-clearing vehicles includes 19 new snow plows and four smaller, four-wheel drive plows.

Still, the city is asking for backup from residents and building owners, urging them to clear sidewalks and, in particular, to keep fire hydrants from becoming buried.

Also new this year, is an improved plow tracking feature on the chicagoshovels.org website. The real-time tracker now shows the direction plows are moving.

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