Mother Nature, Part 2

The howling gale stopped along with the snow sometime before dawn.  In the light, it didn’t so bad all things considered.  I catnapped but was awakened by –more wind, accompanied by more snow. Mother Nature apparently wants to present this drama in several acts with short interludes.  I bundled up Patty (pink parka naturally), who refused to pee one drop in over 24 hours, and dragged out her out the door.  Could almost hear her “AHHHH!”  I walked her about to see the sights (read: dragged her around some more).  This dog, whose heritage is snow sledding, is just not that into it.  Because of the gale, the snow didn’t fall straight down and there were relatively bare-like areas.  But then there are the drifts, knee deep here, thigh deep there, or just impassible.  It’s very windy, but not disturbingly so compared yesterday.  After feeding the ravenous pooch who decided that under my bed was a good place to hide, I set forth to record all this on my iPhone.  Finding food was also an issue.

The eatery across the lane was open thank goodness.  However they had damaged seals in the floor to ceiling windows, so there was leaks.  I trekked down the middle of the street to the main thoroughfares and realized the snow was a lot deeper than it looked.  Things looked deserted except for those walking in the street.  I spotted three slow moving cars, total.  Two intrepid guys from Jimmy John’s, a deli franchise, tramped about, passing out free sandwiches; they declared they were OPEN for business and would deliver even for one.  I  instantly got a warm and fuzzy feeling.  Free lunch and possibly dinner later!   Did I know that Jewel and Dominick’s (major grocery chains) were closed across the city? I have never heard of such a thing.  How could we clean out the stores of break and milk?   Things must be truly bad.

My area wasn’t as hard it as those farther inland.  Still I wanted to record something for posterity. (I apologize for the videos.  It was my first time taping on the iPhone 4.  Apparently I should have held the thing lengthwise for landscape mode.  I was also breathless because my asthma has been playing up.

Here are pictures of what’s happening elsewhere.

According to the news, it is bad.  There are lines of abandoned cars in the middle of Lake Shore Drive and the city is frantically trying to plow that open and toll away the cars.  Drivers are still stranded at tollway oases.  Chunks of the city are without power and no clue when it will be restored.  There is no electricity to parts of the ‘el” and subway system.  Some of the bus routes are shut down.  The train system has shut down five lines and running Sunday schedules on others.  Even the MALLS are closed.Over 20 inches of snow has fallen with more expected.  The current talk concerns what could open tomorrow, but that sounds in serious doubt, especially if it doesn’t stop snowing soon.  The mayor hasn’t said but news sources all agree we’re paralyzed.

Verdict: the Blizzard of “11 has nudged out ’99 and probably passed “79,  but probably won’t beat “67, unless the paralysis extends for days.  It’s not likely because the city has sworn to never let that happen again.EDIT:  The sun peeking through and the sky is turning blue.  It’s OVER!  …Isn’t it?

EDIT: Well, Mother Nature decided to take the sun and blue sky elsewhere and give us the cold shoulder.  Fiiiiiine.  Be that way.

Mother Nature, We’ve Gotta Talk…

It’s 1AM and I can’t sleep.  The blizzard has been barreling down since 4PM with constant gales force winds 40-50 mph, even more so at the lake where I am.  It sounds like a freight train running through here.  It’s total whiteout from my windows.  The heat is up and I’m wrapped in blanket, but these new buildings aren’t airtight by design.  My pomeranian Patty is freaked out and hiding behind the toilet.  She’s confined to the bathroom because she refused to do anything just outside the service door.  Hopefully she will use the newspapers.  The firefighters are still rescuing bus passengers and motorists on Lake Shore Drive because it was closed at 8:ooPM.  The airport is closed.  All but essential businesses will be closed.  All federal offices will be closed, a first in the 22 years working in one.  State employees are being told to stay home.  Actually everybody is being told to stay home. Concern is not centered so much on the snow.  We are acquainted with blizzards, we can handle snow.  It’s the WIND.I stupidly left work a bit late thinking it didn’t look so bad.  Appearances were deceiving because once I left the buffer of the tall office buildings, moving on foot was daunting.  I walked right into the teeth of the gale.  We pedestrians had to cling to fences, posts, trees, anything handy and crossed intersections that were nothing but wind tunnels.  That was memorable and positively scary.  Just discovered some bruises from actually getting knocked over.  I’ve seen windy and very windy but nothing like this.  Forecasters are predicting 3-4 inches per hour through tomorrow morning.  This affair is giving the Blizzard of ’67 serious competition.


A blizzard is a-comin’, at least that’s what the forecasters say.  However it’s been my experience that when the word “blizzard” is invoked, it fizzles into an anti-climax.  But winds are seriously howling, the snow has started and my building has emailed high gales warnings to the residents.  And I see forecasters have swapped specific predictions for a generalized “heavy accumulation.”  Now that sounds ominous.

Being a budding old fart, I’m now afflicted with the tendency to reminisce. No, I’m not going to talk about walking every day 10 miles to school uphill both ways.   This trip down memory lane concerns the Great Blizzard of 1967.  This storm has gone down in the annals of weather history for dropping 23 inches of snow in 35 hours, totally paralyzing Chicago and northwest Indiana for days. People were trapped on overnight buses, in cars, in homes. It became the benchmark for blizzards.

That January I was six years old and already an avowed snow freak. I loved snowstorms and when I heard about this one, it was almost more than my little heart could stand.  When it passed, we were all trapped at home.  Schools were closed and it was impossible for my dad to get to work.  My parents bundled up in more clothes than I have ever seen and went outside to begin the ordeal of digging out a very long driveway buried in drifts.  They admonished me to absolutely, on pain of punishment, not come outside.  I could look out the door, but that was it.  I was utterly dismayed and angry.  They were keeping me from my snow!  So I mummified myself in coats and scarves and gloves and pulled on my little red boots.  I would show them.  I opened the door, stepped out, and my world went white and then dark as I sank into a drift.   I cried for help, my father yanked me out and that ended any notion of making snow angels for awhile.

Actually I recall hating snow the rest of the winter, especially after school reopened.  When the streets were plowed, it created huge mountains at the curbs which I had to climb, sometimes on my hands and knees, while I envisioned falling into the street and getting run over, my guts plastered for half a block.  Fortunately I survived and lived to see two more blizzards.  But they were nothing like the ole Blizzard of “67.  Yup.


Why does this look so terribly ancient?  It was only 44 years ago.  Sigh.

I’ll leave you here with an image of another snowy affair:

Richard Armitage as John Thornton in North and South;