Wednesday, February 02, 2011

All is well enough

Nobody hung me from the ceiling for days and days of interrogation, nor hit me in the head with a club for standing in the wrong place. The Army didn't take over, nor did the cops. The politicians are assholes who couldn't find their assholes if you spotted them their taints, but last time I checked they hadn't tortured anybody.

Writing something about our weather seems, ...trivial. Very.

We were warned more than a week ago. Ain't that a bitch? WGN's Tommy Skilling (Enron Jeff's sweetheart brother) called this thing almost two weeks ago. Meteorological bragging rights. Tommy's a weather savant, and you could almost feel his excitement building as the day approached. Doppler radar. Massive massive motherfucker building down in Texas and Arkansas that was poised like a dagger. A really, really big dagger.

On Sunday, Tommy said that it was going to snow Monday, about 2 inches. And then it would get sunny, and the skies would stay clear until approximately 3PM on Tuesday.

Then, according to Tom, it was going to get windy, and it was going to snow, and it was going to be extraordinarily intense. And, it was going to rage for about 16 hours.

Closed up the shop at noon, stopped at the store. Happy Foods on Northwest Highway. Coffee, soda, spuds, normal shit. Girl at the checkout tells me they've emptied and restocked the bread shelves and the pasta shelves (..?..really, ...pasta?) twice in the course of the morning.

I was laughing as I remarked to her "It's Chicago for God's sake. They've never seen snow before? It's not a hurricane."

And she rolled her eyes and said "We'll probably get about 5 inches or something. They always say these storms are going to be huge."

"Tommy Skilling is comparing it to '67. You're too young to remember '67 but I do. I was 7 years old, and it was unbelievable. Mountains of show everywhere. Kids jumping from roofs into snowdrifts. Trees whose trunks were completely hidden up to the lowest branches. Full grown trees. Cars completely buried in their own driveways. I hope it's not like '67."

1967 was a hell of a bad winter.

Same year, by the way, as the Six Day War.

So anyway, I got home and loaded up the fridge. Battened down the hatches. Got my cameras ready. Watched daytime TV. I'm never home to watch daytime TV. I think, "Oh dear god, please don't make this like '67, I can't take too much daytime TV."

At almost 3 O'Clock on the dot, it started. Skies turned cobalt, and the wind began to build. And build. And build. At around 6, the first real snow started falling, but it was falling horizontally. Not so much falling I guess, as sailing.

Skilling said the heavy stuff will start around 9, as much as 3 inches per hour. Maybe it was coming at that rate, but in 50 mph gales, it's a whole different deal.

And then came the lightning.

You're just not ready for something like that. Imagine peeking out of your quonset hut down at McMurdo Station on Ross Island, Antarctica. Almost total whiteout as the raging wind is blowing so much snow across your field of vision that it's really all you see, and then throw some lightning and thunder into the mix.

That's what it was like.


That's what we're calling it?

That sucks.

That awesome phenomenon needs a way cooler name.

Icy Flash-Hammers or some fucking thing. You ain't lived until you've seen blue lightning and heard booming thunder in the middle of a raging blizzard.

I stayed up most of the night. Crashed about 4:45 and got up around 8. Snowplows out on Summit.

I was only out for 4 hours, but in the light of day, it's a hell of a sight let me tell you. A little snow still falling but the bulk of it now covering everything with 2 feet of frosting, the first thing I noticed was that the wind had finally died.

We'll dig out, again. We'll be at half-speed, at best, for another week. Outer Dive still closed. 900 cars stranded. Emergency rescues. Power outages. No rail service. Practically every road partially or totally impassable. Snowmobiles driving down Prospect Ave. Midway and O'Hare closed!

No way in, no way out.

It is very much like 1967 all over again.

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