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Dept. of Wizard Blizzards

Thundersnow. It's a Real Word.
Here in Chicago, where 78,000 customers are without power, (46,000 in the city proper) we are half-way through the biggest blizzard since 1999. It may surpass the Great One of 1967. The wind gusts are 45 mph here in the city, 58 mph elsewhere. And we are having massive lightning strikes. So far 6.8 to 13 inches in the Chicagoland (yes, that's a word, too, at least in Chicago)  and the snow should continue until about 1 p.m. tomorrow.

What's that? Yes, lightning strikes and thunder; apparently one more sign that the snowfall is expected to be heavy. and the official term is thundersnow.

Oh, yeah, forgot the storm-surge they're worried about for Lake Michigan. Lake Shore Drive is shut down.

I got home - today was, of course, a deadline day - at 4:30. I got into the car at 2:50. I drove 13 miles. The last 2 miles took 40 minutes, I think.

I'll be working tomorrow, but from my house. I'm shooting for a Thursday dig-out, which is when I really need to get over to carnyjack 's to make sure his cats are fed. I went down there last night and loaded up twice the number of water and dry food bowls, then added a two baking tins worth of water and dry food, and made sure their litter could last a couple of days.

I love Chicago. Really, I do, but hell in a handcart, this is the worst I've ever seen in a long time.

I've been taking pictures from the back door. They really don't show the extent of the storm. If I get some better ones before this whole thing blows over, I may post them.

Thundersnow. Bloody hell.

Comments

( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
gerisullivan
Feb. 2nd, 2011 06:09 am (UTC)
Yowser.

I'm sorry that my plans to spend this week working at carnyjack's were trumped by physical therapy appointments here in Wales, if only to save you the effort getting back there Thursday. Then again, I do have to say the mess that's hitting Chicagoland sounds far worse than the mess that's hitting the Wilds of Wales.

I don't know the secrets of blizzard photography or of capturing the aftereffects, either. Even Plow Mountain is far more massive in person than it looks in any of the pictures I snapped this afternoon.

Good luck! See you soon!
kaffyr
Feb. 2nd, 2011 06:18 am (UTC)
We'll look forward to seeing you, my dear. The trip to the Great Carny's house may actually be easier than I made it seem; I could actually walk over to my local CTA station and ride down to the one nearest his place. Walking is going to be a lot easier than driving.
the_arc5
Feb. 2nd, 2011 07:53 am (UTC)
That is so insane. We had the exact same thing happen here in the good ol' Midwest. We probably got less snow than you will, being quite a bit more southerly, but we got a hell of a lot more than normal. Generally we top out at about four inches, but I stepped outside today in snow up to my knees. And we got the same lighting and thunder to go along with it.

Maybe it's the same horrible storm, continuing northward. All I can say is good luck and I have complete sympathy.
kaffyr
Feb. 2nd, 2011 04:57 pm (UTC)
It is the same storm, I discovered to my rather awed chagrin when I saw a satellite picture of the disturbance. In fact, my mom is probably experiencing the storm today - and she's in Nova Scotia.

It's morning, and the winds have died down. The snow is still falling heavily, thoiugh.
penguin2
Feb. 2nd, 2011 09:58 am (UTC)
Meanwhile, down here we're waiting for Cyclone Yasi to make landfall on the north Queensland coast (the really serious parts, including gusts of over 200mph, are expected to start around midnight) where it will - in addition to potential loss of lives amongst those who didn't make the evacuations or refused to go - wipe out the rest of the sugar crop, to go with the destruction of much of the big Aussie fruit and veg farmland in the past month's floods.

Awesome stuff, weather...
azalaisdep
Feb. 2nd, 2011 01:05 pm (UTC)
I was looking at the BBC News reports/pictures of the advancing Yasi and it sounded terrifying. Fingers crossed it will make landfall further away from populated areas than currently predicted...
kaffyr
Feb. 2nd, 2011 05:00 pm (UTC)
Awesome indeed - I actually used the word replying to another post, even before seeing yours. I had heard about Australia being assaulted again; it's particularly worrisome because the weather systems hitting your country are, like this, large enough to cover significant portions of the continent. Good luck, if luck there be, to northern Queensland.
penguin2
Feb. 3rd, 2011 09:01 pm (UTC)
~nods~ Awesome in the old sense of inspiring awe, yes. But thanks to forewarning and evacuation infrastructure, it seems the human cost is low. A friend who lives up there (near Townsville) and who is a small independent sugar farmer lost half her crop but is taking it in stride. Queensland has a small population - not even five million - but that said, that's a quarter of the entire population of Australia, so the destruction from Yasi and from last month's floods will hit the economy here hard.
kaffyr
Feb. 4th, 2011 12:14 am (UTC)
The projected loss, in agricultural goods and to the economy in general, is really staggering.
penguin2
Feb. 4th, 2011 12:20 am (UTC)
It truly is. It may not make much difference to the average Big Mac-and-chips eater, but for people like us, who live mostly on fresh veggies and fruit...eurgh. Heh, one of the reasons I moved down here was for the insanely cheap and widely available produce! Oh well, luckily for us we and the rest of my husband's family grow much of our own...
azalaisdep
Feb. 2nd, 2011 01:06 pm (UTC)
Whoah, that's serious weather. We had what for England is a lot of snow before Christmas, but in my neck of the woods we didn't get blizzards or high winds (some did). I know Chicago is a lot more used to this kind of thing than we are, though - fingers crossed all will be well.
kaffyr
Feb. 2nd, 2011 05:18 pm (UTC)
We're handling it as well as can be expected. The city still woke up to a Lake Shore Drive (our gorgeous lake front roadway) that had dozens, maybe more, abandoned cars owned by people who Did. Not. Listen. and cut it too close getting home. So far, only one death has been reported, a man who apparently was blown, or fell, into the lake at the height of the storm. If we only have one death, that's great. We don't know whether the snow totals will edge into second place, at more than 21.6 inches. We probably won't surpass the 23 inches of 1967. Damn it. (We'd been hoping we could surpass 1967 and finally stop talking about it. Heh.)
penguin2
Feb. 3rd, 2011 09:03 pm (UTC)
A RL friend of mine who lives in your area says he has six-foot snowdrifts in his front garden!
kaffyr
Feb. 4th, 2011 12:13 am (UTC)
Doesn't surprise me in the least. We have drifts like that up and down my street. Found out today when I went to try and dig out my car that a) that wasn't going to happen, at least not in one day and b) all the routes out of my neighborhood were blocked by stalled and abandoned cars - one of them a burned out hulk. Some of us figure the latter was a stolen car wherein the driver panicked, burned out the transmission trying to get through the snow, after which the transmission set the entire thing alight.

Thank god I can work from the house, at least partially.
penguin2
Feb. 4th, 2011 12:17 am (UTC)
I was just thinking about how many people I know in RL who are smack in the middle of most of the weather disasters in English-speaking countries. Makes for a fascinating map :-)

I won my first-ever car on a bet, by digging it out of road-ice and snowdrifts during a blizzard in Virginia and driving it up to it's then-owner in Baltimore. Hard as it may seem to believe these days, Richmond to Baltimore was a much longer and arduous journey those days even without the snow! No motorways to speak of...
minnehaha
Feb. 2nd, 2011 04:33 pm (UTC)
I remember the Blizzard of 67! The snow was way over my head.

K. [y'all be warm and stay inside]
kaffyr
Feb. 2nd, 2011 05:22 pm (UTC)
Yup, staying warm and inside - it's supposed to get brutally cold tonight (wind chills of 25 below 0.)

You were in Chicago for The Big One, eh?
apostle_of_eris
Feb. 2nd, 2011 05:34 pm (UTC)
I don't recall warnings in '67 or '79.
We had 48 hours of loud warnings about this . . .
My biggest concern right now is the -7/-24 with windchill forecast for dawn tomorrow, when I'd be leaving for work . . .
kaffyr
Feb. 2nd, 2011 09:29 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I'd been hoping that the large amount of snow would insulate us a little bit, but no such luck.

(Did I congratulate you on the job? If not, congrats!)
clocketpatch
Feb. 2nd, 2011 08:25 pm (UTC)
I'm home from school waiting out the same strong north of the border. I don't think we've got it as bad as you (I'm pretty sure we're just on the edges of it), but I keep looking out the window and kind of boggling that it's STILL snowing.
kaffyr
Feb. 2nd, 2011 09:34 pm (UTC)
I think the storm system was supposed to be heading to the east - not sure how far north it would move, but my mom, in Nova Scotia, was getting the edge of it last night.
( 21 comments — Leave a comment )

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