The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Lunchtime links

Too much to read today, especially during an hours-long download from our trips over the past two weeks. So I'll come back to these:

But more seriously:

Lunch break is over.

Strangest winter I can remember

The snow continues to fall:

The Chicago area remained under a lake-effect snow warning as the Tuesday morning rush slowed to an icy crawl on expressways and some Metra train lines.

The warning covers Cook, Lake and DuPage counties until 4 p.m.  In Lake County, Ind., the warning has been extended to 1 a.m. Wednesday.

The dense snow was being carried by winds from the north to northeast over Lake Michigan.  The snow bands were expected to slowly shift into northwest Indiana later in the morning and continue overnight into Wednesday.

I'm in my home office today watching alternating whiteout and sunny conditions as bands of lake-effect snow wash over the area. Later, I have to dig my car out to take Parker for a routine vet visit.

But, of course, it's March. The forecast calls for temperatures to warm up above freezing around noon Thursday and stay there until Saturday night, when they'll dip only briefly before spring begins in earnest.

Chicago's weather is weird.

Winter is here!

Chicago had no measurable snowfall for almost three months—until last night:

Snow started Sunday. Snow in the Chicago area and elsewhere is leading to more than 500 cancellations at Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway airports.

The last time Chicago received any significant snowfall was in mid-December, when there was a little more than 5 inches of snow on Dec. 11 and 3.5 inches of snow days later.

Since the first of the year, what rare flurries the city has seen have added up to less than an inch of snow.

My co-workers who came from other climates are terribly confused. We native Chicagoans are not. Of course we're getting an early-spring snowfall. We haven't built up enough character from the first two months of the year.

A chill in the air

That's not a metaphor. The polar vortex has descended upon Chicago, promising temperatures below -17°C tomorrow and Friday in the coldest December in years:

While the deep chill will be powered by the infamous polar vortex — the circulation of air around the Arctic Circle — meteorologists don't believe we're headed for anything like the winter of 2013-14 when Chicago suffered through its coldest four-month period ever. The polar bear at the Lincoln Park Zoo wouldn't even venture outdoors.

But Tom Skilling, WGN-TV's meteorologist, said people should not jump to conclusions from this week, when the high Thursday will be in the single digits.  Friday will be warmer, but there will be snow and maybe freezing rain over the weekend.

"This week is going to have the coldest air most of us have felt in 11 months," Skilling said. "It's going to be brutally cold for the Bears game on Sunday. But there's no reason to believe that, because we’re in a current cold spell, that this by any means sets the tone for the rest of the winter."

So the winter might be like Donald Trump? Objectively bad, but maybe not as bad as Hitler?

More blizzard videos

The snow keeps coming down here by the lake, but it's officially stopped at O'Hare. We've now had the third biggest snowfall in Chicago history: 513 mm fell over the past two days, only 70 mm short of the 1967 record.

Lest you think we're wimps here, Oak Park River Forest High School closed today for only the 5th time in its 125-year history; the last time was in 1979.

As you read this from San Francisco, or Riyadh, or Singapore, or anywhere else in the world other than the central U.S., feel the disappointment of not having the opportunity to ride this bus today:

It's not horrible. Yet. The wind has calmed from its peak 82 km/h last night, and the temperature still hovers only a little below freezing, at -7°C at O'Hare and -3°C at IDTWHQ. And I'm assured it's wonderful for dogs:

As I write this, Police Superintendent Jody Weis is on the radio talking about (a) the additional snow (possibly 15 cm) expected to hit near the lake, and the -17°C cold expected tonight; and (b) the Lake Shore Drive disaster that stranded hundreds of cars for five hours or longer. "We're aware of no injuries, but hundreds of people were very inconvenienced last night."