The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Exercise for the day

I mentioned yesterday that having my car snowed in didn't bother me much. I do have to use it eventually, however. Today the temperature got above freezing, the warmest we expect it to be for the next week, at least. So, after 40 minutes with a shovel and a spade, I went from this:

To this

I will now shower. And nap.

The Blizzard of 2011: Economic impacts

The storm this week forced 20,000 flight cancellations costing $120-150 million:

American Airlines, the country’s third-largest carrier, took the biggest hit after high winds and ice closed its Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport hub Tuesday.

American, along with American Eagle and its other commuter operations, racked up more than 5,300 cancellations for the week, according to FlightAware, which tracks airline performance.

Assuming that 10 percent to 30 percent of stranded customers choose to not reschedule, the cancellations likely reduced first-quarter net income of parent company AMR Corp. by $41.5 million to $51.3 million, or 12.5 cents to 15 cents a share, said Vaughn Cordle, chief analyst at AirlineForecasts.

None of the airlines the article discussed commented on the figures.

Why I love cities

Or, why I will never work somewhere where I need to commute by car:

A jack-knifed semi blocked all lanes of the northbound Edens Expressway north of the Willow exit for more than an hour this morning.

The accident at one point backed up traffic to Fullerton on the Kennedy Expressway.

(Photo: WGN-TV)

I might need to go downtown today, which will require one of the 7 bus routes or 3 El lines that pass within a kilometer of my house. And this does not bother me at all:

The Blizzard of 2011: The Lake

More shots from my photo safari earlier today:

At Fullerton:

Farther down, closer to LaSalle:

North Avenue. I processed this one a little bit to tighten up the levels; what I actually saw had much less contrast and color:

That's all for today. By tomorrow the holiday will end and I'll realize I'm a day behind in my work. And Parker will realize that he's not getting almost two hours of walks—especially because tomorrow is predicted to begin with a brisk -20°C morning.

The Blizzard of 2011: Lake Shore Drive

Last night hundreds of cars got stuck on Lake Shore Drive after three accidents blocked the northbound lanes between Fullerton and Belmont around 7pm. Some people were stuck in their cars as late as 3am; one friend's dad got off the Drive only around then.

Dozens of cars and buses littered the road when Parker and I went out for a 90-minute photo safari this afternoon:

This guy also got stuck. Who's he going to call?

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."

It's groundhog day...again...

First, a report out of Punxsutawney, Penn., that Punxsutawney Phil (the groundhog) did not see his shadow:

Punxsutawney Phil emerged from a tree stump at dawn and, unusually, did not see his shadow, signaling that spring is just around the corner, according to tradition.

"He found that there was no shadow," said Bill Deeley, president of a club that organizes Groundhog Day in the western Pennsylvania town of Punxsutawney. "So an early spring it will be."

Ah, but there's a catch:

"There is no question that Phil is capable of feeling empathy," Johnston said in an interview. "But he is absolutely incapable of error."

The rodent's predictions are "not burdened by being site-specific" and so can be sure to predict an early spring in some part of the world, Johnston added.

Who knew Phil was a lawyer? Also—wasn't there, you know, a blizzard last night?

While western Pennsylvania was spared the worst of the storm, many central and northern areas of the U.S. were hit by snow and ice that closed roads, shut down businesses, and grounded flights.

But the Punxsutawney crowd, which started arriving on Gobbler's Knob at 3 a.m., braved some of the worst weather in the last 20 years of Groundhog Day, said [Mike Johnston, vice president of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club's Inner Circle, or board of directors].

Looking outside at the weather in Chicago, I hope Phil was thinking of the north-central U.S....

Update: The Tribune has video, and allows sharing, so: