The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Bracing for impact

We seem to get our worst snowstorms during the first week of February. A big one has formed southeast of here, and though forecasters know it will hit the Chicago area tonight, they don't know exactly where:

The majority of the snow is expected to fall beginning around 6 p.m. Tuesday and continuing through most of the day Wednesday, according to meteorologists at the National Weather Service in Romeoville. As much as 8 inches to 1 foot of snow could fall in the Chicago area and points south.

Forecasters said the storm will come with a sharp gradient, meaning areas nearby could get drastically different amounts of snow. Residents of the northwest suburbs may not get any snow accumulation, meteorologists said.

At the moment we have hazy but sunny skies and 5.5°C, the warmest we've had since the 18th, when it got up to 5.9°C. One forecast says we'll get 7°C by noon, another says we'll get rain by 3...who knows? But by this time tomorrow, either we'll have a ton more snow on the ground or we won't.

Update: National Weather Service Chicago published this graphic earlier:

The next forecast should come out in about an hour or so.

Just missed the snow

I'm waiting for my flight home at the Raleigh-Durham airport, watching Jim Cantore in Boston. You never want to see Cantore in your home town: it means horrible, rotten, no-good weather. The only nice thing about Boston's weather this morning is that the snow has moved on—for now:

Boston received 23.6 inches [600 mm] of snow Saturday, tying its record for a one-day snowfall, according to the National Weather Service.

We haven't seen 600 mm of snow in one day in Chicago ever. Even in the Blizzard of 1967, 55 years ago this week, we only got 503 mm, and in February 2011 we set the record at 508 mm.

And I said "for now" because another storm may hit the East Coast next weekend...

Context (winter weather edition)

The coffee shop I went to about an hour ago had a sign that said, "Snow day - open at 10am." It did, in fact, snow overnight here. And some of the sidewalks were, in fact, icy.

But the temperature only got down to one degree below freezing, it snowed less than 20 mm, and none of it stuck to the roads. Ah, North Carolina in winter, bless your heart!

Fun weather for travel

We got about 150 mm of snow this morning, thanks to the giant lake a short walk from my house. This made getting Cassie to school a slog (she loved it, though), and made me seriously worry about my flight this evening.

Now it's sunny, and the roads are clear.

If only I knew how many parking spaces O'Hare had right now...

I think I can, I think I can

C'mon, Chicago...only a little ways left to hit -10°C...you can do it...

The bottom of that curve (-19.4°C) coincided perfectly with Cassie's first walk this morning. We made it around the block in 10 minutes, but she clearly wanted to go back inside most of the way.

The forecast says it'll keep going up slowly until about 3pm tomorrow, when it starts sliding again, just not as far as it did last night. And Tuesday might even stay above freezing all day!

Monday, Monday

The snow has finally stopped for, we think, a couple of days, and the city has cleared most of the streets already. (Thank you, Mike Bilandic.) What else happened today?

Finally, Weber Grills apologized today for its really unfortunate timing last week, when it emailed thousands of customers a recipe for BBQ meat loaf—on the day singer Meat Loaf died.

Lunchtime roundup, falling temperatures edition

We have one of those lovely January days when a tongue of cold air pushes south from Canada and gives us the warmest temperature of the day at midnight. Yesterday the Inner Drive Techology World Headquarters got up to 6°C around 3:30pm, stayed around 5°C from 6:30 pm until 1am, and since then has cooled down to -5°C. The forecast calls for continued cooling until reaching -13°C around 6am tomorrow.

Yesterday's weather conditions encouraged the formation of "pancake ice" on Lake Michigan. Block Club Chicago has tons of photos and videos of the phenomenon if you're curious.

Block Club Chicago's story on pop-up Covid testing facilities bilking consumers and governments alike got the attention of Bruce Schneier, who assures his readers that no, these guys aren't going to sell your data. They're just ordinary multi-level marketing scammers.

In other Chicago journalism news, Chicago Public Media's board voted unanimously yesterday to acquire the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper. The deal will create the biggest non-profit journalism organization in Chicago, and has the backing of billionaire Michael Sacks. (Note: I am a Leadership Circle contributor to Chicago Public Media, and once worked for Sacks at GCM.)

Now, Cassie and I will brave the cold for a few minutes so she can take care of her important business.

Winter in Chicago

The temperature bottomed out at -14.4°C around 1:30 am, and has climbed ever so slowly since then to -0.3°:

Will we get above freezing? The forecast says yes, any moment now. But the sun will set in about 5 minutes. Anyway, a guy can dream, right?

Meanwhile, Chicago's teachers and schools have agreed to let the kids back tomorrow, even as the mayor herself tested positive for Covid. And the Art Institute's workforce has formed a union, which will operate under AFSCME.

And that's not all:

And finally, just as no one could have predicted that more guns leads to more gun violence, the same people could not have predicted that the NFT craze would lead to NFT fraud.

Fall down go boom

I managed to acquire a few bruises last night walking Cassie. I'm fine; she's fine; but my left hand and elbow are a bit sore.

Yesterday continued our really strange week as the repeating 96-hour cycle of cold and thaw continued:

Starting around 4pm, the warm front pushed just enough moisture ahead of itself to give Chicago a fine mist that instantly coated everything. Even though the air got above freezing later on, the sidewalks did not. Result: most of them got a perfectly smooth, nearly invisible coating of ice about 2mm thick.

Cassie, of course, failed to understand why I insisted on walking at a small fraction of our usual speed. She has four feet, you see, and while one or two of them might slip a bit, the dog remained standing.

I, however, did not. Several times.

And here we go again:

So, Cassie won't get all the walkies she deserves today, but she did get a ride in the car. And my bruises will heal.

Quick links

The temperature at Inner Drive Technology World Headquarters bottomed out at -16.5°C around 8am today, colder than any time since February 15th. It's up to -8.6°C now, with a forecast for continued wild gyrations over the next week (2°C tomorrow, -17°C on Monday, 3°C on Wednesday). Pity Cassie, who hasn't gotten nearly enough walks because of the cold, and won't next week as her day care shut down for the weekend due to sick staff.

Speaking of sick staff, New Republic asks a pointed question about the Chicago Public Schools: why should their teachers be responsible for making life normal again?

The Washinigton Post asks, what will people do with the millions of dogs they adopted when they (the people, not the dogs) go back to work?

The lawyers for Cyber Ninjas ask, who's going to pay their fees after the grift-based organization shut down abruptly?

And North Michigan Avenue asks, will any more pieces of the Hancock Center fall off the building?

And I ask, will Cassie ever let me sleep past 7am?