Lake Michigan continues its record-high levels this month. As of yesterday, the Michigan-Huron system was at 177. 4 m above sea level, 51 cm above last year's level and more than a full meter above average January levels. This has caused massive erosion and the loss of entire beaches in Chicago:
Since 2013, the lake has risen nearly 2 meters, going from a record low to near-record high levels last summer. On Saturday, waves nearing 6 meters pummeled an already drowning shoreline.
A 1-meter wave can pack the power of a small car. A 6-meter wave? Maybe a freight train.
The Chicago Department of Transportation is evaluating the impacts of the storm at Morgan Shoal from 48th to 50th streets and working with the Army Corps to install boulders, according to spokesman Michael Claffey. The work is expected to begin in the coming months.
They'd better get to it. Typically, lake levels are lowest January through April, but so far this month the lake is only 6 cm lower than last July's all-time-record high average.
Fortunately, I'm debugging a build process that takes 6 minutes each time, so I may be able to squeeze some of these in:
Back to debugging Azure DevOps pipelines...
A few articles to read at lunchtime today:
- Will Peischel, writing for Mother Jones, warns that the wildfires in Australia aren't the new normal. They're something worse. (Hint: fires create their own weather, causing feedback loops no one predicted.)
- A new analysis finds that ocean temperatures not only hit record highs in 2019, but also that the rate of increase is accelerating.
- First Nations communities living on Manitoulin Island in Lake Huron—the largest freshwater island in the world—warn that human activity is disrupting millennia-old ecosystems in the Great Lakes.
Fortunately, those aren't the only depressing stories in the news today:
Now that I'm thoroughly depressed, I'll continue working on this API over here...
...as long as you aren't in Chicago:
Lake Shore Drive was being hammered with waves Saturday morning causing officials to shut down the bike path in some parts on the North and South sides.
Officer Michelle Tannehill, a spokeswoman for police, said the northbound path remains closed between Ohio Street and Fullerton Avenue as of 11:30 a.m. There also were reports of trouble on South Shore Drive in the northbound lanes from 7100 to 6700 South Shore Drive.
Still under a winter weather advisory until 3 a.m. Sunday, parts of Cook County along the shoreline were expecting winds to reach up to 50 mph as rain showers threaten to create slick conditions.
It gets better:
Those in and around Chicago can expect snow by Saturday night, but before then, a complex and messy storm will possibly bring freezing rain, thunderstorms, sleet and dangerously high lakefront waves into early Sunday, forecasters said.
A winter storm warning was in effect for McHenry and other outlying counties northwest and west of the city from 9 p.m. Friday until 3 a.m. Sunday, with snow as deep as 7 inches predicted in some areas. A winter weather advisory was in effect for Lake and Kane counties starting at 3 a.m. Saturday and for Cook, DuPage, Kendall and LaSalle counties, lasting until 6 a.m. Sunday.
Officials said the storm will start with rain and sleet. There may also be ice pellets, but it might not freeze all surfaces, which may cause patchy slick spots in the area. It is expected to snow after 5 p.m. Saturday and continue snowing till 1 a.m. Sunday, Friedlein said.
Tonight I'm hosting some fellow singers for madrigals and wine. (You read this blog and didn't realize I'm a nerd?) Fortunately I'm close to public transit. I hope I'm not stuck with too much extra cheese and wine; that would be tragic.
The National Weather Service predicts tonight will be fun:
A hard-to-forecast, complex and messy storm will hit the Chicago area starting Friday night, bringing possibly freezing rain, thunderstorms, sleet, snow and dangerously high lakefront waves into early Sunday, forecasters said.
Ice accumulation of a quarter inch could hit the far northwest parts of the area, with another inch of sleet, but Thursday and Friday’s warm weather could help keep the ground warm enough to keep totals down.
With strong winds of 60–80 km/h predicted with the storm, a lakeshore flood warning was in effect from midnight Friday through 6 a.m. Sunday, with “Significant lakeshore flooding” expected, according to the weather service.
“Waves of 4.2–5.4 m are forecast along the northeast Illinois shore and 3.6–4.9 m along northwest Indiana lakeshore will result in inundation of flood prone areas, possibly including some roads and likely bike paths,” with waves sometimes as high as 7 m, according to the weather service.
Waves of how big? Don't plan on driving down Lake Shore Drive, people.
Updates as events warrant.
A coyote (or coyotes, but maybe just one) has had enough of humanity in Chicago:
Another coyote attack was reported Wednesday night when a man walked into a hospital with a wound on his buttocks that he says came from a coyote.
The 32-year-old man showed up at Northwestern Memorial Hospital with a scratch on his behind, according to Chicago police.
He told officers that on Wednesday evening a coyote attacked him from behind and bit him in the buttocks while he walked on a sidewalk in the 700 block of North Fairbanks Court, police said.
Earlier that afternoon, a 5-year-old boy was bitten in the head by a coyote on Wednesday afternoon outside a nature museum in Lincoln Park.
This coyote (or coyotes) is not behaving normally. First, they're primarily nocturnal animals. Second, while they have acclimated to humans, they do not typically approach humans. According to local Animal Care and Control officials, however, the increased aggression may come from simple hunger, as food supplies dwindle during the winter.
If you see a coyote, "making loud noises, or using a whistle, is a good way to spook a coyote into leaving. Waving your hands and jumping up and down can also work, according to experts."
About 4,500 coyotes live in Cook County, with about 2,000 of those in Chicago. Longtime readers of The Daily Parker will remember that the cemeteries north and south of my apartment have multiple dens, and also that AC&C officials pulled a coyote out of a drinks cooler in downtown Chicago about 12 years ago.
More on coyotes from the Cook County Forest Preserve District.
Climate change has caused water levels in the Lake Michigan-Huron system to swell in only six years, creating havoc in communities that depend on them:
In 2013, Lake Huron bottomed out, hitting its lowest mark in more than a century, as did Lake Michigan, which shares the same water levels, according to data from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Around that time, the lake withdrew so far from the shore around Engle’s resort — then a collection of 12 rustic cabins and three docks — that mud was all that remained beneath his boathouse.
In just 3½ years, levels rose more than 1.3 m and last summer peaked at nearly 1.9 m above the record low.
Climate change is amplifying variability in lakes that are naturally predisposed to fluctuation. Unlike lakes Ontario and Superior, which are regulated by dams and binational regulatory boards, lakes Michigan and Huron, measured as one body of water because they are connected at the Straits of Mackinac, have no such controls and consequently have experienced the greatest variation from record low to high in the Great Lakes.
As the amount of heat-trapping greenhouse gases has spiked over the past century, the Earth’s warmer atmosphere is capable of holding additional moisture, which scientists say is resulting in more frequent and severe storms. Across the Great Lakes region, precipitation has increased 14%, and the frequency of heavy storms has risen 35% since 1951, contributing to widespread flooding. In the past two years, the states of Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana and Ohio each have endured a string of 12 consecutive months that have been the wettest in 124 years.
Here is the latest water-level chart from NOAA. Notice that last year's levels hit record highs during the summer and ended the year just below the record for December--meaning they started January considerably higher than the record for the month:
At least we have a lot of fresh water nearby. That might come in handy someday...
Not that anyone was surprised, though many I'm sure were disappointed:
A handful of marijuana dispensaries around Illinois halted recreational weed sales over the weekend and plan to remain closed to the public for part of the week as they deal with product shortages.
Legal weed sales kicked off in Illinois on Wednesday, and customers spent almost $3.2 million at dispensaries that first day. It marked one of the strongest showings of any state in the history of pot legalization. Second day sales reached nearly $2.3 million, the state said.
Dispensary operators say long lines continued to form even after the first day. Over the weekend, certain dispensaries stopped selling recreational product. And for many of them, it is uncertain when they will start again.
Given the availability of marijuana in modern America through, ah, bespoke retail services, why the run on dispensaries? Novelty?
We're having unseasonal warmth in Chicago this weekend—5°C instead of -5°C as we'd usually get—so I spent a good bit of today walking around. And I'll continue to do so later.
Also, I didn't really want to think about Iran.
Come back tomorrow for more scary posts on the imminent end of the world.
As marijuana sales became legal (-ish) in Illinois yesterday, budding demand became overwhelming demand even before the stores opened:
Weed shops around the state opened at 6 a.m. to throngs of people. Cars packed the streets of a light-industrial park in Mundelein, home to the state’s busiest dispensary, Rise, owned by Green Thumb Industries. It’s one of the few that’s open in the northern suburbs.
When CEO Ben Kovler arrived at 5:30 a.m., there were more than 500 people lined up in the parking lot. “Our first customer said he got here at 5 last night,” Kovler said. “It’s a bigger crowd than we expected. The tidal wave (around recreational cannabis) is real.”
The first sale in the state was recorded at Dispensary 33 on North Clark Street in Uptown.
Cresco said it sold more than 9,000 cannabis items to about 3,400 customers at its five shops around the state. The average ring was $135.
So that's a lot of tax revenue. Let's hope it stays high. I did not wait in line to buy weed yesterday and I'm unlikely to do so any time soon. But I'm glad people can relax when they relax now.
And if you don't know how, the Chicago Tribune published some tips.