Gotta love Chicago weather. Right now it's -18°C outside, which is the point where Chicagoans are allowed to complain about the cold without looking wimpy. It builds character. And I do have to get to my office, but you know? I don't want to go out there. Even Parker lasted just long enough to do his business before sprinting back to the door like his tail was on fire. (Of course, that could have been about breakfast and not about the cold.)
But this being Chicago, the forecast calls for 10°C weather on Saturday. A 28°C rise in two days? Heck, I've seen that happen in two hours...
Returning from the West Coast after staying up late (in a different time zone) every night got me off to a slow start this morning. I'm glad to report that Half Moon Bay still exists, San Francisco is still the second-coolest city on the continent (after Chicago, and only just the barest fraction of a point above New York), and it's still winter.
The good news is that 48 hours of above-freezing temperatures—with almost 18 hours at or above 8°C—melted just about all the snow and ice in Chicago.
The bad news? A cold front moved in overnight and it's now -9°C with 57 km/h winds giving us a wind chill of -19°C.
Chicago weather builds character.
Last night the Evanston city council approved what will be the tallest building in Illinois outside Chicago:
The Evanston Plan Commission tonight voted 4-3 to recommend approval of the proposed 49-story tower at 708 Church St. to the City Council.
The commissioners were sharply divided on whether development downtown over the last several decades has made the Fountain Square block an appropriate site for high-rise development.
Commissioners who looked to the east and west saw Sherman Plaza, the Chase Bank tower and other high rise developments and said yes.
Apparently this is the first time since records have been kept (back to 1924) that we've had four consecutive days of gleeshy, sleety, nearly-frozen weather.
This is one of my favorite milestones. Thanks to the analemma, tonight's sunset (4:20 pm) is the earliest of the year in Chicago. Of course, the sunrise still gets later every day until January 4th. At least tomorrow we'll have just a smidge more evening light than we'll have today.
At the moment, a stiff wind is blowing snow straight down Chicago Avenue. It's -2°C. Overnight 13 cm of snow covered the ground, and people are just now shoveling it off the sidewalks. Here's the forecast:
Temperature rising to near -1°C by noon, then falling to around -4°C during the remainder of the day. Blustery, with a north northeast wind between 32 and 40 km/h. Chance of precipitation is 90%. Total daytime snow accumulation of 5 to 10 cm possible.
Tonight: Mostly clear, with a low around -9°C. Northwest wind between 16 and 14 km/h.
The weather actually made the front page of the Chicago Tribune:
"It's still coming down—all the way to Ottawa," said National Weather Service meteorologist Bill Wilson.
It will also stay around for a while. Temperatures won't reach significantly above freezing before Saturday, he said.
The Illinois Department of Transportation warned motorists to take it easy—and if at all possible to take trains to work this morning.
So instead of my usual walk-Parker-to-daycare-bus-to-the-office routine, I drove. I think this was reasonable, even given the ten minutes it took to dig my car out this morning.
I feel guilty about it, but I'll get over it.
No sooner had our first snowfall melted when we started to get our second one:
On the walk back from Inner Drive Technology World Headquarters he forgot his leash discipline a little, as when he nearly yanked my arm out of its socket when he saw a rabbit bounding through the snow. He was just so excited to see snow he couldn't contain himself.
The first snow of the season has begun in Chicago. Yippee.
Parker yawns lazily on the sidewalk by Bean Traders Coffee in Durham, N.C., where the temperature is 22°C*:
* For comparison, back home in Chicago it's 6°C, windy, and raining.
Update, 1pm EST: It's now 24°C here and 6°C (and still windy and gross) in Chicago.