I've already done 8 km of walks this morning, and tomorrow I'm doing another 9. (Tomorrow's will end at Sketchbook Brewing, so I'll be even more motivated.) After being cooped up at home and forced to get my daily steps bundled up like the Michelin Man for a few weeks, I feel a bit liberated. The sidewalks are almost all clear (except for a few buildings whose owners suck, like the Cagan Management-run apartments near me), it's already 8°C outside, and the sky is crystal-clear. Tomorrow we might get a little rain before 9am but the afternoon looks absolutely gorgeous.
Spring hasn't officially begun yet, but it sure feels like it.
I get to turn off and put away my work laptop in a little bit in preparation for heading back to the office on Monday morning. I can scarcely wait.
Meanwhile, I've got a few things to read:
OK, one more work task this month, then...I've got some other stuff to do.
From our local television station, WGN-TV, an amazing video of ice breaking up on Lake Michigan this past Sunday and Monday:
Spring in Chicago tends to produce lots of mud. We can already tell this year will produce epic amounts.
The temperature has stayed above freezing for 30 hours now, hitting 8°C just after noon. So far (at O'Hare, anyway) 12½ cm of snow has melted, and will continue to melt until the temperature goes below freezing again tomorrow night.
The water has to go somewhere. The city helpfully creates massive ice dams where sidewalks meet roads, so most of it just pools there. (I'll have photos maybe tomorrow.) Eventually it gets to Lake Michigan, which is nearly half a meter below its record-setting levels from last February, so it's got room.
I'm just glad to have a full day above freezing. We've needed it.
Yesterday's official high at O'Hare, 3°C, was the first since February 4th above freezing. And yet I'm still not satisfied. I think the 45 cm of snow still on the ground may have something to do with it. Or maybe that yesterday morning it was -8°C.
But really, I think the fact that we haven't had 24 straight hours above freezing since January 7th (day's low: 1°C) might also add to the annoyance.
(I'll have more interesting things to post later today.)
The temperature at O'Hare did, in fact, rise above freezing around noon today. It's now officially 2°C.
Break out the shorts!
We last had a temperature above freezing in Chicago at 7pm on February 4th, 16 days and some hours ago. Yesterday afternoon it got all the way up to -2°C before sodding off to bed. Close enough to give us oceans of meltwater on dark-colored streets and sidewalks, but still not, you know, above freezing.
Today, though, the National Weather Service predicts the temperature will just crest freezing around 2pm, and hover there for about 12 hours. This won't get rid of the meters-high snowdrifts in our parking lots and minor-league ballparks, but it will remind us that spring begins a week from tomorrow.
Meanwhile, at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, their autumn has gotten a bit chilly, with today's noon temperature hitting -50°C with a wind-chill of -65°C.
If the forecast holds, today will be the 15th of 16 straight days of below-freezing temperatures, and the 19th consecutive day with 30+ centimeters of snow on the ground. On Sunday, though the temperature will just barely break the freezing point (1°C predicted), this winter will move from 5th to 4th place in history on that last statistic. Officially O'Hare has 46 cm of snow right now, and until Tuesday's predicted mostly-sunny 6°C, not a lot of that will melt. (The last time we had this much snow on the ground for three weeks was the 25-day period ending 12 January 2001, which sounds impressive until you realize I remember very clearly the 46-day stretch of 30+ centimeters of snow that ended 28 February 1979.)
It has some aesthetic appeal, though:
And then we have this, along the north wall of my apartment building (and thus never to get direct sunlight), the result of 40 centimeters of snow on the roof:
So, if you do a little math, 40 cm of snow * 102 square meters of roof served by that downspout = 41 cubic meters of snow, which at 10:1 water content makes 4.1 cubic meters (yes, that's 4.1 tons, or 4,100 liters). If only one centimeter of snow melts, 410 liters of water will cascade off the roof, and if it's -19°C, it'll re-freeze on its way down. Multiply this times all the roofs in Chicago and you get more than a few collapses. (This is our biennial reminder that the developer who converted our building into condos back in 1996 may have skimped a little on insulation between the top-floor units and the roof.)
Welcome to stop #38 on the Brews and Choos project.
Brewery: Dry Hop Brewers, 3155 N. Broadway, Chicago
Train line: CTA Brown, Purple, and Red Lines, Belmont
Time from Chicago: 16 minutes
Distance from station: 800 m
Dry Hop Brewery on Broadway belongs to the same restaurant group as Corridor Brewery and Provisions (stop #37) and Crushed by Giants. It has similar (good) food, plus the advantage of sharing space with the fourth restaurant in the group, Roebuck Pizza. Like Corridor, Dry Hop's beers are pretty good. Unlike Corridor, they don't do 5-ounce tasters.
I had just two of their beers: the Candy Paint (double dry-hopped hazy IPA, 7%, 30 IBU), which was juicy and well-balanced with a decent finish; and the Johnny Quest Thinks We're Sellouts (black IPA, 7.5%, 45 IBU), a complex chocolatey, malty IPA with good but not overwhelming hops and a clean finish. I also had a pizza, which tasted excellent but was a little droopy. (I think they should have cut it into squares.)
I ate in the Roebuck section. The Dry Hop section has more light and more brewing equipment, but both were quiet (they were playing an old jazz LP) and the staff were friendly without being overbearing. In the summer, they take over a good stretch of sidewalk. As soon as practical, I will investigate whether they allow dogs out there, as I'm interested in tasting more of their beers.
Beer garden? Sidewalk
Dogs OK? Maybe outside?
Serves food? Yes, pizza and sandwiches
Would hang out with a book? Yes
Would hang out with friends? Yes
Would go back? Yes
It snowed overnight. Actually, it snowed from Sunday afternoon until about 4am today, so we have a bit of accumulation:
Our official weather station at O'Hare reported 53 cm of snow on the ground at 6 am, including yesterday's record 16 cm of new snow. (Midway Airport, on the Southwest Side, reported 46 cm for just this storm.) So far, 46 cm of snow has fallen since February 1st at O'Hare, about 3 times the normal amount, while we're having the coldest February in history, averaging -10.4°C.
And yet, because so many people work from home right now, and the snow fell over a two-day period rather than over just a few hours, the city hasn't completely shut down. It's not 2011, in other words.