The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

It's 2023...in Chicago

For once, instead of using clever blog tricks to wish Niue all the best in the new year ten hours after our own, I thought to use the same clever blog trick to mark 2023 right here in Chicago.

So, let's pause for 12 months before the 2024 election cycle kicks off and we all get crazy again. Here's to a boring new year!

The news doesn't pause

Speaking of loathsome, misogynist creeps, former Bishop of Rome Joseph Ratzinger died this morning, as groundbreaking journalist Barbara Walters did yesterday.

In other news showing that 2022 refuses to go quietly:

And just a couple of blocks from me, Uncharted Books will reopen next week after the state closed it down for failing to file a required sales-tax form. For months. They might want to fire their accountants for this, as the state requires every business that has taxable sales to file the "quarterly sales tax report" every 3 months. I hope their soon-to-be-former accountants also filed their income taxes...

A glimmer of hope on a muddy Thursday

I broke away from my last day of work in 2022 around 2:15 to take Cassie on a 3½-kilometer walk. It's 14°C (!!!) right now so almost every snowflake has melted into a thin layer of mud over the entire city. No problems, so far; I keep old towels by the front door and Cassie expects me to wipe her paws when we come in.

Today I learned that I need to close the gate at the top of my stairs whenever we go outside on a day like this. I learned this while chasing Cassie up the stairs and through the living room while shouting "NO!", which, of course, made her run faster to her happy place; i.e., the living room sofa. Fortunately I keep the sofa covered in a $7 Target blanket because of her. Unfortunately, I had just washed it.

Cassie and I have forgiven each other but not before I carried her downstairs and put her in the bathtub. The floors only took about 15 minutes to clean up and the blanket went back into the washing machine whence it came this morning.

Dogs.

I did catch this in Mother Jones, though, and it took the edge off wiping muddy pawprints from several floors and a staircase. It seems that finally, finally!, more cities understand that parking minimums waste land, gas, and money:

California will become the first state to enact a ban on parking minimums [in January], halting their use in areas with public transport in a move that Gov. Gavin Newsom called a “win-win” for reducing planet-heating emissions from cars, as well as helping alleviate the lack of affordable housing in a state that has lagged in building new dwellings.

Several cities across the country are now rushing doing the same, with Anchorage, Alaska, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Nashville, Tennessee, all recently loosening or scrapping requirements for developers to build new parking lots. “These parking minimums have helped kill cities,” said Gernot Wagner, a climate economist at Columbia Business School who accused political leaders of making downtowns “look like bombs hit them” by filling them with parking lots.

Climate campaigners and public transport advocates have seized upon the previously esoteric issue of parking minimums, posting aerial pictures on social media demonstrating the vast swathes of prime urban land given over to parking lots and pushing city councils to foster denser communities with more opportunities to walk, cycle or catch buses and trains rather than simply drive.

Cities such as Buffalo, New York, and Fayetteville, Arkansas, scaled back parking minimums a few years ago and have reported a surge in activity to transform previously derelict buildings into shops, apartments and restaurant. Developers previously saw as such work as unviable due to the requirement to build plots of car parking, in many cases several times larger than the building itself.

Just look at this aerial view of downtown Kansas City, Mo., after MODOT destroyed it with one road. Or these photos of empty mall parking lots on Black Friday, the day traffic engineers use to set parking minimums.

I hope that I live long enough to see North America correct the planning mistakes of the 1960s and 1970s, and get at least to the point Europe achieved ten years ago.

The worst of it is over

The temperature here at Inner Drive Technology World Headquarters peaked at -5°C, the warmest we've had since 2:30pm on Thursday. Next Thursday it'll hit 10°C, which is 32°C (57°F) warmer than Saturday's overnight low. Welcome to Chicago in the era of rapid climate change.

I hope we don't get any more really horrific cold snaps this winter, but I expect we will. For now, though, I'm going to take Cassie on the longest walk she's had in almost a week.

(Semi?-)Annual sunrise chart

I forgot to do this in July, so the previous Chicago sunrise chart stayed up all year. As always, you can get sunrise times for your own location at https://www.wx-now.com/SunriseChart.

Date Significance Sunrise Sunset Daylight
2023
3 Jan Latest sunrise until Oct 29th 07:19 16:32 9:13
27 Jan 5pm sunset 07:09 17:00 9:51
5 Feb 7am sunrise 07:00 17:11 10:11
20 Feb 5:30pm sunset 06:40 17:30 10:50
27 Feb 6:30am sunrise 06:30 17:39 11:09
11 Mar Earliest sunrise until Apr 16th
Earliest sunset until Oct 27th
06:10 17:53 11:43
12 Mar Daylight saving time begins
Latest sunrise until Oct 20th
Earliest sunset until Sep 19th
07:08 18:54 11:45
17 Mar 7am sunrise, 7pm sunset
12-hour day
07:00 19:00 12:00
20 Mar Equinox 16:24 CDT 06:55 19:03 12:08
4 Apr 6:30am sunrise (again) 06:29 19:20 12:51
13 Apr 7:30pm sunset 06:14 19:30 13:15
22 Apr 6am sunrise 06:00 19:40 13:39
10 May 8pm sunset 05:36 20:00 14:23
16 May 5:30am sunrise 05:30 20:06 14:35
14 Jun Earliest sunrise of the year 05:15 20:28 15:13
20 Jun 8:30pm sunset 05:16 20:30 15:14
21 Jun Solstice 09:58 CDT 05:16 20:30 15:14
27 Jun Latest sunset of the year 05:18 20:31 15:13
4 Jul 8:30pm sunset 05:21 20:30 15:09
16 Jul 5:30am sunrise 05:30 20:25 14:54
9 Aug 8pm sunset 05:53 20:00 14:07
16 Aug 6am sunrise 06:00 19:50 13:50
29 Aug 7:30pm sunset 06:13 19:30 13:16
14 Sep 6:30am sunrise 06:30 19:03 12:32
16 Sep 7pm sunset 06:32 18:59 12:27
23 Sep Equinox, 01:50 CDT 06:39 18:47 12:07
26 Sep 12-hour day 06:43 18:42 11:59
3 Oct 6:30pm sunset 06:50 18:30 11:39
12 Oct 7am sunrise 07:00 18:15 11:14
22 Oct 6pm sunset 07:11 19:59 10:47
4 Nov Latest sunrise until 6 Nov 2027
Latest sunset until March 1st
07:27 17:42 10:14
5 Nov Standard time returns
Earliest sunrise until Feb 28th
Latest sunset until Jan 12th
06:28 16:40 10:12
16 Nov 4:30pm sunset 06:42 16:30 9:47
2 Dec 7am sunrise 07:00 16:21 9:20
8 Dec Earliest sunset of the year 07:06 16:20 9:13
21 Dec Solstice, 03:21 CST 07:16 16:23 9:07
31 Dec 4:30pm sunset 07:19 16:30 9:10

(Permalink)

Actually, I did remember what this feels like

The Arctic air mass has arrived:

We didn't actually get that much snow, though:

On her evening walk last night, Cassie wanted to run around in the snow in circles for a bit, so I let her. But even with her double coat, after 4 minutes she was shivering, so we had to go in. She will not enjoy today at all.

One other thing of note. I got myself one of the coolest and geekiest toys I could ever have imagined:

That shows the location of every CTA train running right now. I might have to get one for London, too. And in a couple of days, it might become a practical toy, when the weather gets warm enough to go outside and ride the CTA again.

Spot the cold front

It cooled off a bit this afternoon:

We've hit -11°C, down from 1.1°C right before that sharp turn at 12:32, and it keeps dropping. Plus, we've got ourselves some snow. This is 1:40pm:

And this is 3:40pm:

Updates as conditions warrant.

Here it comes...

In the last 24 hours, the temperature forecast hasn't changed but the snow forecast has:

Right now it's a calm, overcast 0°C. But then we have this from the National Weather Service:

Today
Snow, mainly after 11am. The snow could be heavy at times. Areas of blowing snow after 3pm. Temperature falling to around -13°C by 5pm. Wind chill values as low as -25°C. Breezy, with a southwest wind 10 to 20 km/h becoming northwest 30 to 40 km/h. Winds could gust as high as 55 km/h. Chance of precipitation is 100%. Total daytime snow accumulation of 5 to 9 centimeters possible.

Tonight
Snow. Widespread blowing snow, mainly after midnight. Low around -21°C. Wind chill values as low as -37°C. Windy, with a west northwest wind 40 to 45 km/h increasing to 45 to 50 km/h after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 75 km/h. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 3 to 7 centimeters possible.

Friday
Snow showers likely, mainly before noon. Widespread blowing snow. Cloudy and cold, with a high near -17°C. Wind chill values as low as -37°C. Windy, with a west wind 50 to 55 km/h, with gusts as high as 80 km/h. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New snow accumulation of less than one centimeter possible.

Friday Night
Isolated snow showers before midnight, then scattered flurries after midnight. Widespread blowing snow. Mostly cloudy, with a low around -18°C. Wind chill values as low as -33°C. Windy, with a west wind 40 to 50 km/h, with gusts as high as 80 km/h. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Ah, but here's the Chicago in December part: the forecast for next week says we could see temperatures jump to 10°C by Friday. Welcome to the land of building character.

At least the streets will probably get cleaned by Friday morning. (Chicago's Streets & Sanitation knows what they're doing.)

Glad I planned to stay in Chicago this weekend

This looks fun:

WGN fleshes out the forecast's bones:

  • Snow develops Thursday – beginning in far western sections (west of Interstate-39) during the morning and spreading east with deteriorating conditions across the area by early-mid afternoon
  • Blizzard conditions possible, particularly late Thursday night through Friday afternoon (heavy blinding blowing snow with visibility under a quarter mile or less for at least 3 consecutive hours). Very difficult and dangerous travel conditions.
  • Wind gusts to 90 km/h may cause power outages. Winds shifting to the W/NW area-wide by Thursday afternoon with initial gusts 50-60 km/h, peak gusts 90 km/h+ later Thursday night and early Friday.
  • Dangerous life threatening wind chills, falling temps Thursday afternoon. Sub-zero [Fahrenheit] wind chills possible by late afternoon and early evening Thursday. Increasing winds and falling temps could eventually result in wind chills of -28°C to -37°C by Friday/Friday night with wind chills well below -18°C continuing through the weekend.

So, I had planned to work downtown tomorrow, which will still happen, just for a much shorter interval. And I had planned to let Cassie hang out with her friends at day camp all day, because my darling middle-aged dog has the energy of a whippet puppy if she doesn't get many hours of play a week.

And, as I mentioned yesterday, I also had planned to review a couple of breweries Friday afternoon. That will also have to wait.

As long as I don't lose electricity, Cassie and I will ride it out at home Friday. And if the power goes out, at least I have a gas fireplace and a warm dog.

Brace yourselves: winter is coming

We get one or two every year. The National Weather Service predicts that by Friday morning, Chicago will have heavy snowfall and gale-force winds, just what everyone wants two days before Christmas. By Saturday afternoon we'll have clear skies—and -15°C temperatures with 400 mm of snow on the ground. Whee!

We get to share our misery with a sizeable portion of the country as the bomb cyclone develops over the next three days. At least, once its gone and we have a clear evening Saturday or Sunday, we can see all five of the naked-eye planets just after sunset.

Meanwhile, I'm about to start my team's Sprint 75 Review, the last one of 2022, which contains a few goodies we put off because we spent most of our time on client requests. We have a strange habit of doing what paying customers know they want before we add the things they don't know they want.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the world:

Finally, director James Cameron ended all debate about whether Jack and Rose could both have survived in Titanic: "Cameron maintains that Jack simply had to die, telling The Sun that 'if I had to make the raft smaller, it would have been smaller.'" Because the story, you see, required it.