Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Northern Illinois Blizzard, February 2011

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Well, officially, this is listed as the third highest snowfall for Chicago, behind the 1967 and 1999 events. As far as impact, this one was closer to 1967. My GMC walked right through everything back in 1999; yesterday, if I had been on the road a half hour later than I was, the roads would have been too bad for the GMC to manage and I would have spent the night inside of it, huddled in my Carhartts.

The snow started a few hours earlier than predicted, with high winds and moisture off Lake Michigan. At 6:00 pm my daughter called and said she was worried about her mom (my ex-wife) driving home. We agreed it would be best if her mom left her car at work and waited for me to pick her up with the GMC. A trip that normally would have taken 45-minutes took me nearly 3-hours. Many roads were closed due to drifting, accidents, and stuck vehicles. After trying several alternate routes, I finally was able to drop off my ex-wife. Afterwards, the GMC successfully crawled through the 6-miles of snowdrifts and near zero-visibility back to my house. An hour later into the storm, the police radio was crackling non-stop with calls about stuck motorists, stuck police cars, stuck ambulances, stuck fire trucks, stuck tow trucks, and stuck snowplows. All roads were impassable. The police recruited snowmobilers to attempt rescues but they too became stuck in the drifts. It was a long, frustrating night for many dedicated first responders. The snow stopped falling around 9:00 am today and the groundhog saw his shadow around noon.

It took me almost 4-hours to clear my driveway this morning. I am a big fan of Toro brand snow blowers; an event like this one requires a tough machine. After doing my driveway, I helped three other neighbors with theirs. My daughter’s driveway is very long and it is closed with a 4-foot high drift running from front to back and spanning the full width. It is too formidable for me to muscle with a shovel and a snow blower; even if I wanted to try it, there was no place nearby for me to park today. My daughter and her mom are stranded until a contractor can get there with a heavy plow or an endloader.

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6 comments:

Arthur B. Burnett said...

Greetings from Texas,
After reading this our cold weather problems don't sound half bad.

SYC said...

I'm in Central NY state, but I have to admit that this probly would have slowed even us down a bit, and thats saying something. My uncle and his family still live out your way though, and their descriptions match yours. Makes me glad we didn't get what they were predicting for us!

James A. Zachary Jr. said...

Hey there SYC,

I'd much rather put up with our blizzards than your blizzards, anytime.

Thanks for stopping in.

James A. Zachary Jr. said...

Art, the houses around here were designed for this kind of weather, and our road crews have the equipment to handle snow. When freaky cold and snow hit in areas that are not used to it, it can easily turn tragic. Hang in there.

Hope it warms up soon for ya!

Arthur B. Burnett said...

Greetings from Texas,
The water started running again this afternoon and it doesn't look like any of the pipes split. Knock on wood, but it looks like we dodged the bullet this time.

SYC said...

Just for your FYI, I usually post as Ruth or Ruthcatrin, but since I started my own blog I made the mistake of labeling myself as SYC and now Blogger signs my posts that way. Kinda annoying actually and I keep meaning to go find the appropriate setting and fix it....