Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Northern Illinois Blizzard, February 2011
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.