Monday, February 14, 2011

Water everywhere

A big thaw is under way since the Blizzard of 2011. It was 45 yesterday and over 40 today, too. The forecast high for Thursday is 58! We really didn't have a January thaw so maybe this is making up for it.

There is actually grass visible in many places now, though the big piles of snow persist. Many sidewalks are still lined with steep snow banks. All over the city there are narrow passageways, cut by generous snowblower owners, that lead to the street.

The primal practice of dibs has left shattered patio furniture and other household items scattered all over. Dibs seems to have fizzled out about a week ago as more parking spaces have been cleared.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Cleaning up

It took more than 24 hours after the blizzard before I even bothered to venture to the alley behind our house. I had previously glimpsed the alley from Clarendon Avenue, and it looked like a series of 6-foot high ski slopes. It seemed it wouldn't be passable until spring. The lower photo shows what the alley looked like Thursday night. It remained unplowed and unshoveled until this morning when a group of neighbors took to the alley with shovels and cleared the last remaining drifts in about an hour. There is just enough space now for a car to make it through the alley (upper photo).

The cleanup by the city has been amazing in many ways, at least if you live on the North Side. The giant drifts on the west end of Lakeside were cleared (amazingly) by Thursday morning. Lake Shore Drive also re-opened Thursday. The only down side to the cleanup is the inane practice of "dibs." Our street usually isn't afflicted by this, but a few people have "claimed" their parking spots with lawn chairs. It's so silly--if we all just shoveled the snow in the street, even the piles that aren't "ours," there would be plenty of room for all to park. Dibs just makes me lose faith in humanity.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Snow job

It finally stopped snowing at about 12:30 today. Almost immediately, people began emerging from their homes. They shoveled, frolicked and generally absorbed the storm's aftermath. Our street was completed blocked as of a couple hours ago. There was a five-foot drift, maybe a 100-yards square, near the west end of our block. It's hard to imagine it being cleared any time soon. There are cars nearly entirely buried like the one above. Also, there are still cars abandoned on Lake Shore Drive. The temperatures are expected to plummet to minus-4 tonight in the city and minus-10 in outlying areas.

Snowbound still

We're still snowbound, with lake-effect moisture now coming into Chicago from the northeast. I've never seen our street like this--snow is caked onto every surface, our windows are snow-covered in amazing patterns. The photo above really doesn't do the storm justice, but those are drifts right through the middle of the street.

I've heard from two friends now who were stranded on Lake Shore Drive for hours. One abandoned his car and another somehow made it off a ramp and back to Uptown. I don't see how the city can clean this up in time for school/work even tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Snowy howl

It's really hard to comprehend how awful the weather is here right now. We've seen a lot of big snows through the years, but this is incredible--and it's not nearly over yet. The storm arrived earlier than expected, around 2 p.m. It began blowing and drifting immediately and won't stop for nearly 24 hours. The winds keep shifting, for a time northwest, northeast and now southwest. There's a lakeshore flood warning, as Lake Michigan reportedly has been crashing onto Lake Shore Drive in places--the second time we've seen this in the past couple months. People are abandoning vehicles on Lake Shore Drive, and at least one bus is stranded. Wow.