[Sorry–the map above is not clickable: Here are the links to the best storm-related weather sites for Chicago:
Chicago Weather Center: Detailed, newsy blog with good historical statistics from WGN (Chicago Channel 9) weather staff.
National Weather Service, Chicago: Everything you need to know.]
I’m heading back west tomorrow afternoon, American Airlines willing, and I chanced to look at the National Weather Service forecast page for the Chicago region. That big green area, which covers a good chunk of the northeastern corner of Illinois, is for a blizzard watch. If a storm moving across the Plains tracks as modeled, snow will start tomorrow afternoon, ease up a bit, then come in with a vengeance Tuesday into Wednesday. An excerpt from the NWS watch:
WINDS WILL ... RAMP UP WITH SUSTAINED WINDS TUESDAY EVENING BETWEEN 25 AND 35 MPH WITH GUSTS UP TO 40 MPH POSSIBLE. NORTHEAST WINDS THEN CONTINUE TO STRENGTHEN TUESDAY NIGHT INTO EARLY MORNING WEDNESDAY WITH GUSTS UP TO 45 MPH POSSIBLE. THIS...IN COMBINATION WITH THE FALLING SNOW...MAY CREATE BLIZZARD CONDITIONS. ... COMBINED SNOW TOTALS FROM THE MONDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH WEDNESDAY MAY EXCEED A FOOT AND A HALF ACROSS MUCH OF NORTHERN ILLINOIS AND FAR NORTHWEST INDIANA. SNOWFALL RATES UP TO 3 INCHES PER HOUR WILL BE PROBABLE AT THE HEIGHT OF THE STORM TUESDAY NIGHT.
One sometimes has occasion to wonder what it would be like to deal with this climate again (after the storm blows through, a pretty good cold snap if forecast, with highs in the single digits later in the week). As a kid, news like this would prompt anticipation, excitement, exhilaration–even beyond the prospect of getting a day off of school. Now, part of me would love to see the show; but I’m thinking more of snow blowing sideways and wondering how quickly the airport will become a mess once it starts coming down tomorrow afternoon.