Delightful, Dismal


That's out of the area forecast discussion from the Chicago office of the National Weather Service, a line of clear "look what's happening outside" prose in the midst of talk about steep lapse rates, negatively tilted troughs, cyclonic flows, and tightening gradients. 

After a sufficient time away–decades, not years–you forget what April here can bring. The weather service provides a reminder of some snow records for this month, including a single snowfall of nearly 14 inches back in the 1930s. 

But outside the record books, I remember an Easter on which we got about a foot of snow (the preceding Christmas featured what I remember as a tropically warm heavy rain; well, rain anyway). The year I turned 16, the first baseball game of our high school season was postponed because we got nearly a foot of snow (when we played the game, a week or two later, the snow was gone and but sunny weather was accompanied by a brutal cold snap. We scored a single run on a sacrifice fly, our pitcher threw a no-hitter — it was too cold to want to make much contact — and we had the first win in a season whose other highlight was the desertion of about half the team to go watch Jefferson Airplane play for free in Grant Park). And then there was the day I turned 21, going to school down at Illinois State and working at the college paper, The Vidette. We had a blizzard of Spackle-like snow. I was lonely and typically disconsolate. Turning 21 wasn't a drinking holiday, since the drinking age was 19 at the time. The real source of my pain was another night spent at the dorms with no prospect of a date or even a friendly conversation with one of the thousands of females nearby. 

Oh, yeah, I got over it. But I haven't forgotten, now that I'm reminded.  "Delightfully dismal early April." 

[And Monday: More from the Tom Skilling and the Chicago Tribune's weather page on late season snow in Chicago: Snowless Aprils vs. Snowy Mays.] 

2009 in Brief

Hello, April.

Goodbye, March. Goodbye, February. Goodbye, January.

Honestly. Where’d you go already?