Before I bid adieu to the subject of the Great Groundhog Eve’s Blizzard (a bullet I dodged, I suppose, but whose trajectory I got to enjoy from afar), a couple final keepsakes. First, a segment from Chicago’s Fox affiliate, Channel 32, which takes a look at its coverage of the 1967 blizzard. Entertaining stuff that focuses less on the weather and its effects than on the way the TV and newspapers covered the events. I had my first newsroom job at Chicago Today five years after these clips were shot–our offices were in Tribune Tower, across Michigan Avenue from the Daily News and Sun-Times Building–and the scenes are familiar.
And next is a short film of New York City’s Boxing Day Blizzard–did anyone call it that?–that I came across while poking around Roger Ebert’s site today. Ebert went gaga over the film (check out that link for a detailed discussion on how the filmmaker shot and edited the movie), and it’s been viewed half a million times so far, so I’m not sure how I missed it. It’s extraordinary.
Right: The wintry scene in the alley behind my sister’s house on the North Side of Chicago, a few days before this week’s storm. Below, the same scene after the blizzard. Those new snowbanks are going to be there for a while (thanks for the picture, Ann).
The headline is all I have to say: I just want to be among the first to dub this week’s monster winter storm in the eastern half three-fifths of the United States The Great Groundhog’s Eve Blizzard. In fact, I think Groundhog’s Eve is a concept that needs to be explored further.
[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.