|Wolf Lake on the city's far Southeast corner will not be as drab and dreary as it did earlier this month once springtime weather arrives. Photograph by Gregory Tejeda|
It’s the last day of winter, and perhaps we should reflect a bit on what could be the weirdest weather spiel I can recall.
We went for so long without any notable snowfall that it was likely we would set some sort of record that would NEVER be topped. Or should I say reduced?
YET I COULDN’T help but notice a Weather Channel broadcast recently that did a special segment about the Chicago winter, which when all is said and done will come in at about average in terms of the amount of snow we got.
Because once it started snowing in late January, it started coming down at heavier-than-usual rates. We even got the heaviest snowfall in two years with that last storm we were hit with just over a week ago – the one that dumped just over 9 inches officially, but gave certain parts of the metropolitan area more than a foot in one shot.
It seems that our snowfall total for this winter is about 1 ½ inches less than the average for a Chicago winter, according to the Weather Channel (yes, I’m inclined to watch those national weather forecasts in the early morning hours when I’m still trying to wrest myself from sleep).
A typical Chicago winter usually has one intense storm, and some steady snowfall all throughout the season so that we’re perpetually aware of the fact that we live in the Midwestern U.S.
IT’S AT THE point where I know that winter is over and spring has arrived when the landscape around me is no longer a slushy, muddy off-white of snow that has been driven through so many times and is instead the drab brown of dead grass that has yet to return to life.
That bright green is the real sign that winter is over – not the mere fact that the calendar on Wednesday will tell us that spring has officially arrived.
So what should we think on this final official day of winter (although I won’t be the least bit surprised if we get one last snow-fall along the shores of southwestern Lake Michigan)?
Personally, the cold temperatures of winter don’t bother me. It’s the slop of the snow and its potential for creating hazards (due to some people who persist in trying to whiz right through it while driving) that gets to me – and makes me grateful that we’re at least at the offend end-point of winter.
BUT I’M THANKFUL to realize that we really didn’t have it all that bad. Like I already wrote, we got hit with that one 9-inch storm – which I remember as the day I was lucky enough to be able to do some work from home.
It was one of those times that I experienced the “joys” of a freelance writer – being able to set work hours to my convenience.
By the next day, public works crews all across the Chicago area by-and-large had the streets cleared. Life resumed.
We didn’t get anything close to resembling the storm of Feb. 2, 2011 – the one that dumped nearly two feet of snow in one shot and actually turned Lake Shore Drive into a parking lot.
A LOT THAT people eventually had to return to with a shovel in order to dig out their cars.
But it is the split in the winter season that will be memorable – the fact that we went through December and the bulk of January with hardly any snow, and a February and early March in which the entity that is Mother Nature (no Chiffon jokes, please) seemed determined to make up for her early-season slacking off.