Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Spring time in Chicago? More like a twisted Midwestern winter wonderland!

On the fourth day of spring time, my true love gave to me, four sloppy inches of snow.

Only in Chicago could something like that be taken literally, and not be the least bit of a surprise.

FOR IT’S TRUE. The spring equinox came on Friday. We’re literally out of the winter season. Spring training baseball in Arizona is well underway. The sloppy, slushy snowfall that can cause massive traffic headaches ought to be behind us.

Yet on Monday, we got hit with anywhere from two to five inches of snow – depending on where in metro Chicago one lives. The further north toward the Illinois/Wisconsin border, the heavier the snowfall!

The four-inch figure comes from what was measured at O’Hare International Airport, where some 250 flights scheduled for Monday morning had to be cancelled and delays ran as long as 90 minutes in length.

All of the Streets and Sanitation Department’s trucks had plows attached and were out working to try to keep the streets cleared. Illinois Department of Transportation officials were doing the same on the interstate highways – although that didn’t prevent an auto accident from occurring this morning that involved the official motorcade of Gov. Bruce Rauner.

THE CAR THAT the governor was riding in was not hit. But it seems that one of the vehicles carrying his security team struck another car, with the sloppy road conditions being blamed.

A police officer was taken to an area hospital, although was treated and released. No major injuries involved, which is fortunate.

Now two months ago, none of this would have been the least bit interesting (well maybe the gubernatorial motorcade in an accident would have gotten a brief mention). But the rest of this would have been chalked up to “winter as usual” in the great Midwestern U.S.

But this is springtime. We’re supposed to be past this.

EVEN THOUGH I realize that the National Weather Service records indicate that Chicago has been hit with snowfall as late as May 11, and that the latest snowfall of an inch or more of the not-so-fluffy stuff came on May 4 (back in 1907, for those who are interested).

But it was still a depressing jolt to wake up Monday morning, flip on a television set tuned to The Weather Channel and see that they felt the most intriguing meteorological event in the United States was a live shot of the Michigan Avenue bridge over the Chicago River so we could see the snow falling on the city.

Made worse by the fact that when I looked out the window, I saw heavy snowfall burying my neighborhood to the point where I couldn’t see any street.

Fortunately for me, the places I had to go to on Monday were for things happening in late afternoon.

BY THAT TIME, the snow had long stopped falling. In fact, by about 1 p.m., the streets had sort of been cleared – although it was quite obvious that a layer of grayish slop still remained on top of the pavement.

Keep in mind that this came just days after the Chicago winter weather season officially ended with temperatures routinely getting into the 50-degree range, and one day when I was seriously overdressed in a sweatshirt because the temperature got up to the low 70s.

Which the weather forecasts indicate is likely to return within days. Supposedly by Wednesday, we’re going to have sunshine and temperatures in the low 60s. Just envision the mess from the melt we’ll face by then!

I understand its worse further northwest (I have aunts in the greater Minneapolis area got whacked this weekend with harsher snowfall). But it makes me wonder what we could have done to offend Mother Nature so bad – or is it all her idea of a sick joke?


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