Saturday, July 15, 2017

North vs. South sides not just an excuse for baseball brawl; weather differs too

It’s just more evidence of how physically huge the Chicago metropolitan area is – we don’t even get the same weather!
Vacuums, fans put to work to dry out No. Chgo.

I was reminded of that while reading the news coverage of the massive rainstorms that hit the Chicago area and caused severe flooding for some people. In some cases, the floodwaters continued to rise even after the heavy rain quit falling.

BASEMENTS FLOODED. CARS seen floating down the streets. There is one report of an entire public park that found itself completely under water overnight, causing severe problems for everybody who happens to live nearby.

This is one of those major storms that will be remembered for years to come – even though to the best of my knowledge there were no fatalities as a result of the inclement weather.

Yet all of this is true only if you happen to live in the northern part of the metropolitan area. Specifically, the north suburban part of the Chicago area. That’s where the heavy water fell. That is where problems arose. That is where Gov. Bruce Rauner joined state and Lake County officials on Friday to survey the damage due to inclement weather, then declare Kane, Lake and McHenry counties to be state disaster areas.

Those of us who lived in the city proper saw some rain, but none of the horror stories of flooded basements or other severe property damage.

FOR THOSE PEOPLE in the southern part of the county of Cook? Yeah, it rained overnight. Even a bit during the day. But by that point, the rain had dwindled down to a drizzle.

I’m not about to call those people living up north “sissies” who can’t handle a little water. But down around the parts of Chicago and suburbs that affectionately refer to themselves as the “Sout’ Side,” the Chicago Tribune headlines such as, Flooding of this magnitude has not been seen before seems like such an exaggeration.

I know in my own case on Wednesday, I happened to be downstairs in a basement of my father’s home when I happened to notice some water trickling into the basement.
Gov. Rauner surveyed Gurnee flooding, ...

When I went outside to check, I found that an outside drain had been clogged with leaves – meaning that the water had no other place to go but inside.

THE MOMENT I reached into the drain and pulled the leaves out, all the water immediately got sucked down the drain. It quit going into the house. End of problem, although my father then pulled out his handy “shop vac” and used it to suck up the dribble of water that had got inside.

Basically, the mess was cleaned up even before the rain stopped falling. And yes, I helped my father maintain a watch over the basement and drain to ensure it didn’t get clogged again.

It didn’t.

No more floodwater in that basement. At least for this storm. Although I don’t doubt there will be a future storm that will direct its wrath at the southern part of metro Chicago – and it will be all those northernmost residents who will claim there wasn’t anything worth noting in that day’s “storms.”

THIS PHENOMENON ISN’T unusual. The six counties that officially comprise the Chicago area truly are big enough that one end of the area can have totally different weather than another.

This week’s storms (severe in one part while non-existent in another) reminded me of a long-ago rainfall – an incident back in 1987 when I was a beginning reporter-type person in suburban Chicago Heights. I did a story about that day’s particular flooding up north where the rainfall didn’t extend to anywhere south of 55th Street.
... while Labrapoodle Carmelo sees nicer weather in his part of Cook Co.
As one local firefighter put it when I questioned him about the lack of emergencies his department had to respond to that day, he quipped of the bad weather elsewhere, “We don’t allow that sort of thing in Camelot.”

Probably the only time anybody’s used the reference to King Arthur’s court to describe the South Side. Yet I’m sure there are some water-soaked people living up north these days who would view the dry turf down south these days as a bit of paradise.


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