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Thursday, February 3
The day after the big blizzard. I opted not to drive to work and instead took the train. Walking to and from the train was much easier than I expected since most people had kindly shovelled their sidewalks. This isn't always the case. I guess it takes two feet of new snow to get everyone to do what they should do even when it's just two inches.
The most treacherous part of my commute was descending the stairs from the Metra platform. Nothing had been shovelled including the stairs. Snow up to my knees, hard to tell where one stair ended and the next began.
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Getting around on foot today isn't too bad. Most walks have been plowed and the big freeze yesterday wasn't as bed as predicted. Things didn't ice over as badly as feared. You can get around at a pretty good pace–until you hit the corners. That's where the snow plows have created great mountains of snow. In most places, you can follow the path up and over carved out by pedestrians who've preceded you. Even so, it can be a bit daunting and a definite test of your balance.
The photo above doesn't capture the scale very well. This was a two foot drop to the street. Very typical.
And then there are walls of snow like this one below. It's a little like walking through a maze where your path choice isn't always your own.
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So, maybe you heard we got a little weather here last night.
The snow came down, down, down from two-o'clock yesterday afternoon until early this morning. 17 inches fell over night and then another three this morning and by noon it was over, leaving piles of snow to wade through and spectacular drifts. It was the wind last night, with gusts up to 50 mph, that made storm watching yesterday so amazing. That and the thundersnow. Oh yeah!
No one was going anywhere today. Roads everywhere were pretty much impassable. After breakfast, I shovelled a path to the garage, cutting through the six-foot drift that blocked the door.
Here's what the backyard looked like yesterday morning:
And 24-hours later, this is what it looked like:
And after I shovelled:
Around noon, I went for a walk down to the lake and took a bunch of photos along the way.
You can see all my photos here.
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JD and I got out for a sled ride around the neighborhood before the big blizzard rolled in.
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It's currently 14-degrees out and our backyard walkway, like just about every sidewalk in town (and I suspect the entire midwest), is covered in a lovely pane of ice. Tomorrow's prediction for the high and low are a mere three degrees apart (7/4) with a windchill dipping down as low as 25-below in the morning. I suspect getting out of bed and out into the day will take a tremendous amount of will power.
I love Lake Michigan in the winter. Yesterday and today, it's been a study in contrasts.
On the last day of 2010, we had freakishly warm weather with temps in the 50s. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Warm air over the cold water made for some very cool looking fog, hovering just off shore.
While I was there, the fog started rolling in over the ice-encrusted beach.
This morning, day one of 2011, the lake had transformed. It was thirty degrees colder and blustery, in other words, back to winter. The lake color was more luminous than the sky. Hard to capture with a camera phone, but it conveys the mood. It was quite beautiful.
This weekend, I spent a good amount of time out in the backyard, enjoying the sunshine, warm temps and hours of evening daylight. Today it was fairly windy and all day long I noticed that the lower level of small puffy clouds were tearing through the sky from west to east, while the upper layer of wispy cloud cover seemed not to move. Other than the bombastic thunderstorm that started our day, the storms forecasted never materialized.
Thought I’d take a break from my BVI trip journal to feature a shot of the ice-encrusted lake from this weekend–to put it all in a little perspective. There’s ice as far as the eye can see and none of it moving. Chicago is hiding behind the trees on the right-hand side of the image.
(Click on the image to see it larger.)
Heading out for a walk. Decided against taking my camera and new lens out in the 18-degree chill.
The ice between the rocks and the waves is where the lake had frozen. It will probably all be melted by Friday, when we have a bit of a warm up.