I was scheduled to work 1:00-9:00 p.m. today, with reference desk hours from 5:00-9:00. I really wanted to call in sick to avoid the blizzard, but that would've stuck someone else covering my desk hours, and that wouldn't be fair. I spent the morning checking my work email and the Emergency Closing Center website in the hope that I'd get a notice we were closing early, because if we closed before my desk hours started at 5:00, I just wouldn't go in. I waited as long as I could, but there was no announcement and our library almost never closes, so I braved the lake effect snow and drove to work.
I was there for less than a minute before someone told me the Library Board had given permission to close at 4:30. Yes, that's rush hour. In Chicago. I was totally kicking myself for not staying home. Four different coworkers apologized to me because they'd tried to call me at home to let me know as soon as the announcement was made, but I'd already left. I was having nightmares at that point about the last time we had a major dumper at rush hour. My 25 minute commute took 5 1/2 hours.
The lake effect snow was overtaken by the blizzard at 2:40. We went from our regular amount of snow to sheets of snow coming down horizontally in the space of a minute. At 3:00, our HR person came up to my desk and whispered that the director had given permission for everyone who didn't live near the library to leave, but we had to do it quietly so that people who lived nearby or had desk hours didn't start a riot. My 25 minute commute wound up taking an hour and 45 minutes, which wasn't fun but was much better than I'd been expecting.
The bad news is that I did all that driving in crappy weather to work 2 measly hours. The good news is that I was allowed to leave early enough that my drive home didn't take 5 1/2 hours. The other good news is that the Board has already given us permission to close tomorrow, so I won't have to play the should-I-or-shouldn't-I game tomorrow morning. And the really good news is that my only desk hours this week are tonight and tomorrow, so I won't be on the reference desk at all this week.
By the way, here's a picture of the storm from space shortly before it hit us, courtesy of NASA (click for full size):
Now we're just waiting for the thundersnow to start.