the_other_sandy: Chicago skyline (Chicago)
But I don't know what. The news this morning said we got three tornadoes yesterday but that they were all very far away from me. Like, 'a two hour drive' far. But I don't know how else to explain what happened to me if it didn't involve a (very weak, admittedly) tornado.

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the_other_sandy: Chicago skyline (Chicago)
I woke up to the tail end of a thunderstorm this morning. I get up pretty early, so the traffic report was pretty non-eventful at that point. Then I left for work. Rt. 53 was a parking lot, but the traffic and news reports were so busy talking about the Edens being closed due to flooding that nobody was talking about where I was or what the roads were like so I could pick an alternate route. I'm assuming the problem was caused by flooding up around Lake-Cook Rd., but I get off before then so I'm not really sure, but I did see flooding on both sides of 53 starting around Arlington Hts. In any event, it took me an hour and 40 minutes to make my 25 minute commute this morning.

It could have been worse. One of my coworkers was stuck on the Edens. It took her 5 hours to drive in. In fact, she had just arrived and was telling us all about it when the power went out to our building. We don't know why. It had stopped raining about two hours before and we'd been fine all morning. ComEd told us that they had 300,000 customers without power and that we were at the bottom of their priority list since we're "just" a library (not that I'm begrudging them putting hospitals and nursing homes at the top of the list). Anyway, I spent about 45 minutes going through the pile of papers on my desk and tossing or filing them as appropriate before the president of the library board declared us closed for the day. Fortunately for me, the drive home was a lot faster than the drive in and my power is still on.

I just feel bad for my coworker. After the horrible 5 hour drive in, she was back in her car and headed home less than an hour after she arrived.

Oh, and the other item on the news this morning was that a small plane crashed near the municipal airport just down the street from the library last night. It came down just off the road I take to and from work, only about a mile farther east than I normally go. That's the third plane crash at that airport since I started working at the library.


Apr. 20th, 2013 04:03 pm
the_other_sandy: Chicago skyline (Chicago)
Dear Mother Nature,

I realize you're very busy right now, but I just wanted to alert you to something you accidentally left on my balcony last night, to whit:


It may have escaped your notice, but today is actually April 20, not February 20. I would consider it a personal favor if you would please change the channel to "spring."

No love,

Sandy (no, the other one)

the_other_sandy: Chicago skyline (Chicago)
Time for my annual tl;dr post about bad weather.

I've been going to this seminar (hosted and organized by WGN meteorologist Tom Skilling at Fermilab in Batavia, IL) since the mid-nineties and I have never seen it so crowded. What usually happens is that those of us who want to be sure to get a seat in the auditorium show up between 10:00 and 10:30 a.m., the auditorium opens at 11:00, it fills up around 11:30 or 11:40, and they close the doors and start funneling people toward alternate viewing areas to watch the presentations on CCTV. This year, the foyer filled up by 10:30 and they had to open the auditorium 20 minutes early for safety reasons. The auditorium was full and the doors had closed by 11:15.

I have also never seen so many first-timers there. Usually when they ask for a show of hands, maybe 40% of the audience is new. This time it was closer to 80%. You would think that was a good thing, but I'm not really sure why many of them were there. Maybe they thought it was going to be four hours of non-stop tornado videos? Several of them brought young children, but this seminar is more like a college lecture with lots of graphs and charts and technical terms, and only the occasional cool video. The poor kids were bored silly, and people (even the ones without kids) started leaving in noticeable chunks after each speaker. Many of the people around me left, which was kind of nice in that I didn't have to hold my stuff on my lap anymore and it got a lot cooler without any people to be crammed like sardines next to. Still, now that the seminar is being streamed live, I think I may try that instead of going back.

Now excuse me while I get my weather geek on.

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the_other_sandy: Chicago skyline (Chicago)
My car was so much worse than I thought. I couldn't even get to it. The snow was four feet high for five feet in any given direction. Fortunately for me, two of my neighbors had just finished digging out their cars and their third roommate had gone inside, so I borrowed their extra shovel and the three of us managed to dig to my trunk so I could get out my own shovel. Then one of the young ladies called the management office on her cell phone to ask for help. Another neighbor also offered to help, and it took the four of us digging in shifts to clear a one and a half foot wide path around my car. That was when we discovered that my undercarriage was completely packed with snow and ice, which required more digging.

When building maintenance showed up to help, they brought a bulldozer. I kid you not. It took four people and a bulldozer an hour and a half to dig out my car (although things went pretty quickly after the bulldozer showed up). Every single person who helped or just passed by said my car was the worst they'd seen.

I had kind of planned to go out to dinner tonight because I need red meat after this and don't have any in the house, but they can have my parking spot over my dead body. I'm sure somebody around here will deliver red meat to me.

On the plus side, I am a Midwestern girl and have the appropriate clothes for the weather, so even though the wind chill was in the negative numbers and I slipped and fell in the snow about half a dozen times until there was as much snow on me as there was on my car, I never really got cold.

I also have to say how grateful I am to my neighbors for stepping in. If it hadn't been for them, I wouldn't even have been able to make it to my trunk yet. Every single person who pitched in to help me was someone I've never met before.
the_other_sandy: Chicago skyline (Chicago)
I may have to take a personal snow day tomorrow. As of right now, it's stopped snowing and is only a little breezy, but the parking lot and sidewalks haven't been plowed yet and my car is a giant vaguely car-shaped mound of snow. Even if I could dig out my car, the 2 feet of snow in the lot would prevent me from going anywhere. I want to wait until after the lot gets plowed to start digging out my car because the plow will only pile more snow behind my car when it comes through. I foresee a lot of shoveling tomorrow, which I'm not looking forward to. It's supposed to be really cold.
the_other_sandy: Chicago skyline (Chicago)
And we have thundersnow! Okay, it was just one bolt of lightning and one crack of thunder, but it was still pretty cool.

I have west facing windows, and the wind gusts have been strong enough to shake my curtains. I live in a brick and poured concrete building. The wind has also embedded so much snow in my screen door that I can't see out of it at all. It's just one solid sheet of white.
the_other_sandy: Chicago skyline (Chicago)
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.
the_other_sandy: Chicago skyline (Chicago)
Those of you who watch the news (and don't live here) have probably heard about the Midwest Cyclone, which has been giving us a bit of a breeze for the last two days. We've had wind gusts up to 80 mph, and there have been power outages and downed branches all over, plus one tipped over port-a-potty at the construction site I drive past on my way home from work. It's still pretty windy at the moment.

There is currently a landscaping crew at work at the building across the street from me--including a guy with a leaf blower.

Dude. Seriously. I think Mother Nature has got you covered.
the_other_sandy: Chicago skyline (Chicago)
Seriously. My AC has been set to 66° maximum fan all day and it's currently 78.6° in my living room. The thermometer is maybe 5 1/2 feet from the air conditioner. The AC is working fine; it just can't compete with the beastly weather outside.
the_other_sandy: Chicago skyline (Chicago)
I woke up this morning to an automated phone call from the local police department. I didn't even know they did such things. It said that we got 7 inches of rain last night and let me know where the sandbag staging areas were. o.O Good morning to you, too.

Now I wish I'd looked out the window last night. The street in front of my building is prone to flash flooding. The last time we got a real downpour, 3 SUVs sank up to their rooftops, and that was with a lot less rain than we got last night. I wonder how deep the water got.

The storm itself was excellent. It probably lasted about an hour and a half. There was a lot of lightning, and the thunder was the whipcrack variety, as opposed to rumbling. Fortunately, I didn't lose power. It would have been too beastly hot to manage if I had. I already have the AC maxed out and it's barely keeping up with the heat and humidity.

ETA: I just tried to call my friends to see if we were still on for today or if they got flooded, and the phone lines are out. Yet, I still have power.
the_other_sandy: Chicago skyline (Chicago)
We had our first major thunderstorm of the year last night. O'Hare clocked wind gusts of 70 mph and some places got baseball-sized hail.

We only got walnut-sized hail here. And I'm not sure what our peak wind gusts were, but there was one gust that hit the exterior wall of my apartment, with a very loud whump sound, hard enough to knock the curtains back from the wall. This is especially impressive because my apartment building is made of brick and poured concrete.
the_other_sandy: Chicago skyline (Chicago)
Going to the laptop didn't help. About 10 minutes after I made my last post, the storm hit and the power went out, taking my wireless router with it. The thunder and lightning weren't bad, but it was very windy (gusts up to 70 m.p.h.). We very rarely lose power around here, because it's an industrial area and the warehouses and factories are priority customers. On those rare occasions we do lose power, we get it back within an hour or two. This time, it went out and stayed out for 15 1/2 hours. It was miserable trying to sleep without the air conditioning on last night.

I just hope the contents of my fridge survive. I went grocery shopping about 2 hours before the storm hit. I haven't opened the fridge at all, and I think I'm going to leave it closed for another 4 hours or so just to be safe. Then I'll get to open the door and be surprised by what made it and what didn't.

Meanwhile, I think I'm going to see what restaurants in the area have reopened. I haven't eaten in 17 hours.
the_other_sandy: Chicago skyline (Chicago)
The weather today has been just insane. It's just been one thunderstorm after another. We've been under either a severe thunderstorm watch or a warning since shortly after midnight last night. The current watch won't expire until 10:00 p.m. tonight. I hear thunder again, so the 5th (6th?) thunderstorm of the day is about to roll through. Time to get on the laptop and go wireless.
the_other_sandy: Chicago skyline (Chicago)
Every year, WGN meteorologist Tom Skilling puts together a roster of speakers for a severe storms seminar at Fermilab (the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, IL). This year's seminar wasn't quite as good as last year's. Several of the speakers gave very technical presentations with lots of charts and statistics. A troop of boy scouts behind me who all looked like they were about 9 years old left after the second speaker. Those poor kids must have been bored to death. The material was way over their heads.

On the plus side, this was the first year the seminar was streamed live, so if anybody is interested, you may be able to watch it online next year. Tom Skilling also said that videos of the various speakers would be available on WGN's website. As of right now this second, the site lists the 2009 speakers but has the 2008 videos up (however, the 2008 speakers were uniformly excellent and definitely worth watching).

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Not. Cool.

Dec. 16th, 2008 09:49 pm
the_other_sandy: Chicago skyline (Chicago)
I generally don't mind winter. I like having 4 seasons a year. I can hack the cold, and I actually like snow. You know what I don't like? Getting 5 inches of snow during rush hour so that my 25 minute evening commute takes 4 1/2 hours. I kid you not. I have driven from the western suburbs of Chicago to Lansing, Michigan, in the same amount of time it took me to drive 18 miles home tonight.

I totally missed dinner. In fact, it's pretty much too late to do anything but go to bed. I was going to do laundry tonight, but everybody at work will just have to deal with me wearing mismatched clothes tomorrow. I'm pooped.
the_other_sandy: Yomiko Readman hugging a book (Weather)
So, you know those tornado sirens that went off on Monday night? They did not lie. An EF1 tornado touched down in an industrial park about 15 minutes from here. A tornado that weak wouldn't have done much to the concrete bunker I live in, but the long span roofs on the warehouses didn't fare as well. A couple of them were severely damaged.
the_other_sandy: Yomiko Readman hugging a book (Chibi Wee!chester Ready for School)
Last week, I posted a meme asking people to give me a subject for each letter of the alphabet in exchange for a post where I wrote about those subjects. This is that post. Fortunately for you all, only 6 letters were taken.

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A severe thunderstorm blew in while I was in the middle of writing this entry. I kept typing faster, hoping to finish writing before the flickering power went out. Right around the time I was starting to proofread the entry, the tornado sirens went off. I turned on the TV to see where the tornado was in relation to me, but the National Weather Service had taken over my cable signal and all I had was a black screen that said TORNADO WARNING. I spent some time cuddling with my Maglite while waiting for the worst of it to blow over. The lightning was so constant that it was never dark outside for even a second (ETA: The TV news later confirmed that the storm was generating up to 15 lightning strikes per second). Also, the tornado sirens went off a second time. Fortunately, early reports on the tornado place it well south of me. I'm sure news crews will be out covering the damage as soon as it's safe.
the_other_sandy: Yomiko Readman hugging a book (Weather)
Every year, WGN meteorologist Tom Skilling puts together a roster of speakers for a severe storms seminar at Fermilab (the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, IL). The topics are usually pretty interesting. I decided to take notes this year now that I have an LJ, so naturally this year was the year they decided to turn the lights off to make the PowerPoint presentations more visible. They usually just turn the lights down for the video footage, then turn them back up again. I was attempting to scribble notes in movie theater darkness the whole time.

I was really looking forward to this year's seminar because it was going to cover two storms that I personally experienced.

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the_other_sandy: Yomiko Readman hugging a book (Christmas Ornament)
It was sleeting sideways when I got up this morning, but the library didn't close, so I made my way in to work very slowly. The sleet changed to snow around 11:00 a.m., but it was still coming down sideways. By 11:30 a.m., the Board announced that the library would be closing at 3:00 p.m. so that employees could get home before rush hour when things are expected to get even worse. Some of us pointed out that we don't live near the library and that it took us 3+ hours to get home last Thursday when it wasn't even snowing as hard as this, so leaving at 3:00 p.m. would leave us out driving in the heart of the mess. Human Resources finally decided at 12:30 p.m. that anyone who didn't absolutely have to be there could go home. My boss cut my entire department loose shortly thereafter.

It was a good decision all around, I think. There weren't too many people on the road when I left (either they were smart and stayed home, or fewer businesses than I thought were sending employees home early), so it only took me an hour to get home, even though it was snowing so hard that visibility was maybe a quarter mile. As a bonus, my Spanish class was canceled for tonight, so I'm home safe and I plan to stay here. And maybe do some laundry.


the_other_sandy: Yomiko Readman hugging a book (Default)

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