Saturday, December 4, 2010

First Snow Storm in the Midwest

We're experiencing our first major snowstorm now in the Chicago area. It started at 2330 hrs last night and continued all night at different levels of intensity while I was trapped at work in the middle of a 12-hour shift.

The forecast was for three to five inches, which in centimeters are 2.5 cm per inch, so the whole five inches means 125 mm or so. But I was able to drive home after seven hours of it, and the stuff on my car at that point averaged about two inches or 5 cm.

 Luckily work ended, and I left about 45 minutes ago, and here to post about the storm already .A trip that normally takes about 20 minutes took 25 minutes due to the challenging driving conditions. I did not post right away but brewed up some of that Ethiopian Yergacheffe coffee, possibly the first coffee drunk by man, and handily won game number 20,758 in Free Cell before posting. It's still not an hour since I left work

In addition to the extra driving time, there were another five or so minutes added because I had to sweep off the two or so inches that fell on the car during the night. It would take longer if there had been certain changes in temperature and/or any freezing rain, but this was about 30 degrees Fahrenheit and it was decent packing snow, suitable for snowballs.  That kind comes off fairly easily without  needing a lot of scraping.

This storm is forecast to continue for quite a while, maybe almost up to the Bears game Sunday at noon in Detroit. So that's got to be close to 36 hours, although for some parts of that time the chance is only 30% of it continuing during some of those hours, others 60, 80 or 100% chance.

This intermittent snowfall always messes up my count. The past couple years I counted something like 39 snowfalls before spring, but when it starts and stops in the middle, then might start again  hours later, I end up confused after a while and find my numbers are different from the official weather people. Friday, Saturday and Sunday will probably all three count as snow days, but the radar makes it look from outer space like one big storm.

Down here on the ground, if I go to sleep, wake up, and then it snows again, I'll be sorely tempted to count that as "two."

On the way home about one mile out I found the road blocked by five cop cars and a sixth one driving up. It turns out someone had crashed, probably because of either sliding when they tried to turn or else when they tried to hit the hooks because the light turned red. I was sliding about thirty to fifty feet when braking, so that probably explains that one.

Last year in the same area I did a 180 degree spin on a patch of black ice, but luckily no other cars were around, or else I'd have hit them. If something like that happens you simply can't stop until there is traction, or as in my case I swung around far enough to ram a six-foot tall wall of snow on the side of the road, so I stopped then, and turned around and continued on my merry way.

As long as you know what you're doing, and you test in a safe place how far you're likely to skid when you try to stop, it was all right. The one thing I don't like is being anywhere near the other cars out there, and it's the red lights that cause much of the trouble since they make everyone bunch up and try to stop right next to each other, then try to start up again, which causes a lot of sliding into the wrong lane.

So the final result, including five minutes with the heavy-duty brush and five minutes to get around the cops, plus maybe 15 seconds to look at another car in the ditch with a state trooper already there, and driving extra slow for the situation, all told ten minutes and 15 seconds longer than usual to get home and beat Free Cell.
                                                           *       *         *

No comments:

Post a Comment