Silly Sunday (5) – Chicago Blizzard

Last week was exciting in Chicagoland! Before the storm had even finished unleashing its fury on our streets, reporters were already naming it the Great Chicago Blizzard of 2011. I was one of the lucky ones whose bosses decided to close up shop early on Tuesday afternoon, and we stayed closed for all of Wednesday and Thursday. Most of the city was starting to resume operations on Thursday, but pretty much everyone was home on Wednesday as workers tried to clear streets and get people moving again.

Why is this silly? Because weather like this isn’t just crazy. It is crazy silly. I dug up some of my favorite clips to share with you: thundersnow, 70 mph wind gusts, and dogs enjoying the aftermath.

Everyone kept asking me: What is thundersnow? It’s just what it sounds like. A thunderstorm in freezing conditions so instead of rain, you get snow. It typically results in much heavier snowfall than your average snowstorm. It also feels incredibly creepy to listen to thunder and watch lightning crash while it’s snowing.

This first clip is The Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore freaking out when caught off guard by a lightning flash.

The wind was the scariest part of this storm, and because it was whipping straight across Lake Michigan, was a major factor in why Lake Shore Drive came to a standstill. With already slick conditions, when the wind started picking up, cars were blown across lanes and the resulting accidents backed up traffic and off-ramps, leaving hundreds of cars and motorists stranded on the Drive for up to 12 hours.

Here’s a great clip showing the force of the winds. I saw news footage of pedestrians getting blown across streets. Craziness.

One brave soul went to North Avenue Bridge early on Wednesday morning and captured views of the trapped cars stuck in huge drifts of blowing snow. Cars had snow blown into their interiors and into the engines.

And now for some silliness. In the aftermath, the ones who enjoyed it the most were the dogs. As the streets started to clear, lots of folks had to shovel their own alleys and streets to unbury their cars. My favorite part of this clip is about 45 seconds in, when you can see a guy up the street shoveling snow with a bucket.

All is well at my house. Our dog wasn’t a huge fan of our drifts, but once we shoveled a path for her, she got the hang of it. We finally shoveled out the drift behind the garage and were able to get the car out yesterday. Freedom!

Enjoy the day, and stay silly.