Friday, February 4, 2011

Chicago Blizzard Aftermath--A Friday Photo-Journal

This week was dominated by the crippling effects of Chicago's third-largest blizzard on record.  Snow-drifts too high and too heavy to be removed with snow blowers alone....schools and businesses closed for two days....all of us stranded in our homes as roads were impassable with high snow...bitter cyclonic winds with thunder and lightning....hundreds of motorists stranded for hours on Lake Shore Drive..even the mail didn't arrive on Wednesday.

We do not have a terribly long driveway or large patio.  Even so, with waist-high drifts that required shovels and muscle, it took both of us over four hours to clear it off.  It was an  activity seen all over the neighborhood. 

Mark took a storyboard in photos:

A shot from our kitchen door looking at the house and fence of our next-door neighbors.  Looks like the view inside of a snow globe. The snowflakes look like tiny drops of light.

The back yard and driveway seemed impossible to tackle in the chill wind and snow.  We wondered where to begin.

A view on Wednesday morning from our front-room picture window, past the birch tree next to our driveway, across the street to the field and the High School in the distance. It was sort of eerie, like an unworldly fog had settled in.  No, we couldn't see the High School either.

Your humble narrator, bundled to the nostrils, in an American Gothic winter pose.  The Chevy in the foreground, which has over 111,000 miles on it, started up immediately, after it was extracted from its "Styrofoam packing", or so it appears...

From shovel to snow blower and back again.  Clearing driveways one swipe at a time. In order for the snow blower to do its job, at least a foot of snow had to be shoveled off.   As cold as I appear, I was 5 times colder.

Suddenly, mid-morning, the blizzard front had passed. The sun emerged, as though it were obscenely smiling at us as we all labored.  Where were you all morning, I wondered?   That snow mound in front of the shed in the distance is normally a small rose garden...

A shift in perspective, looking directly at our neighbor's house to the south... The snow mound on the left is almost six feet tall.  By the end there was almost nowhere to put the snow we had removed from the driveway.

Daisy, our neighbor's Bichon, was indignant at being unable to climb the drift that blocked "her" sidewalk.  She supervised our efforts and eventually the walk was cleared, so she could trot over for a visit.

Mark finally made it to the curb, although the street itself would remain impossible for travel for the next 8 hours.  He looks like he just reached the top of Mt. Everest. 

It was just after noon as your humble narrator leaned on his shovel after the job was finished.  The pain from the blisters on our hands, the joints in our fingers and our elbows and backs, would linger for a day or so.  We thanked the strong winds for keeping the heavy snow from accumulating on our roof.

We retreated to the warmth of our little house, nothing else to do but take hot showers, drink hot tea, and look out the window at the snow, which promises to stick around for some time. 


  1. Crikey! I'm glad we don't get that sort of thing here in the UK.

    Hope the hot tea and satisfying view from the window was worth it.

  2. Yes, the warmth of the house was most welcome, as we nursed our aches. So, you don't get this kind of storm in the UK? Any good deals on apartments near you? If so, we're there!

  3. Not that much snow, but the traffic still grinds to a halt if we get just a few inches.