With the blizzard that just hit Chicago being hailed as “Snowmaggedon 2011”, it seems only reasonable that it would be a bad one. As it turns out, this blizzard is not only inordinately powerful and wild, it is also highly educational. Here are three things that I learned from my five minute encounter with Snowmaggedon today:
1. Snowstorms can produce thunder and lightning. Take a minute and let that sink in. Thunder. Lightning. Snow. All three together. That is enormously cool. Thunder-snowstorms are like the rock stars of the blizzard world. Most blizzards are just out there performing their acoustic wind and ice sets on street corners and in fair-trade coffee shops, but not Thunder-snowstorm. Thunder-snowstorm uses lighting effects and double-pedal bass drums and electric guitars. He only performs for sold-out crowds, and he probably has a private jet. His autograph would be worth thousands of dollars. Too bad he doesn’t have any hands.
2. Blizzards actually do cake your hair in frost, just like a cartoon. I always thought that the cartoon characters with icicles on their beards and wind-slicked, pure white hair when they come in from a snowstorm were just examples of the hyperbole so prevalent in their genre. As it turns out, that really does happen. It’s actually highly entertaining – until you realize that your beard has been effected, too, and is now just a huge chunk of ice clinging to your face. Somehow that drains the humor from the situation (along with the sense of feeling from your chin).
3. People in the city get stuck on the side of the road during snowstorms, too. Imagine my surprise when I learned that impassable roads and stranded motorists are not solely country phenomena. If the snow starts falling heavily enough, the roads in Chicago do get slick and nasty. Somehow, my country boy mind had convinced me that the roads are always clear in big cities, they just get a little damp in the wintertime and when it rains. That is not the case. Now I’m wondering if any of my other big city theories like robot pigeons and self-maintaining vegetation are completely unfounded, too. I suppose only time will tell.
What do you think of the big blizzard? Is it living up to hype, or is it just a bunch of cold air (pun intended)?