Trying something different... a live blog where we update it in the post rather than in the comments. Gerry and Dan feel free to chime in from Indiana and Wisconsin! Just put your updates above the latest one.
Chicago 8:30 pm Wednesday
Surprisingly the restaurants that are open are very full. A lot of people live downtown nowadays so even if the commuters and workers aren't here there are many that remain.
The streets and sidewalks were at least partially cleared; some do a good job and many are terrible. Also the plows come by and block the sidewalks at the crossing intersections.
So far it isn't very cold and windy. That must be scheduled for later tonight.
Chicago 3:45 pm Wednesday
All quiet downtown. The traffic seems to be moving and the roads are cleared (can't speak for the rest of the city, just what I can see out the window). With all the salt down and the sun shining there has been some melting on the roads and some sidewalks that have been shoveled down to pavement.
Will be VERY cold here tonight lows below -10 and with high winds to boot.
Madison 2.23 pm Wedesday
The second I pushed "enter" for that last post my wife called me from the farm. "I need you out here and you need to bring a gun". Talk about wtf!!! Well, one of our cattle, Earl, was IN the round feeder. He wasn't raising any hell, yet and the wife wanted to be prepared. She has also called the vet out in case he needed to be sedated while we disassembled the feeder to get him out. Earl is probably the friskiest of our cattle, and he has asserted dominance over all but our largest cow. For those not in the know, our round feeder looks like this:
Ours is larger and heavier being for cattle but you get the drift. Ah yes, drift is the word. The snow had drifted up so high that Earl just walked right into the feeder to get the hay in the middle since they ate all the hay around the edges.
We were getting ready to disassemble the feeder and he decided that he had enough and walked out, thank god. I spent the next hour and a half digging it out, digging out the cattle watering area, the chicken coop, and the horse run in. The drifting was insane, the wife will be bobcatting all day out there tomorrow.
The rural roads are amazingly bad and the drifts are so high I don't ever remember they being that tall. You almost feel like you are driving through a tunnel at times. Tons of cars stranded in the medians, and I don't see any hope of them getting out until the thaw now that they are drifted in. The cops have affixed traffic cones on top of the cars so you know where they are!
It is time for a beer.
Chicago 1:30 pm Wednesday
On the way to work around 9am this morning I saw a lunatic RIDING A BICYCLE. Now that's nuts.
For the first time in a decade I am making the conscious decision to lay down and take a nap. Can't think of a better use of a snow day.
Valparaiso 12 pm Wednesday
The groundhog poked his head out of the hole this morning. Go see what he has to say and try not to laff.
Madison 11.09 am Wednesday
The media is trying as best they can to keep the storm going but it is pretty much over up here. Most businesses including mine are closed. The winds are about half of what they were this morning and the plows are starting to catch up. Just got home from the gym and the parking lot for that was an adventure to say the least. By this evening it should be business as usual. bfd.
Valparaiso 9:30 am Wednesday
The reports are in. Conditions are very bad in the outlying areas. As public service to our viewers - do not go out lying in those areas. That is all.
Chicago 9 am Wednesday
I am dressing for cold weather and going to walk down town into work. I have my rain pants on over my lined jeans and a change of clothes in my backpack because none of the sidewalks are shoveled and will be a lot of trudging through drifts. It is supposed to get SUPER cold here tonight with wind chill adjusted temps in the -30 to -40 range so I will be planning to get out of there a bit early. Also will snap photos along the way.
Valparaiso 8:05 am Wednesday
No big whup out here, I'm guessing at 12" but hard to tell with the drifts. That's on top of the 8-9" that was already on the ground. Looks like Chicago got slammed with the worst. Later on as it all winds down I will give the driveway a blow job and take some pix for posting.
Chicago 7:30 am Wednesday
Woke up and the radio announcers were going crazy like this was the most important event ever to hit Chicago. A lot of the chatter was about the fiasco on Lake Shore Drive which was shut down with people stuck in their cars for hours and many cars stranded. Finally the authorities pulled everyone out of their cars whether they wanted to leave or not. The announcers were saying that with this many days' notice we figured we'd do better than the last blizzard, but we didn't.
Well, that was an interesting commute. The roads are a total crapshoot. I figured that if I could get out of my subdivision and through my industrial park that I would be fine. It was the reverse. My subdivision and industrial park were great compared to the main roads. Most are down to half their usual lanes. The Beltline, the main east-west road in Madison which is usually three or four lanes is down to one or two depending on the place. Stoughton Road, a major north-south thoroughfare is totally insane, with many cars off the side of the road and totally buried. The wind is still whipping. Technically we are closed here today, pretty much everything is. The commute was made easier by the lack of cars on the road.
11:30 pm Chicago
A video (sorry about all the wind noise) of the storm going full-blast. The streets are pretty much deserted only a few cars slowly going down the street and a few pedestrians.
11:00 pm Chicago
HOLY CRAP! It is really coming down like crazy. The wind is blowing the snow vertically and it is accumulating fast. It suddenly feels like the sky is really opening up. It is snowing much harder now than it did before.
9:45 pm Chicago
Horror of horrors! Binny's had to close early today! I'm sure the liquor stores in Madison will be open extra early tomorrow for the students as Dan pointed out below since class is canceled.
They were doing pretty well with plowing the streets but now they are falling behind. The snow is starting to fall more and accumulate downtown.
Our intrepid reporter Carl went out in the blizzard to talk with some locals and take some photos. Everyone else was also a noobie when it came to Thunder Snow, too. Some girl kept calling the bar to see if it was open and the bartender was like, yes, I'm answering the damn phone of course it is open.
haha Carl's first thundersnow - we get it about once a year up here. Not so tonight, but is snowing steadily and the winds are insane. The wife reports that many rural roads are drifting shut.
8:45 pm Tuesday Chicago
We are experiencing BIG TIME Thunder Snow! That happens when you get snow and thunder and lightning at the same time. It just happened three times here in downtown Chicago and I have never seen anything like that in my entire life. I thought it was a joke when they referred to it on the Colbert Report but boy was I wrong. Now I need to go outside and see everything from the ground level. It is snowing like crazy!
8:45 pm Tuesday Indiana
No big whup out here. 3-4 inches maybe. Hard to tell with the wind. It looks like a dud for NWI. So far.
Think I'll go lay on the couch. zzzzzzzzzzzz
7.31 pm Tuesday Madison
They have just announced that classes at UW are cancelled for tomorrow, look out liquor stores. It still isn't snowing very hard but it is blowing like a mofo and that is causing the roads to be tough sledding, at least outside my house. Times like this make me thank my lucky stars that we have cheap, reliable power and a great utility like M G and E. I am afraid the way we are going that in a few decades power will be a huge issue if we don't start adding to our base load fleet and soon.
7.11 pm Tuesday Madison
Ugh. We just had an alarm put in at our farm property today and we are getting a low temp alarm. I think it is a malfunction, but the wife says she needs to go out there and have a look see, and is stopping on the way at Menards to pick up an electric heater. She called there and they are not closing early, open until 9. We will get a good idea of the road conditions upon her return.
6.30 pm Tuesday Madison
The snow isn't coming down too hard, but the wind is blowing like crazy which will cause problems since we had a few inches of snow yesterday. I am thinking that we may not get the worst of this storm for ONCE.
5:30pm Tuesday Chicago
Most people left work early. Winds are picking up but it wasn't too bad around 4:30 at least in the Loop.