Mulling things on my morning ramble with Storm, the family's mixed Lab.
My first Science Fair project in middle school was recording weather data in winter from my backyard weather station.
I have proudly been a weather geek since my earliest memories. So I have something like five decades of weather experiences and memories.
But this morning was a first.
Before going out, I checked wunderground.com for conditions, and there was a special statement listed there about small bands of snow, which were thought to be lake effect from the cooling lakes.
Now I realize it was cold this morning, but that was the first I had heard of lake effect from the cooling lakes.
So I went to the National Weather Service page for Chicago to double-check.
And there it was:
Special Weather Statement
SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CHICAGO IL
511 AM CST TUE JAN 22 2013
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...MORRIS...JOLIET...KANKAKEE...PONTIAC
511 AM CST TUE JAN 22 2013
...LAKE EFFECT SNOW ONGOING ACROSS NORTH CENTRAL ILLINOIS...
AT 5 AM CST...RADAR CONTINUES TO DEPICT TWO VERY SMALL AND NARROW
BANDS OF LIGHT SNOW DEVELOPING AND MOVING SOUTHEAST ACROSS THE
WILL AND KANKAKEE COUNTY BORDER AREAS...AS WELL AS ANOTHER AREA
NEAR THE GRUNDY AND LIVINGSTON COUNTY BORDER. THESE BANDS OF LIGHT
SNOW APPEAR TO BE LAKE EFFECT FROM COOLING PONDS IN THESE AREAS.
LIGHT SNOW FROM THESE NARROW BANDS WILL LIKELY IMPACT AREAS FROM
WILMINGTON SOUTHEAST TO BOURBONNAIS...AND VERONA SOUTHEAST TO
REDDICK. VISIBILITY WILL LIKELY BE REDUCED TO 1 TO 3 MILES IN
LIGHT SNOW IN THESE AREAS...WITH HIGHLY LOCALIZED ACCUMULATIONS OF
AN INCH TO PERHAPS AS MUCH AS THREE INCHES POSSIBLE BEFORE SNOW
ENDS THIS MORNING. TRAVELERS IN THESE LOCATIONS SHOULD USE CAUTION
AS CONDITIONS WILL VARY GREATLY OVER VERY SHORT DISTANCES.
And we were right at the tail end of those narrow bands.
There was a dusting.
There was something wonderful about that. I know the meathead loved it as we walked down the porch steps.
It was dark, well before dawn, when we set out, but the dusting was enough to lighten the predawn.
I didn't expect much in wildlife, and there wasn't. A faint notice from Canada geese drifted on the westerly breezes from the nearby lake. The geese (and a few swans and what I think are some cackling geese) have kept a good-sized hole swam open all winter.
I knew it would be bitter this morning--Good God, we had enough warning from every form of media--so I pulled on long johns for a ramble for the first time in a couple years.
With the cold, I expected the town pond to be completely locked up. I went down to test the area under the bridge over the neckdown between the two old pits. Yesterday morning, it was wide open. This morning is looked solid.
But as I prepared to step on it and test it, the meathead sprinted out. Almost immediately, a big crack, with a loud crack, popped the whole way across the neckdown. The meathead came flying back to land.
I was bundled in enough layers that I came close to working up a sweat. But when I turned to come back home and into the westerly breezes, I was glad for every layer. And wished I had done the dandified thing and wrapped on a scarf. My face felt like a frozen mask.
The bank clock had it at 5 degrees. My thermometer behind the garage had it -2. Still tracking weather data all these years later.