The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

End of Thursday link roundup

Lots of stories in the last day:

Finally, comic genius and Chicago native Bob Newhart has died at age 94. He was a national treasure.

Wait, a tornado hit where, exactly?

Monday's derecho spawned so many tornados in Northern Illinois that the National Weather Service hasn't yet confirmed the paths they all took. But one of those paths got my attention:

That's, uh...that tornado ended at the front door of the Ogilvie Transportation Center, where I get off my morning commuter train, which is 300 meters from my office. It went straight down Madison Street from Racine to Canal. That does not usually happen.

And yesterday, this one little punk rainstorm dumped almost 10 mm of rain on the North Side in 15 minutes:

Notice the blue dot (i.e., where Cassie and I were caught). I put a video up on social media if you want to see how much fun she and I had at Spiteful last night. Fortunately we got to Spiteful a good minute before it started pouring. Unfortunately I underestimated how much water would descend on us, so we went inside for a bit before returning to the patio with a rag.

Now the NWS predicts "isolated showers" this afternoon as well. I really have had enough of this New Orleans-level heat and moisture. Tomorrow should be cooler and drier, though.

Breezy night in Chicago

A full-on derecho ploughed through the Chicago area last night, bringing spectacular rainfall and at least 10 tornados—one of which hit the Near North Side:

While few injuries were reported related to the storm, a woman in Northwest Indiana died after a tree fell on her Cedar Lake home. Laura Nagel, 44, was pronounced dead and identified by her family after storms ripped through the area Monday night, the Lake County, Indiana, Coroner’s Office said.

At least 10 tornadoes were reported in the Chicago area Monday night — including two at O’Hare and Midway airports and at least two others in the far western suburbs as severe thunderstorms returned to the Chicago area, knocking out electricity for hundreds of thousands of residents.

“We are seeing power flashes on both the O’Hare and Midway Airport webcams due to likely tornadoes and/or destructive wind gusts near those areas,” the National Weather Service tweeted shortly before 10 p.m. “Continue to take these warnings seriously!!”

Tornado sirens started going off in my neighborhood around 7:30pm and came back several times before the derecho passed around 10:30pm. I took Cassie out at 9:30, and she did not want to linger. I can't blame her; here's the radar picture:

I could totally understand why Cassie, who walks past firecrackers without flinching, did not want to stay outside any longer than it took to do her business. Possibly because the sirens were wailing.

Fortunately, there doesn't seem to be much damage in my neighborhood. Not as much flooding as I expected, either, given that my rain gauge measured 20 mm in half an hour. (Fun fact: 20 mm of rain is 1 tonne of water every 50 square meters. Clouds may look light and fluffy but they mass in the millions of tonnes.)

Today we're back to muggy and sticky, with really high dewpoints, despite the lower temperatures. Thursday, however, looks lovely: 24°C with a 14°C dewpoint and sunny skies.

Whoo boy

Apparently everyone else got over Covid yesterday, too. Or they're just trying to make deadline before the holiday:

Finally, the Post analyzed a ton of weather forecasts and determined that forecasting Chicago weather is a lot harder than forecasting Miami's. The only glimmer of good news: today's 7-day forecasts are at least as accurate as the 3-day forecasts from the 1990s.

Welcome to Summer

Summer officially begins today. We tied for 3rd-warmest spring in history, the second top-3 finish this century and the 3rd in my lifetime. And it turns out that we tied for the most sun in May as well. The CPC predicts June will start cool, but with the lake 2°C above normal already we could be in for a very warm summer.

Cassie and I started the season with a 5.6-kilometer walk through Lincoln Square and North Center (and a little bit of Lakeview), so we're both feeling pretty relaxed. And now we're off to run errands before the rain starts. So, a pleasant first few hours of summer.

What news?

Oh, so many things:

Finally, after it took the Ogilvie Transportation Center Starbucks over 30 minutes to make my iced tea this morning (and I ordered it from 15 minutes away on my inbound train), it turns out the Starbucks staffing algorithm might be to blame. This is why I only get that one drink from Starbucks: it's really hard to screw up and usually takes them half a minute. Fortunately, I got my morning coffee at the cute local bagel shop on my walk to Cassie's day camp (and they gave Cassie a dog treat to boot), so I wasn't feeling homicidal.

Hoping not to get rained on this afternoon

A whole knot of miserable weather is sneaking across the Mississippi River right now, on its way to Chicago. It looks like, maybe, just maybe, it'll get here after 6pm. So if I take the 4:32 instead of the 5:32, maybe I'll beat it home and not have a wet dog next to me on the couch later.

To that end I'm punting most of these stories until this evening:

Finally, if you have an extra $500 lying around and want to buy a nice steak with it, Crain's has options ranging from 170 grams of Chateau Uenae rib-eye steak (and a glass of water) at RPM on down to a happy hour of rib-eye steak frites for eight at El Che. The txuleton at Asador Bastian for $83 seems like a good deal to me, even without three other people or a bottle of wine to bring the bill up to $500. But the Wagyu? Maybe if I get a bonus next year. A guy can dream.

Mentally exhausting day, high body battery?

My Garmin watch thinks I've had a relaxing day, with an average stress level of 21 (out of 100). My four-week average is 32, so this counts as a low-stress day in the Garmin universe.

At least, today was nothing like 13 March 2020, when the world ended. Hard to believe that was four years ago. So when I go to the polls on November 5th, and I ask myself, "Am I better off than 4 years ago?", I have a pretty easy answer.

I spent most of today either in meetings or having an interesting (i.e., not boring) production deployment, so I'm going to take the next 45 minutes or so to read everything I haven't had time to read yet:

All righty then. I'll wrap up here in a few minutes and head home, where I plan to pat Cassie a lot and read a book.

Nine degrees in 80 minutes

We really felt the cold front that bulldozed through Chicago yesterday:

I was driving home from rehearsal at the mid-point of the curve, and really felt the difference over just 15 minutes. Right before the temperature crashed we got the first of three sets of thunderstorms, too. The other two woke me up overnight.

The Illinois State Climatologist summarized our weirdly weak winter in a post today: "Overall, the preliminary statewide average winter temperature was 1.6°C, 2.8°C above the 1991–2020 normal and, if confirmed, would be the 3rd warmest winter on record in Illinois."

Even today's 6.1°C at O'Hare puts us just over the normal March 5th high temperature of 5.9°C. The forecast for the coming week calls for more of the same, seasonably cool temperatures that still exceed normal highs.

Again, weird.

Winter ending with bizarre weather

The cold front we expected passed over my house around 8:15 last night. I wouldn't call it subtle, either:

Even that doesn't get to the truly unsubtle aspects of this frontal passage. The radar image might, though:

Not shown: the 60 km/h winds, lashing rain, brilliant lightning show, 5-10 mm hailstones, tornadoes to the northwest and southeast, and a mildly alarmed dog getting pats on the couch.

And it keeps getting better this morning. Right now I'm in a Loop high rise gently swaying in the 45 km/h winds, with the temperature continuing to drop outside:

June to January in 12 hours! Whee!

And what's the forecast for spring's first weekend? Sunny and 17°C. In fact, the weather for this week could best be summed up thus: June on Monday and Tuesday; January today; early March tomorrow followed by late March on the first day of spring; then late May/early June through the weekend with a chance of April by Tuesday.

Lunch today will be from the Chipotle across the street. Lunch yesterday involved a 30-minute break outside. Welcome to Chicago in the last days of an El Niño winter.

(Or maybe this is happening because today is Tom Skilling's last day at WGN?)