Thursday, February 20, 2014

A Sizeable Gauge

I've been trying to give some scope to the amount of snow received this winter. Chicagoland's average winter snowfall is around 37 inches, so 3 feet over the course of 3 months. In 2011, we had the great February blizzard which dropped 21 inches at once and then had that whipped into drifts by 30 mile per hour winds. Generally, speaking, we get a couple over 6 inch snowfalls but the rest are 3-4 inches, widely spaced. It can seem like a lot when you get wave after wave of small storms pass through, each dropping a half inch at a time. Overall, however, 3 feet isn't really that much. A year ago, we broke the record for longest consecutive days without snow. This year, our snow total is currently at 68 inches for these 3 months. It started January 2nd and it really hasn't let up.

I wondered how best to illustrate all this snow. Sixty-eight inches since December 1st is a bit over 22 inches per month. Another way of looking at it is that it's close to an inch a day since December 1st. For us, that's a lot of snow.

I think our first snow was back in November with a light dusting. I remember looking out my office window with some happiness. "Ooooh snow!"

(The green color is from the tinted glass.)

A week ago, I took this photo of the same area.

When the owners plow the parking lot, they shove all the snow into this corner because we don't use all the spots in the lot as it is. This represents all those 68 inches in one spot. Here's another view of the pile taken on Monday when the temperature was 42 degrees at noon.

Right now, it's raining heavily. That pile will be smaller by the time this rain moves through. The ground is frozen so all the water released by rain on snow will have to find somewhere to go. I expect there will be seepage in my basement. It's the nature of such things.

I think, more than anything else, this is a good gauge of the amount of snow we've received. It's no wonder my legs ache, no wonder I have inflamed my sciatic nerve. I do hereby vow, however, that come August, when it's 95 in the shade, I will not complain. The heat is something I don't have to shovel.

Beverage:  English Breakfast Tea


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