Category Archives: Weather

In like a….lion?

All through January & February, I told myself that March was coming – and with it, Spring. As I shoveled knee-high drifts from the driveway; as Jake, Sam & I stood at the school-bus stop in subzero temperatures; as we all struggled to get around town on glaciated roads, too cold for salt to clear; I clung to that one hopeful mantra: March is coming.

At last, March has arrived, bringing with it…more snow.

This bright (albeit cloudy) morning, we have an inch or so of new snow on the ground; the forecast calls for another three inches this afternoon, and temperatures below freezing until Friday. It’s not quite the snowpocalypse we’ve been expecting / dreading all week, “…but ’tis enough, ’twill serve.”

Perhaps Spring will come next week.

I should abandon the notion that Spring begins in March. Astronomically, it does – the vernal equinox is March 20th – but only troubledomes with telescopes & the neo-pagans who crowd Stonehenge every year care about that. By any human measure, Spring doesn’t kick in until April.

This does not prevent me from expecting it in March, every year; and being disappointed, every year.

Another day, another blizzard

The latest blizzard in the endless winter of 2014 began shortly after noon, with impressively heavy snowfall. (No flurries this time.)

I elected to leave work a bit early, rather than deal with the trifecta of rush-hour traffic, uncleared streets and whiteout conditions. Even so, the roads were terrible. At least I could see where I was going.

Since then, the plows have been busy. The regular night-time bus routes are in operation, and the longed-for school-closing-announcement robocall never came. (Jake & Sam were most put out.)

The overnight forecast calls for more snow, rising winds & falling temperatures, so we may be staying home tomorrow after all.


The afternoon was sunny & warm – 40° – and cleared the streets nicely of any lingering ice (or drifts from yesterday’s winds); but the pleasant weather didn’t last. Now – six hours later – the wind roars through the bare trees, and the temperature is falling rapidly toward a forecast low of -2°.

School on Monday has already been canceled, and is looking doubtful for Tuesday. Temperatures above freezing are distressingly absent from the forecast, though there is some slight hope for a thaw on Saturday.

These little presents from the Arctic used to be called Alberta Clippers, but they’ve a grander name now: the Polar Vortex.

Spring is still seven weeks away, too, so I imagine the present vortex will not be our last.


The snow reached Champaign shortly after sunrise, and continued throughout the day as the temperature plummeted & the wind piled drifts everywhere.

Here at Stately Rice Manor, we have an impressive drift across the driveway. (We get one from every snowstorm. Perhaps we should have analyzed the prevailing winds with an eye toward drift formation patterns; we might’ve chosen a house on the other side of the street.)

Everything in Champaign County is shut down, today and tomorrow. The state police has issued warnings to stay off the highways: conditions are so bad that stranded motorists may not survive until help can reach them.

I hadn’t planned on going anywhere. When I was young and indestructible, I might’ve attempted it; but I am no longer young (and never was indestructible).

Big storm coming

The forecast for this weekend includes snow: two to four inches on Saturday night, with a chance of ‘significant accumulation’ on Sunday. (And we just finished clearing the driveway of the last snowfall….)

The follow-up is a few days of arctic deep-freeze: the high for Monday is -7°.

I plan on not leaving the house until Tuesday.


Today was sunny & warm: 50°, very springlike.

Jake had an archery tournament in Springfield, so the rest of us drove over to watch and cheer him on. It was a big tournament, lots of schools competing.

Archery tournaments are a pleasant way to spend a Saturday, even though I usually have no idea what’s going on. Kids shoot arrows, a guy wearing a referee’s zebra shirt blows a whistle, people walk down to the targets & retrieve their arrows.

Lather, rinse repeat.

(Scores? Those for today’s competition were delayed due to “computer problems”. We won’t know for a few days who actually won.)

Tomorrow we were supposed to go to Normal, for a birthday party; but the forecast – for the day after this lovely spring day – calls for five to eight inches of snow. After a winter in which every storm seemed to pass fifty miles to one side or another of Champaign, this one is heading right for us.

The party’s already been canceled. However – we were supposed to bring the cake; Jennifer ordered one from the grocery store, which order has not been canceled. What ever will we do with all that cake?

(Dumb question. We’re going to eat it.)

As of 11:00pm, we’re still waiting for the snow to begin. Outside, it still looks like spring.

Off to see the blizzard

Weather people have been chatting up an imminent “heavy snowfall” since late last week.

Alas, as we get closer to Zero Hour, the forecast gets milder. It was four to six inches of snow, interspersed with freezing rain; now it’s three to five, and no rain. Or maybe one to three.

Zero Hour itself keeps moving back. Yesterday’s forecast said we’d have an inch of snow on the ground by now; the actual total: zero.

I don’t hold it against the forecasters. Meteorology is an imprecise science. But we’ve had a few heavy snowfalls predicted this winter, and every one has turned out to be a dud.

I’m hoping this one pans out, and we all get a snow day tomorrow. That would be nice.


We have a few inches of snow on the ground, here in Champaign. It started as freezing rain, shortly after 4pm, then switched over to snow.

It snowed for a few hours, then stopped. Just now (9:15pm) it started raining, with the crackly sound against walls & windows that says it’s freezing as it hits.

I’m hoping for two things:

  • That the power stays on tonight. The lights have already flickered once, so we might end up in the dark.
  • That the Unit 4 administrators declare a snow day tomorrow. As yet, they have not. Hurry up, people, I do not want to get up at 6:00am if I don’t have to.


Yesterday evening I was walking home from the bus. As I came to the street graced by Stately Rice Manor, an automobile turned onto the cross street. Its headlights swept across me, and I saw…snow, swirling in the beams.

That was the first of the season, so far as I’ve seen.

Last winter was a bit feeble: too short, too warm, almost no snow. I’ve been seeing news items suggesting that two such in a row is too much to expect.

A real winter might be nice. Or might qualify as be careful what you wish for.

Down / Up

Cloudy this morning, and much cooler: the temperature at 1pm today was almost twenty degrees cooler vs. yesterday at 1pm. Rain threatened at times, but – so far as I could tell – none actually fell. The overcast cleared in mid-afternoon, and the temperature rose a bit. (Not too much, though.)

Tomorrow, the blast furnace returns: highs in the nineties, Saturday through Friday. That’s as far as the forecast goes – if it went further, I suspect it would be more of the same.

The newsdroids are saying drought, and running photos of the shrunken Mississippi (no longer a mile wide).

Conditions are (said to be) worse than 1988, even though we still get occasional rainfall. In 1988, weeks passed with no rain at all; and, once the air dried out, temperatures soared into the low 100s.

It worries me a bit that we have two months of summer left. I’ve had quite enough already.