Friday, December 09, 2005Last night's snowstorm - the first of the season here - was, as the news reports put it, a doozy. In the space of about three or four hours we received over 8 inches of dense, "greasy," traffic-jamming snow here in Chicago. Fortunately, I'd left the car home yesterday. The storm snarled travel so badly that my usual hour-and-a-quarter commute took nearly two and a half hours. But, no matter how long I'd have spent on that steamy, overheated, standing-room only Hyde Park Express, it wouldn't have been as bad as this:
[Photo © 2005 Chicago Tribune; read more coverage of the story on the Chicago Tribune]
Our dinner date with two friends was delayed nearly two hours because of the weather, and when we walked into our favorite Ethiopian restaurant we spotted the "Breaking News" on the house TV. Just ten minutes earlier Southwest flight 1248 from Baltimore skidded off the end of the runway at Midway Airport into a busy intersection at 55th and Central.
Sadly, as it turns out, an 8-year old boy was killed, and 11 others including his family were seriously injured when their vehicles were crushed by the plane. We stood near the set for several minutes, watching the live coverage of this surreal scene of a huge airliner blocking the street, bathed in consuming orange sodium glow and dizzily flashing emergency vehicle lights.
...and for a brief moment, the thick whiteness brings deceiving calm and bright to our usually noisy North Side neighborhood. Welcome to Winter, 2005.