It's a measure of the "new connectedness" that I woke up this morning wondering how the Australians are doing. Our weather event was nothing like a hurricane. (They're called typhoons in the Pacific [and cyclones in Australia, as several readers have commented], but they're the same thing.)
And we here in Wisconsin were hardly alone. This pair of storms dumped snow over a third of the country. But the school system was right—this is definitely a snow day.
It was the sort of storm I recall as being much less unusual when I was growing up near here in the '60s and '70s. Howling wind, blowing snow. The news reported that snowplows were getting stuck, and a rescue team on snowmobiles had to be called off because the visibility was so poor. State and city state of emergencies were declared, the local mall closed, and the Mayor explained on TV that where there are signs that say "No Parking / Snow Emergency Route / Cars Will Be Towed," it means that you can't park there or your car will be towed. People really did stay indoors and off the roads. A cross-country ski race in the park today was postponed because of too much snow. The Groundhog Day ceremony at the State Fairgrounds was cancelled.
I spent some time last night watching through the front door as gusts of wind blew snow off the roof. It swirled in the air like smoke, constantly changing. Mildly mesmerizing, like watching the flames of a campfire. Very pretty.
Meanwhile, the news coverage of the Packers in Dallas took up far more local news time than the storm, so all is still right with Wisconsin.
Ctein's column will be late going up today. I have to go tend to snow removal now.
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Original contents copyright 2011 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.
Featured Comment by Walter Glover: "You are correct about Typhoons in Asia and parts of the Pacific but here in Oz we refer to them as Cyclones. News from Queensland is slowly filtering through as daylight reveals the extent of the devastation. Poor old Queensland just copped monstrous flooding and now this weather event up in far north Queensland.
"The cyclone made landfall at Tully and Innisfail (between Cairns and Townsville) with wind gusts up into the 270 kilometres per hour region.
"In a shelter in a school in Cairns a woman went into labour in the height of the event at about 2:00 p.m. Also in the shelter was a holidaying mid-wife from Britain. The power of nature never fails to impress—new life in the midst of chaotic wreckage."
Featured [partial] Comment by Mani Sitaraman: "Typhoons originate in the Pacific Ocean, cyclones originate in the Indian Ocean, and hurricanes originate in the Atlantic Ocean. This bit of orthodoxy was drilled into me by my geography teacher circa 1966."