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Oliver: How about some whine with that wind chill?

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014 12:03 a.m. CDT

So here we are 15 days into January, and I’m more than done with winter already.

Anyone with me?

I’ve lived in northern Illinois all my life, so it’s not that I’m a rookie at this bitter cold and relentless snow and freezing rain. Nor am I someone who moved in from somewhere else and is surprised by it all.

So please spare me the “If you don’t like it, why don’t you just move?” comments.

Save those for when I whine about the heat and humidity come July. Although I’m not alone in that, either.

Over the past few years, the nasty weather didn’t seem to start in mid-December and come in wave after wave after wave as it has this year.

We’d have a week of nastiness to get through and it would be relatively calm until the next round a few weeks later. Then we’d wait for the ice storm in April and be in the clear until the following winter.

Some years, we hardly touched our snowblowers at all.

Then again, there was that blizzard in 2011 that canceled the Groundhog Day festivities on the Woodstock Square. 

In that storm, our area received between a foot and 2 feet of snow, and the wind gusts reached 60 mph. After their shift that night, our copy editors had trouble walking across Route 31 in the blinding snow just to stay at the Holiday Inn. Their cars couldn’t get out of the parking lot. 

I worked from home the next day until the plows finally came down my street.

Then there was the blizzard of 1999. Algonquin recorded 14 inches of snow between Jan. 2 and Jan. 4, according to the National Weather Service. Chicago got more than 21 inches. 

That was followed by bone-chilling temperatures, with many readings below zero.

Sound familiar?

But the storm around here to which I compare all others is the one that happened Jan. 13-14, 1979. Maybe that’s because I was a child at the time and it meant a series of snow days that kept me and my brother out of school.

I remember the 14-foot-high snowdrifts that lined Route 31 in McHenry. And then the 80-below-zero wind chills that followed, which led to even more days off from school.

There was another round of subzero temperatures in February, too.

When it was all said and done, the winter of 1978-79 set 13 temperature records, making it the second-coldest winter on record in Chicago.

That, my friend, was a brutal winter.

So even though we’ve seen significant snowfalls, below-zero temperatures, freezing fog and freezing rain, I guess it could be worse.

Wasn’t there a tornado in the area in January 2008?

Of course, it would have to warm up significantly to have to worry about that. 

• Joan Oliver is the former Northwest Herald assistant news editor. She has been associated with the Northwest Herald since 1990. She can be reached at jolivercolumn@gmail.com.

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