“Are you socked in?” That was the question I had from friends and family this week following the snowstorm that hit the Midwest.
“No, we weren’t,” I answered. Here along the lakefront we did not have more than an inch of snow. Winds, yes. Bitter cold, yes. But not much snow.
Why? The answer is the same reason that we are cooler by the lake in the summer. That great big body of water out my window has a major impact on weather. Right now water temperatures are in the high 30’s or lower 40’s, and the heat emanating from the water warms the air. Okay, not too much as it has been in the single digits all day but just a mile or two west of here, its even colder and they had much more snow. For those of you who don’t know Wisconsin geography, Madison is about 75 miles west of Lake Michigan. That’s why they were hit with 18 inches of snow and we got one inch.
Even if you don’t know the geography of our state, you would think our governor would. Yesterday Gov. Doyle closed all state offices, including all branches of the state university, because of the weather. So UWM in Milwaukee and UWP in Kenosha/Racine were closed even though we didn’t have a blizzard. Hmm. Things like this make for political fodder. Elections are won and lost by such decisions. Remember Chicago in the winter of 1978-79? Michael Bilandic lost his position as mayor because of how he handled (actually didn’t handle) the snow and cold that winter. Snow in the Midwest equals politics. But it doesn’t matter for Jim Doyle. He’s not running for governor again anyway.
Back to water temperatures. When I went out about 10 AM – in the car, not walking – the harbor looked like a giant cup of hot tea. It was steaming. I didn’t get a picture a) because I didn’t have my camera with me and b) because even if I did, it was 3 degrees outside. But if I see it again, I’ll try to get a picture. It’s pretty cool.