Thursday, January 24, 2008

Lake Effect

I grew up in southern Illinois - just across the river from St. Louis. Four inches of snow would paralyze our little town. School would be cancelled, kids would be sledding and building snowmen. Twenty-one years ago this month, we moved to South Bend, Indiana and I heard the term "lake effect snow" for the first time. You see....there's system snow. That's the stuff the weather men can predict - the stuff that they can see coming through Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois. It's this lake effect stuff that throws a real monkey wrench in our lives in general. I guess they can tell us to expect it, but they can never seem to tell us how MUCH to expect. Lake effect works like this - the cold arctic air comes down from Canada and Wisconsin - sweeps across Lake Michigan where the water is still relatively warm and creates this phenomanon known as "lake effect snow" and dumps it on the first land mass - which in our case is southwest Michigan and northwest Indiana - and that's US. The weird part of the whole thing are the bands of snow that are created. For example - I live on the extreme northwest corner of South Bend - right on the Michigan border. I can get dumped on and drive to my office downtown and find an inch. We're only talking a seven mile difference - but that's like night and day in lake effect areas.

So, here I sit - looking out my office window and thankful that I'm somewhere warm and dry, but actually wishing I were curled up in my nice warm bed with the blankets pulled up under my chin. Welcome to JANUARY in northern Indiana.

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