I like weather memories and so must a lot of other people based on all the questions relating weather to various events that are printed in Meteorologist Tom Skilling’s weather section in the Chicago Tribune. The memory of a sweet afternoon interrupted by a powerful storm and the haven of a hallway surrounded by a Mother’s love is a powerful gift emanating from some not so obvious marks on a brown board. Perhaps even more powerful than individual interactions with memorable weather are the shared interactions of many people touched by an unforgettable weather event. On a house walk in Elgin I learned about the Palm Sunday tornado that struck that city in 1920. One particular Queen Anne style house was damaged by the tornado and ended up being rebuilt with lots of Craftsman style updates. I imagine that family’s story would be rather interesting. And of course that tornado is a part of that community’s fabric and even now there are subtle signs like the Craftsman-Victorian house that give witness to that major weather event.
While there are plenty of unforgettable weather tragedies; storms, floods, droughts, not all memorable weather is a disaster. I am thinking of an ice storm in 1964 or 65 (I’ll have to write to Tom Skilling) that was severe enough to thoroughly coat every surface well enough to skate on but not significantly enough to break a lot of tree limbs or cause massive electricity blackouts. And I am recalling one of the most joyous weather events of my life—the Great Chicago Blizzard of 1967, which I remember without the responsibilities of being an adult. The March Spring of 2012 will go down as an unforgettable weather event. The sustained beautiful warm weather would be an amazing occurrence in May or maybe even June. To experience such a brace of so nearly perfect unbelievably warm days in March has never happened in any living person’s lifetime. One would be lucky to experience weather this nice for this long even in many warm weather destinations. Some will be trying to find implications in this weather. Others are worrying what happens when the inevitable frost hits. In some ways this weather could be as scary as a powerful storm or a flood. On the other hand this spring has been and continues to be perhaps the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. And I am celebrating that (at least for right now).