During most of the winter in Chicago, the sky is a uniform leaden gray. Today, however, there was a moment of sunrise with some defined clouds. Right under the sunrise are the steel mills of Indiana with their plumes. During summer, the sun will rise over the Chicago Park District field house to your left.
More January sea smoke on Lake Michigan. See this article by Catherine Schmitt for the science behind sea smoke.
The windy, rainy day overall put me in an autumn mood, and I thought I’d take video of Lake Michigan’s wave action. Instead, I was struck by this unexpected rainbow — the sun wasn’t out.
After months of abnormally dry to severe drought conditions, Chicago had a near record “rainfall event” the weekend of July 1–2, especially on Sunday.
To me, it seemed like a normal rain, but I don’t have a personal basement to worry about. I gave up any thought of outdoor activities and stuck to reading, TV, etc. I figured I’d be grateful if this rain, plus a few others that preceded it, would put a dent in the severe drought conditions.
As of July 11, Chicago was still abnormally dry, but look at the difference.
June 10, 2023:
Same area, July 9, 2023, a little less than a month later:
When I noticed the orange light on my weather radio flashing the evening of July 12, I was hoping for beach hazards or at worst a flash flood watch, but, no, it was a tornado watch. As the sky got darker, it flipped to the red light — tornado warning. Not long after that, the sirens started — an eerie sound in the eerie premature twilight.
Over the next hour or so I saw several reports of tornadoes, starting with Summit in the southwest suburbs. Then it seemed like they were everywhere — southwest, west, north.
The sky brightened for a moment, then darkened, then brightened again just as another brief deluge descended. I looked — yes, there was a rainbow (and a very faint second mirror image rainbow). It faded, then reappeared, or maybe it was a second one in a similar spot. The second, with a faint mirror image like the first, was the full arch, which I couldn’t capture from my window.
It faded as blue sky appeared to the east, then pink from the setting sun tinged the clouds that had piled up.
I’m grateful for a rainy Sunday when a short Saturday walk looks like this. It’s early June, but looks like September after a months-long drought. I hate droughts and didn’t expect this one. Spring should be vibrant green.
Drought monitor for last week.
I’m not sure whether I’ve seen sea smoke in December before, but it is close to January. With bonus of Jack Frost on the window.
Sea smoke is essentially just fog above water, according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dave Samuhel. The occurrence of sea smoke is similar to the steam that appears over a boiling pot of water or a hot bath.
“It happens when the air mass is so cold it makes the water steam like a pot on a stove would,” Samuhel said. Sea smoke is also sometimes referred to as arctic sea smoke, frost smoke, steam fog or sea fog.
In order for sea smoke to occur, the air has to be very cold and the water has to be comparatively warm. As a light wind of cold air sweeps in, it cools the warm air immediately above the water, which makes the air dip below the dew point. The air is only able to hold so much moisture before it condenses into fog, or sea smoke.
From a Facebook post, snow totals from the recent storm in western New York, aka the Niagara Frontier. Hamburg is my hometown.
July 23, 2022
Chicago Parks Foundation is sponsoring “Walk with a Future Doc” at a couple of parks, including Promontory Point. The inaugural walk had three future doctors (in the middle). The sky threatened rain, and when it began to thunder it was time to hightail it home. We got probably a half mile in and information about sleep health as well as a great photo. I missed the next one (every two weeks) as I’m forgetful and it was too hot for me, but maybe later this month I’ll try it again.