Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Uptown History:
2013-2014 Worst Winter Ever

Weather has become one of my favorite things to learn about. It might be a bit on the "geeky" side, but there are many things about weather, especially weather phenomenons that I find absolutely intriguing. I strongly believe that if I had the chance to do college all over again, I might find myself attending Oklahoma or some other tornado alley school to pursue some type of career in the weather field.

With that said, I have always been one of those people who greatly enjoys a good snow storm and a good blast of cold weather. Skiing is one of my favorite hobbies, so the more snow and cold the better. But enough is enough. I surrender! This winter has defeated me from a mental, physical and business standpoint. As most of you are aware, this run of winter weather has been absolutely atrocious.

From purely a weather standpoint, lets look at some of the numbers. We have to go back to 1978-1979 since we have had this much snowfall. From the stories I hear about the winter of '78/'79, it was many blasts of large snow accumulations that contributed to the almost 90" of snow on record. Most storms were 10" or more, and there were many of them.

But this year we have had everything. There have been many days of snow and even a few of them larger... though we haven't even had one of those 10"+ snowfalls this season. It's the constant pounding of snow, seems like 2 or 3 times a week, that pile up on us. After Monday's snow, 2013-2014 will move into 4th place on the all-time snowfall accumulation ranking, and that's without one of those major 10"+ storms blasting our area. By the end of the month, there's a real good chance this season will be #3.

From a business standpoint, the entire year has been awful. It's been the combination of the snow and maybe even worse, the cold. I can live with the snow, but the brutal cold and brutal wind chills make it unbearable to even go outside. Who wants to go out in this kind of weather? And if it's not zero or -10 below, then it's snowing 3, 4, or 5 inches all the time. It has been one thing after another keeping customers away.

And then there's the cherry on top. According to Tom Skilling, 47% of this season's snowfall has fallen on Saturday into Sunday. Now Monday's storm will diminish that number a bit, but there is more snow in the forecast for this weekend. Yippee! As of Monday, we had around 65" of snowfall. With roughly 33" of that falling on the weekend, it has been rough on business. To compare, we had 49" of snow the previous 2 years combined. In our business, during the winter, weekends are everything. The weekdays are not busy often, and most of them were made worse by the bitter polar cold this season. Then the weekends come, it snows, and the weekend is ruined for us, our staff and for the customer who gets stuck inside all week and then forced back indoors come Saturday and Sunday. All of this has just made for the worst winter in our history and the worst Illinois winter in 35 years.

The employees of a restaurant all have an inside speaking lingo. One of our lines comes out when the kitchen, the bar, or the servers gets really, really busy... we might hear someone cry out, "Make it stop!" Well we are yet to hear that this year, and I can't wait to hear it again. It will mean we are really busy!

As far as the snow goes... well for crying out loud, make it stop!

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