Hurricane Sandy: Awaiting Nature's Terrible Beauty Again

One of the daunting aspects of Hurricane Sandy, as it approaches the eastern U.S. coast is its monstrous size: Forecasters say they have rarely witnessed a tropical system with such a potential reach. How far a reach? Significant repercussions from Hurricane Sandy are expected to be felt here in Chicago. Yes, Chicago.

A lakeshore flood watch, prompted by the forecast of strong winds from the outer bands of Sandy, is in effect from late Monday night into Wednesday for Chicago and surrounding Cook County and around the southern end of Lake Michigan through Indiana and into southwestern Michigan.

And this is from a storm whose center is expected to come no closer than a few hundred miles from Chicago. The Weather Channel reported Sunday morning that impacts of Sandy will be felt across the entire eastern third of the United States, beyond the Mississippi River, and into Canada.

Already, this massive atmospheric disturbance, currently centered way off in the Atlantic well off the Carolinas, appears to be having a ripple effect in the Midwest. A shield of low, dark clouds have been creeping east to west over Chicago, opposite our normal weather pattern here, with winds already starting to tick up out of the northeast.

This all produced an amazing sunrise this morning over the lake…

Chicago sunrise October 28 2012

Chicago sunrise October 28 2012

…. but already, some pretty spectacular waves are crashing against the seawall outside Belmont Harbor, a few hundred yards from where we live.

Chicago Lake Michigan waves October 28 2012

Chicago Lake Michigan waves October 28 2012

Chicago Lake Michigan waves October 28 2012

As a lifelong weather junkie, I watch major weather events developing with deeply mixed feelings: My fascination about the awesome power of nature tempered by dread about the awful impacts the storm may have on good people with the bad luck to live in its path.

With Hurricane Sandy threatening to hit the eastern U.S. as a history-making autumn super-storm, I have more reason than usual to fear the latter.

Until we moved to Chicago last year, I lived my entire life in the Northeast Corridor (save four years attending college at Michigan State)… born and raised in and around New York City, then a resident of the Washington, D.C., metropolis for 30 years. I have hundreds of relatives and friends and acquaintances who live from New England south to North Carolina, the areas forecast to be most heavily affected by a monstrosity that has been dubbed with an almost mockingly innocuous name. Sandy?

This post is my way of saying that my thoughts and concerns are with them. If you know folks back east, send some good wishes their way, too.

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