WBEZ | weather http://www.wbez.org/tags/weather Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Morning Shift: August 3, 2015 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-03/morning-shift-august-3-2015-112546 <p><p>We are nearing the end of the dog days of summer; kids will be heading back to school soon, the number of us on vacations will dwindle and the outdoor music festivals will be fewer. In the meantime, camp goes on...and it&rsquo;s not just for kids anymore. We talk to a counselor at a summer camp for adults. It&rsquo;s part of a larger trend of creating the kind of fun for adults that we used to have as kids. We also take a look at Chicago&rsquo;s booming hotel business and how long it will continue. Did Lollapalooza this weekend bring trigger an uptake in bookings? Plus, chances are your doctor is NOT an African American male. According to a report released Monday, the number of black men entering the medical profession is now lower than it was in 1978, which was a high point. We talk about why that is and what needs to be done to bring up that number.</p></p> Mon, 03 Aug 2015 11:17:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-03/morning-shift-august-3-2015-112546 Sunday night storms caused damage, power outages http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-03/sunday-night-storms-caused-damage-power-outages-112545 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/photo (4).JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Severe storms swept through the Chicago region yesterday. As lightening and heavy rains came, officials evacuated festival goers at Lollapalooza late afternoon. Everyone eventually filed in to catch acts like TV and the Radio and Florence and the Machine but weather won out in the end as the festival ended early. &ldquo;As we stated early today, our first priority is always the safety of our fans, staff and artists,&rdquo; Sandee Fenton, director of publicity for C3 Presents, the promoter behind Lollapalooza, said in a statement. ComEd says more than 17,00 people are without power Monday morning, down from a peak of 95,000. The City&rsquo;s Streets and Sanitation department says they have at least 730 reports of downed trees and expect more as people get out in the morning. Work is focusing on clearing streets for emergency vehicles. They are adding extra crews for the day, including garbage trucks to picked up smaller branches and debris. Northwest suburban Grayslake was hit hard Sunday night. We speak with Fire Chief John Christian about the damage.</p></p> Mon, 03 Aug 2015 11:13:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-03/sunday-night-storms-caused-damage-power-outages-112545 One dead, thousands without power after storms http://www.wbez.org/news/one-dead-thousands-without-power-after-storms-112537 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/lolla_evac.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Severe storms around Chicago Sunday left one person dead and thousands without power.</p><p>A man was killed and more than a dozen injured in Wood Dale when a tent where people had sought shelter during a brief storm blew off its moorings and collapsed on some of the crowd at a festival.</p><p>Mike Rivas, Wood Dale deputy police chief, said three people were seriously injured. Fifteen people were transported to hospital and others slightly injured were treated at the scene and released, Wood Dale police said in a statement posted on Facebook.</p><p>The fatality was identified as Wood Dale resident Steven Nincic, 35.</p><p>The incident happened at midafternoon when a sudden storm brought high winds, hail and rain to the annual Prairie Fest, Rivas said.</p><p>&quot;People sought shelter under the tent and then it hit,&quot; he said of the storm.</p><p>The tent was ripped from its moorings and fell on some people, said Craig Celia, a spokesman for Wood Dale, which is about 25 miles northwest of&nbsp;Chicago. The remainder of the festival&#39;s final day was canceled, he said.</p><p>The&nbsp;Chicago&nbsp;area was hit by two waves of storms on Sunday that brought high winds, rain and hail.</p><p>A spokesperson for ComEd said around 17,900 people were without power Monday morning, down from a peak of 95,000. The Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation received 730 reports of downed trees, and will be adding extra crews to pick up smaller branches and debris.</p><p>The popular Lollapalooza music festival in&nbsp;Chicago&#39;s&nbsp;Grant Park briefly shut down Sunday afternoon due to the weather, then resumed less than an hour later. Organizers ended the final day of the festival 30 minutes early Sunday night when another storm hit the area. Some 89,000 fans safely exited the grounds after the weather alert, the festival promoter said.</p><p>Sandee Fenton is director of publicity for C3 Presents, Lollapalooza&#39;s promoter. She says they&#39;re &quot;disappointed to end the festivities early,&quot; but &quot;safety always comes first.&quot;</p></p> Mon, 03 Aug 2015 08:45:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/one-dead-thousands-without-power-after-storms-112537 Coal City: One month later http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-07-23/coal-city-one-month-later-112463 <p><p>The weather this week has been pretty calm, but we have had a summer of powerful storms and some of them led to more dangerous weather last month. Nine tornadoes tore through parts of Illinois, including two that touched down in the western town of Coal City. There were no reports of serious injury, but homes and property sustained major damage. WBEZ&rsquo;s Yolanda Perdomo was in Coal City the morning after the tornadoes to talk to residents about how they planned to rebuild. She went back one month later to see where relief efforts stand. She joins us to share some of those residents&rsquo; stories.&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/IMG_8887_web.jpg" style="height: 465px; width: 620px;" title="National Relief Network volunteers take out remnants of a swimming pool in Coal City (WBEZ/Yolanda Perdomo)" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/IMG_8813_web.jpg" style="height: 465px; width: 620px;" title="Ed Essary stands in the space where his home of 39 years once sat (WBEZ/Yolanda Perdomo)" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/IMG_8858_web.jpg" style="width: 465px; height: 620px;" title="Charles Lloyd is keeping busy as a scraper in Coal City (WBEZ/Yolanda Perdomo)" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/IMG_8789_web.jpg" style="height: 465px; width: 620px;" title="Residents say it’ll take a while before life returns to normal in Coal City (WBEZ/Yolanda Perdomo)" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/IMG_8880_web.jpg" style="height: 465px; width: 620px;" title="Many residents say they’ll miss the big, lush trees gone from Coal City (WBEZ/Yolanda Perdomo)" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div></div></div></div></div></div><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/IMG_8829_web.jpg" style="height: 465px; width: 620px;" title="There were no deaths as a result of the severe weather. Several people were taken to hospitals for injuries. (WBEZ/Yolanda Perdomo)" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/IMG_8826_web.jpg" style="height: 465px; width: 620px;" title="According to the village of Coal City, it’s up to residents to pay for and clean up debris from the storm (WBEZ/Yolanda Perdomo)" /></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 23 Jul 2015 12:07:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-07-23/coal-city-one-month-later-112463 Could Chicago be in for a long hot summer? http://www.wbez.org/news/could-chicago-be-long-hot-summer-112238 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/corn crops.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><a href="https://climateillinois.wordpress.com/2015/06/22/so-far-fifth-wettest-june-on-record-for-illinois/">Near record rainfalls</a> in parts of Illinois this June have set the stage for what could be many muggy nights ahead, in part because of the type of crops we grow in the state.</p><p>David Changnon, a professor of meteorology at Northern Illinois University, <a href="http://www.niu.edu/geog/directory/dave_changnon_research.shtml#2004a">studies how dense Illinois corn and soybean crops can raise dew point temperatures</a>. He worries what might happen if the moisture from these crops, coupled with evaporation from this year&rsquo;s wet soil, meets high summer temperatures this year. &nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;We could have incredible amounts of <a href="http://water.usgs.gov/edu/watercycleevapotranspiration.html">evapotranspiration</a>,&rdquo; Changnon said. &ldquo;Not just evaporation of water from the soil at the surface but our corn and soybean plants will begin to transpire a great deal of water into the lower atmosphere. In those situations it prevents the air temperature from dropping below that dew point, which limits how much cooling you can have at night.&rdquo;</p><p>In his 2004 paper on this subject, Changnon noted that the greatest increases in extreme daily dew point temperatures occurred in the Midwest in the second half of the last century. This period coincided with a doubling of corn and soybean crops in the area. In the years since, local cultivation of these crops has only increased.</p><p>And according to Changnon, these factors could combine with hot temperatures to reduce the number of Midwest summer days that fade into cool nights. &nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;So now you have not only hot muggy days, but you also have warm muggy evenings, which makes it very difficult if you don&rsquo;t have air conditioning to sleep and get around,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Chagnon notes that high temperatures and record high dew points also prevailed during Chicago&rsquo;s steamy summer of 1999 and deadly summer of 1995 when more than 700 died in the heat.</p><p>&ldquo;In both of those summers we had big heat waves in July &lsquo;95 and the end of July &lsquo;99 where temperatures in the Chicagoland area got close to 100 degrees if not exceeded them for a couple of days,&rdquo; Chagnon said. &ldquo;On those days we had dew points in the upper 70s, and we even set an all-time record at Midway of a dew point of 83 degrees.</p><p>&ldquo;It was those dew points that limited the ability for the atmosphere to cool down at night and that&rsquo;s what really caused the problem for most people who don&rsquo;t have air conditioning systems in their homes or apartments, especially for the elderly,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Still, Changnon notes that we also had heavy June rainfall in 2014.</p><p>&ldquo;Luckily it was accompanied by fairly cool temperatures, so it wasn&rsquo;t that much of a problem,&rdquo; he said.</p><p><em>Monica Eng is a WBEZ producer and co-host of the Chewing The Fat podcast. Follow her at&nbsp;</em><a href="https://twitter.com/monicaeng"><em>@monicaeng</em></a> <em>or write to her at meng@wbez.org</em></p></p> Wed, 24 Jun 2015 07:57:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/could-chicago-be-long-hot-summer-112238 Two dead, homes destroyed in tiny Illinois town after tornado http://www.wbez.org/news/two-dead-homes-destroyed-tiny-illinois-town-after-tornado-111856 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/tornado_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>Updated&nbsp;</em><em>April 10,&nbsp;</em><em>1:57 p.m.</em></p><p>FAIRDALE, Ill. &mdash; A second woman from a tiny Illinois farming community has died, Gov. Bruce Rauner confirmed Friday, a day after tornadoes struck a six-county swath of the state, injuring about a dozen other people and sweeping homes off their foundations.</p><p>Crews embarked on detailed searches for missing residents Friday after at least one tornado brought chaos to Fairdale, a town of 150 people, around 7 p.m. the night before.</p><p>Residents reported the skies blackening and windows exploding as the severe weather struck. Crews combed through each structure twice into the evening hours and searched again by equipment and by hand Friday morning. The second person killed had initially been reported missing and her body was found Friday morning, Rauner said. Most other injuries were minor.</p><p>&quot;We hope and pray that that is all the fatalities,&quot; Rauner said. &quot;We are very blessed that more people were not hurt. This was a devastating storm.&quot;</p><p>The two people killed were identified as Jacklyn K. Klosa, 69, and Geraldine M. Schultz, 67.</p><p>About 15 to 20 homes were destroyed in Fairdale, according to DeKalb County Sheriff Roger A. Scott. Matthew Knott, division chief for the Rockford Fire Department, told The Associated Press that just about every building in the town about 80 miles from Chicago &quot;sustained damage of some sort.&quot;</p><p>All homes were evacuated as a safety precaution and power was out across the area. The Red Cross and Salvation Army established a shelter at a local high school.</p><p>Trees, power lines and debris lay strewn on the ground. Some homes in the rural farming village were barely standing and many had shifted from their foundations. Roofs were missing. Metal siding from barns was wrapped around trees.</p><p>Residents gathered at a roadblock a mile from town Friday morning, eager to check the damage to their homes. Police, though, refused entry, saying it was too dangerous.</p><p>Resident Al Zammuto, a 60-year-old machinist, said he and other residents received cellphone alerts at 6:45 p.m., but he dismissed it as previous warnings hadn&#39;t amounted to anything.</p><p>Then his windows exploded.</p><p>He took cover as the severe weather struck. Bricks were torn off the side of his home. Minutes later he stepped outside and couldn&#39;t believe his eyes. He said the town looked trashed &quot;looked like a landfill&quot; and the sounds were haunting.</p><p>&quot;People were screaming and yelling,&quot; he said. &quot;People were in total shock.&quot;</p><p>National Weather Service meteorologist Matt Friedlein said at least two tornadoes swept through six north-central Illinois counties, and that damage survey teams would visit the area to determine how long they stayed on the ground, their strength and the extent of the damage.</p><p>After raking Illinois, Thursday&#39;s storm and cold front headed northeast, dumping snow in Michigan&#39;s Upper Peninsula and sweeping across the Ohio Valley overnight, Friedlein said. The system was headed into the Appalachian region Friday with the potential for severe thunderstorms but &quot;not anywhere near the threat&quot; that it packed in the Midwest, he said.</p><p>Roughly 30 homes were damaged or destroyed in Ogle County, adjacent to DeKalb, Sheriff Brian VanVickle said, adding no deaths or significant injuries were reported there. He said 12 people had been trapped in the storm cellar beneath a restaurant that collapsed in the storm in Rochelle, about 20 miles southwest of Fairdale.</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/didkQXhjeVQ" width="560"></iframe></p><p>One of those rescued from the Grubsteakers restaurant, Raymond Kramer, 81, told Chicago&#39;s WLS-TV they were trapped for 90 minutes before emergency crews were able to rescue them, unscathed.</p><p>&quot;No sooner did we get down there, when it hit the building and laid a whole metal wall on top of the doors where we went into the storm cellar,&quot; Kramer said. &quot;When the tornado hit, we all got a dust bath. Everyone in there got shattered with dust and debris falling out of the rafters.&quot;</p></p> Fri, 10 Apr 2015 08:26:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/two-dead-homes-destroyed-tiny-illinois-town-after-tornado-111856 Zombie barge sinking in storm at Navy Pier http://www.wbez.org/news/zombie-barge-sinking-storm-navy-pier-111036 <p><blockquote class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-version="3" style=" background:#FFF; border:0; border-radius:3px; box-shadow:0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width:658px; padding:0; width:99.375%; width:-webkit-calc(100% - 2px); width:calc(100% - 2px);"><div style="padding:8px;"><div style=" background:#F8F8F8; line-height:0; margin-top:40px; padding:50% 0; text-align:center; width:100%;"><div style=" background:url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAACwAAAAsCAMAAAApWqozAAAAGFBMVEUiIiI9PT0eHh4gIB4hIBkcHBwcHBwcHBydr+JQAAAACHRSTlMABA4YHyQsM5jtaMwAAADfSURBVDjL7ZVBEgMhCAQBAf//42xcNbpAqakcM0ftUmFAAIBE81IqBJdS3lS6zs3bIpB9WED3YYXFPmHRfT8sgyrCP1x8uEUxLMzNWElFOYCV6mHWWwMzdPEKHlhLw7NWJqkHc4uIZphavDzA2JPzUDsBZziNae2S6owH8xPmX8G7zzgKEOPUoYHvGz1TBCxMkd3kwNVbU0gKHkx+iZILf77IofhrY1nYFnB/lQPb79drWOyJVa/DAvg9B/rLB4cC+Nqgdz/TvBbBnr6GBReqn/nRmDgaQEej7WhonozjF+Y2I/fZou/qAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC); display:block; height:44px; margin:0 auto -44px; position:relative; top:-22px; width:44px;">&nbsp;</div></div><p style=" margin:8px 0 0 0; padding:0 4px;"><a href="https://instagram.com/p/u1U7h1rTxK/" style=" color:#000; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none; word-wrap:break-word;" target="_top">The remains of the zombie barge @NavyPier. #happyhalloween</a></p><p style="font-family:Arial,sans-serif;color:#c9c8cd; font-size:14px; line-height:17px; margin-bottom:0; margin-top:8px; overflow:hidden; padding:8px 0 7px; text-align:center; text-overflow:ellipsis; white-space:nowrap;">A video posted by Niala Boodhoo (@nialab)&nbsp;on</p><time datetime="2014-10-31T22:13:47+00:00" style=" font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px;">Oct 10, 2014 at 3:13pm PDT</time></div></blockquote><script async defer src="//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js"></script><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/chris%20barge.PNG" style="height: 541px; width: 620px;" title="(WBEZ/Chris Hagan)" /></div><p>Footage of the Halloween zombie barge sinking at Navy Pier during a storm on Oct. 31. It&#39;s wild out there! But the Fire Department is on scene and at last check no injuries were reported.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/untitled-503.jpg" style="height: 414px; width: 620px;" title="(WBEZ/Shawn Allee)" /></div><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/untitled-517.jpg" style="height: 414px; width: 620px;" title="(WBEZ/Shawn Allee)" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div></p> Fri, 31 Oct 2014 16:39:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/zombie-barge-sinking-storm-navy-pier-111036 Gone Fishing: Harsh winter brings lake temps down, but not for long http://www.wbez.org/news/gone-fishing-harsh-winter-brings-lake-temps-down-not-long-110690 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Phil%20Willink%201.jpg" style="float: right; height: 400px; width: 300px;" title="Philip Willink of Shedd Aquarium (WBEZ/Lauren Chooljian)" /><a href="http://www.sheddaquarium.org/Conservation--Research/Conservation-Research-Experts/Dr-Phillip-Willink/" target="_blank">Dr. Philip Willink</a> stands at the shore of Chicago&rsquo;s 63rd Street Beach, looking out on to Lake Michigan.</p><p>&ldquo;So what do you see when you look at the lake?&rdquo;</p><p>He asks this question of anyone who joins him on his frequent trips to the shore. Willink is a senior research biologist at the Shedd Aquarium, and so he often visits the shoreline to check on the health of the lake.</p><p>&ldquo;Something I like to do is whenever I go out, I try to do as many things at once: monitoring invasive species, looking for endangered species and just sort of assessing the community on the Chicago Lakefront,&rdquo; Willink said.</p><p>And from the surface, it&rsquo;s impossible to see it all. According to Willink, at any given spot, there could be tens of thousands of fish swimming around: A little-known fact for many local swimmers. Another example: Willink said there are likely quadrillions of invasive zebra mussels and quagga mussels in Lake Michigan.</p><p>You can hear their dead shells crunch as you walk along the shore.</p><p>This year, Willink said, he&rsquo;s stumbled on a few species that he isn&rsquo;t as used to seeing, like Coho salmon, perch and bloaters&mdash;all fish that favor cooler, deeper waters.</p><p>&ldquo;When the bloater showed up it was like &lsquo;oh, okay, something&#39;s really going on,&rsquo; because I think in the past 10 years, I&rsquo;ve only caught one other bloater in a net,&rdquo; Willink said. &ldquo;So catching a half-dozen of them really meant that something different was going on.&rdquo;</p><p>On average, temperatures in Lake Michigan this summer have been much cooler than normal. According to data from the <a href="http://coastwatch.glerl.noaa.gov/webdata/cwops/html/statistic/statistic.html%20" target="_blank">National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration</a>, surface temperatures have been about 2.75 degrees Celsius below average. The managers of this data believe that&rsquo;s likely because of all the ice cover that came along last winter. The Great Lakes were at least 90 percent ice covered last winter, and that hasn&rsquo;t happened since 1994.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/avgtemps-m_1992-2013.gif" title="" /></div><p>Willink said all that cooler water encouraged fish that usually stay deep, deep down in the lake to swim up to the surface.</p><p>&ldquo;Everybody thought it was a harsh winter, and we&rsquo;d have fewer fish. I&rsquo;ve actually found more this year,&rdquo; Willink said. &ldquo;It may very well be that Great Lakes fish like harsh winters, because after all, that was a much more typical winter.</p><p>But some other fishermen aren&rsquo;t so sure of that connection.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/cpt%20rick%204.jpg" style="height: 400px; width: 300px; float: left;" title="Captain Rick Bentley, owner of Windy City Salmon Fishing Charters. (WBEZ/Lauren Chooljian)" />Captain Rick Bentley is the owner of <a href="http://www.windycitysalmon.com/" target="_blank">Windy City Salmon Fishing Charters</a>. He takes groups fishing off Waukegan Harbor in Lake Michigan, so thriving fish make for better business. And he said this spring, the Coho salmon fishing was the best he&rsquo;s ever seen.</p><p>&ldquo;It was excellent. A lot of times in April, we&rsquo;re waiting for Coho to get here. They typically mass up in schools on the way extreme south end of the lake,&rdquo; Bentley said. &ldquo;But we had them right at the beginning of April when we started fishing.&rdquo;</p><p>Bentley said he remembers all the ice cover. It covered the harbor until April 10th, which he said is unusual. But he&rsquo;s not convinced the two things are related.</p><p>&ldquo;You need to have several of those winters in a row, and we really haven&rsquo;t had a winter like that in a while,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;So whether it was due to the winter, we&rsquo;ll have to see about that.&rdquo;</p><p>According to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.lsa.umich.edu/pite/people/facultyassociates/ci.gadenmarc_ci.detail" target="_blank">Marc Gaden</a> of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, Captain Rick Bentley may not get the chance to make that assessment. Gaden worked on this year&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.globalchange.gov/what-we-do/assessment" target="_blank">national climate change report</a> and he said all the research points in the opposite direction of the thermometer.</p><p>&ldquo;The downward trend is quite unmistakable since the 1970s. And so we&rsquo;ll see fewer and fewer winters where we&rsquo;ll have that significant amount of ice cover in the Great Lakes basin, that&rsquo;s clear from the trends. And the models of climate change scenarios suggest that&rsquo;s not going to change,&rdquo; Gaden said.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/m2013_2014_ice.gif" title="" /></div><p>And in the decades to come, Gaden said that could, among many other things, make the lakes &ldquo;quite an inviting place to some of the invasive species that we&rsquo;re very concerned about like Asian Carp.&rdquo; According to Gaden, that warmer water could also lead to an expansion of species like sea lamprey, quagga and zebra mussels that are already in the lake.</p><p>Back at 63rd Street Beach, Willink said on the one hand, sometimes people tend to forget that the Great Lakes are always changing and they always have been: Fish, animals and plants have survived both warm and cold years before. And, he adds, it is hard to really know how one pattern will affect the ecosystem long term.</p><p>But since this has been an unprecedented rate of change, how the fish will respond is an open question.</p><p><em>Lauren Chooljian is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her at <a href="https://twitter.com/laurenchooljian">@laurenchooljian</a></em></p></p> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 14:02:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/gone-fishing-harsh-winter-brings-lake-temps-down-not-long-110690 Milwaukee finds a fix for stormwater overflows: Abandoned basements http://www.wbez.org/news/milwaukee-finds-fix-stormwater-overflows-abandoned-basements-110637 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/25164521_h11462610_wide-96a506c19aab1b1bce42266f9b315642cd20cf26-s40-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Some basement flooding could become happy occurrences, if more cities walk in the watery footsteps of Milwaukee.</p><p>As part of a new citywide sustainability plan and <a href="http://www.refreshmke.com/" target="_blank">an attempt to reinvent itself as a &quot;fresh coast&quot; capital</a>, Milwaukee is upgrading its water systems, and is researching options for tackling its chronic problems with stormwater management.</p><p>The city recently released a feasibility study <a href="http://city.milwaukee.gov/ImageLibrary/Groups/In-the-News/BaseTernFEASIBILITYSTUDY3.pdf" target="_blank">that examines turning vacant basements into cisterns</a>, preventing the untreated runoff from reaching the local rivers or Lake Michigan. The idea is the brainchild of Erick Shambarger, the deputy director of the city&#39;s Office of Environmental Sustainability.</p><p>After Milwaukee experienced major storms and subsequent flooding in 2008, 2009 and <a href="http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/99893489.html" target="_blank">2010</a>, the city put together a Flooding Study Task Force, which included Shambarger.</p><p>A frequent topic of discussion was how to keep water out of people&#39;s basements. Milwaukee has a combined sewer system that collects both domestic waste and rainwater runoff, so when street flooding would overwhelm the sewer system, water and sewage would back up through the floor drains in people&#39;s basements.</p><p>While looking at a map of where the basement flooding was worst, Shambarger noticed that the location overlaps with the center of the city&#39;s foreclosure crisis. Hundreds of these foreclosed houses cannot be economically salvaged and are being razed by the city. Cue Shambarger&#39;s light bulb.</p><p>&quot;If we are going to demolish the house anyway and there&#39;s going to be a vacant lot there, why not keep the basement portion of it?&quot; he says. &quot;Let&#39;s get water into those basements, and in the process keep other basements dry. We are making good use of a hole in the ground that somebody put there for us.&quot;</p><p>Shambarger and his team called the idea a &quot;BaseTern&quot; and trademarked the name on behalf of the city. Curtis Hulterstrum, the senior water resource engineer at HNTB Corp., examined multiple options for how the basements could be converted and the way BaseTerns would manage stormwater. Essentially, the basements will be used to immediately take the pressure off the sewage system by diverting and holding street and roof water &quot;runoff&quot; until the storm is over.</p><p>Water would flow into the structure, which would be covered with turf grass, via drains on top of the basement. It could flow out of the basement into the sewer system via the standard floor drain, or by adding multiple holes in the basement floor to allow some water to sink into the ground safely, or a combination of the two routes.</p><p>Kevin Patrick, a lawyer specializing in water issues, finds it &quot;highly doubtful&quot; that stormwater could be controlled in this manner, particularly in a way that is more economical than traditional stormwater solutions. But Hulterstrum says that it all depends on how you configure the outlet pipes, adding that costs will vary depending on the complexity of the BaseTern.</p><p>Shambarger says Milwaukee will begin measuring the idea&#39;s value by building a pilot BaseTern, hopefully by next summer, the city&#39;s rainy season. If Milwaukee finds success in the BaseTerns, it would be a big step up in <a href="http://www.jsonline.com/business/efforts-to-brand-milwaukee-as-water-technology-hub-reach-milestone-b9990504z1-222814861.html" target="_blank">the city&#39;s initiative to become a water technology hub</a>.</p><p>The Fund for Lake Michigan paid for the feasibility study, and executive director Vicki Elkin says she&#39;d be open to considering funding the pilot program as well. She says she hopes to learn not only how well the idea works, but whether it can be replicated in other areas of the city.</p><p>&quot;What I&#39;m hearing from engineers is that it&#39;s really place-dependent,&quot; she says.</p><p>David Waggonner, a water expert in New Orleans, says the idea sounds like a &quot;worthy experiment.&quot; He adds, &quot;I hope that it&#39;s a scale that will be replicable.&quot; Hulterstrum and Shambarger say the city has been getting a lot of interest surrounding the project, especially from other cities in the Great Lakes region.</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/2014/08/12/339633247/milwaukee-finds-a-fix-for-stormwater-overflows-abandoned-basements" target="_blank"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Tue, 12 Aug 2014 15:09:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/milwaukee-finds-fix-stormwater-overflows-abandoned-basements-110637 Are Chicagoans the toughest big city dwellers in the nation? http://www.wbez.org/news/are-chicagoans-toughest-big-city-dwellers-nation-109816 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/EXTREME WEATHER.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>During this season of multiple polar vortices, we Chicagoans have been told more than once to suck it up. My Canadian and Minnesotan colleagues claim this is &ldquo;no big deal&rdquo; where they come from.</p><p>&ldquo;Welcome to my winter,&rdquo; they scoff, pulling on industrial-sized parkas and marching into the snow.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>I silently endured their scoffing while secretly plotting to prove that we native Chicagoans are not weather wimps at all -- but just the opposite. It&#39;s my contention that while we may not embrace the Inuit lifestyles, Chicagoans have to work and live through more weather extremes than probably anybody.</p><p>And we have the potholes to prove it.</p><p>After surviving this wretched winter, for example, we may face summer temps that exceed 100 degrees for days in a row.</p><p>Certainly, we must get the worst of it on both ends, making us the toughest people in the nation. Right? Probably.</p><p>This would require some reporting.</p><p>Barbara Mayes Bousted, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Omaha, Neb., recently created the <a href="https://ams.confex.com/ams/93Annual/webprogram/Paper218513.html" target="_blank">Accumulated Winter Season Severity Index</a>. Using factors such as temperature and precipitation, it basically measures how miserable winter has been for communities across the country this year and beyond.</p><p>Unfortunately, it is not exactly what is needed, because I am looking for misery on both ends of the temperature spectrum.<br /><br />&ldquo;That&rsquo;s an interesting puzzle to piece together, to figure out the range of extremes all the way from the heat to the cold,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;But the index that I&rsquo;m using doesn&rsquo;t account for how far we go to the other end, the warm side.&rdquo;</p><p>She and colleagues pointed to everyone from scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to scholars to WGN meteorologist Tom Skilling. All were super nice, but none could answer this question of overall toughness.&nbsp;</p><p>Just when the search seemed like it hit a dead end, I stumbled on<a href="http://www.city-data.com/top2/toplists2.html"> Citydata.com.</a> It cranks out all sorts of Top 101 city lists by crunching statistics in a variety of categories. These include lowest average temperature, highest average snowfall, coldest winters and -- YES! -- largest annual temperature differences in cities with populations above 50,000.</p><p>Certainly, Chicago would top this this, right?</p><p>Well, not on the face of it.<br /><br />The list led with Grand Forks in North Dakota, followed by a bunch of towns in that state, Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin. Then finally Illinois, whose most extreme weather town (with over 50,000 people) is Rockford (No. 41), followed by Hoffman Estates (No. 43). Chicago didn&rsquo;t show up til No. 66.</p><p>Why is Hoffman Estates, in the northwest suburbs, so much colder than Chicago? That&rsquo;s a story for another day.</p><p>I decided that this list was crowded up with too many small towns. The target was metropolitan cities whose residents have to venture miles to work or school each day -- no matter what cruel joke Mother Nature served up.</p><p>So I narrowed it to cities with more than 250,000 residents. On this list, Chicago soars to sixth place. Only Minneapolis and its twin city St. Paul, Omaha, Milwaukee, and Kansas City beat us in temperature differences in an average year.</p><p>But how much time do these other urbanites really expose themselves to frosty or broiling transit platforms or street corners to get where they need to go each day?</p><p>The data on public transportation usage showed that only pesky Minneapolis bested us here. It seems that 14.4 percent of them take the bus or trolley to work, while we check in at 13 percent.&nbsp;</p><p>But when we added in the share of people who take the subway or elevated train to work each day, Chicago (at 9.7 percent) pulled ahead.</p><p>It is true that Minneapolis doesn&#39;t really have a subway or el system to help them on that list. &nbsp;But I think we win fair and square.</p><p>Still, some folks from the Twin Cities disagree.</p><p>To Lynette Kalsnes, my fellow WBEZ producer, our winters hardly compare to the those of her Twin Cities youth. &ldquo;I laugh at the very idea,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;I&rsquo;ve been in Chicago for 12 or 13 years and this is the first winter that has approximated anything like Minnesota.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p>Still, she acknowledges that our summers are&nbsp; pretty brutal, even though folks in Minneapolis also get hit with high temperatures, copious mosquitoes, and humidity.</p><p>But how can they say they&rsquo;re tough when they have those skyways between buildings.</p><p>&ldquo;You&rsquo;re only using that if you work in downtown Minneapolis to get from your job to get your lunch,&rdquo; Kalsnes parried. &ldquo;But you&rsquo;re outside the rest of the time. It&rsquo;s not like the whole state is a pedestrian mall.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p>It&rsquo;s clear that these arguments could go on forever. But as one colleague pointed out, it is a little weird that we would engage in a debate over whose city serves up the most misery.</p><p>And yes, you could look at it that way. Or you could say that these debates really reflect how much we must love our cities in order to endure such extremes.</p><p>You could also say that these extremes make us all the more grateful for good weather.&nbsp;</p><p>As Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges said, &ldquo;I think that no one appreciates a perfect, beautiful, summer, spring, fall, or even winter day more than a Minnesotan.&rdquo;</p><p>Well, we could offer a debate on that, but I think we should &nbsp;just call it a draw. That is because, even though Chicagoans are tough, we&rsquo;re also a very generous people.&nbsp;</p><p><em>Monica Eng is a WBEZ producer and co-host of the&nbsp;</em><em><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/content/chewing-fat-podcast-louisa-chu-and-monica-eng">Chewing the Fat</a></strong></em><em> podcast. Follow her at&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/monicaeng">@monicaeng</a> or write to her at&nbsp;</em><em><a href="mailto:meng@wbez.org">meng@wbez.org</a></em></p></p> Wed, 05 Mar 2014 16:11:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/are-chicagoans-toughest-big-city-dwellers-nation-109816