One of the most severe storms of the last several decades is whipping through the Midwest today, bringing wind gusts as strong as a tropical storm and spawning tornadoes and torrential rains. Flights have been canceled all over the country, including hundreds at Chicago O'Hare, the nation's busiest airport, and most of North Dakota is under a blizzard warning.
Chicagoans quickly dubbed it the "chiclone" and the "windpocalypse."
All this weather is caused by a Great Lakes cyclone; winds circulate around an area of low pressure as cold air meets warmer air. Meteorologists are saying this could be the second-worst cyclone on record. The low pressure center of the current storm is equivalent to a Category 3 hurricane, although the winds are not nearly as strong.
And all I'm experiencing so far here in Detroit?
About 10 minutes of torrential rain and several tornado-warning related interruptions to Thomas and Friends (and no tornadoes, I should add).
Our local news stations have, quite frankly, lost their minds in over-reporting this thing (I just saw a news reporter Skype in a report from what I am pretty sure is the second floor of a Barnes and Noble). Thanks, local news! Nothing like scaring the bejeebers out of everyone, having everybody cancel plans, and then it's a brief period of rain. Awesome. I have heard it's going to get worse this, so perhaps karma will bite me for writing this, but really. I have been blocks away when a tornado hit, and this? This is not that.
Have you experienced the Great Lakes Cyclone? What's it like where you are?
Image via NASA Goddard Photo and Video/Flickr