Hi, I'm Dave Thurlow from the Mount Washington Observatory and this is The Weather Notebook. On January 2nd in Chicago, IL, up to two feet of snow fell on the city. The airport was closed for days, along with business and schools. While most people were at home enjoying the winter wonderland, road crews were working around the clock to help keep the streets clear.
Dr. McFarlane: "The weather did play a major role in the overturn from Mayor Michael Bilandic to Jane Byrne///because Mayor Bilandic was seen on TV as saying that the side streets were being plowed while TV was showing in a split screen they were not being plowed, making him look stupid."
Since the roads weren't cleared, residents had to rely on trains to get them around. As if Mayor Bilandic didn't have enough problems, some snowed in city train stations were bypassed by trains, leading to unforeseen racial problems, and a shift in Chicago politics.
Dr. McFarlane: "There were problems of that the public transit was picking up white people from the suburbs at the ends of the line and running trains non-stop downtown, leaving African-Americans standing and waiting at the platforms. And the African-Americans overwhelmingly voted for Jane Burns. The overturn occurred in the Democratic primary in February 1979, which followed one of the worst winters in Chicago history."
Like they say, 'all politics is local'...just like the weather.
Our show's Senior Editor is Jay Allison. Funding for The Weather Notebook comes from Subaru and the National Science Foundation.