What a travel week! My crazy travel this week was impacted by mechanical failures as well as weather, and after traveling every day this week, I was never happier to get home at the end of the week.
But the weather...
I had an overnight trip to Chicago this week, and was on one of the 240 flights that were cancelled out of O'Hare on Tuesday night. Just estimating that each flight might have had 100 people - given small and large planes - 2,400 people grounded at the airport. I was fortunate to have a hotel room at the airport, but walking through on Wednesday AM to catch an early flight out, it looked like scenes from the Weather Channel, with people sleeping everywhere.
Most afternoons in the summer seem to have a threat for thunderstorms. As I travel, I keep my weather apps close on my phone and iPad. I have seen some pretty amazing things (from a distance) before - a tornado that was several hundred miles away on flat Kansas land, while I was flying into Kansas City one day. A winter squall that dropped a foot of snow on my car in April, with nothing more than a notebook to scrape the snow off the windshield.
At first it didn't seem like much was happening. Flights started to delay, and my trusty apps gave me no clue about what was coming. When the flight cancelled, and the next one, I knew something was really wrong. My co-worker and I quickly got up and got in line for a flight the next morning and got hotel rooms. But still didn't really know why, and just assumed bad weather.
We weren't in much hurry at that point, so did some shopping, got something to drink. But walking through the hotel lobby, the storm hit with a fury. Getting to our rooms seemed like a good idea; I was concerned the hotel would lose power and with it, the ability to get into the room. By now, my apps had caught on to the fact that we were having a very severe storm, and threat of tornados.
I tried not to stand by my window to watch, but I have always been fascinated by storms and the fury of nature. It's like trying not to watch a scary movie - I can't put my pillow over my head. As I watched the incredible wind gusts (it was reported at 80 MPH afterward), I saw a wheelchair that was parked outside the airport doors go sailing through the air. It was all over in a few minutes, and the storm roared on to Detroit.
But it does make me think that with our changing environment and crazy storms, we may have to rethink our abilities to just jump on planes to make meetings. We may have to start thinking about the investment into video conferencing, and change some of the ways we do business
Or perhaps just avoid Chicago. :)