On this President’s day, when we are expecting more snow and continued cold, it might be worth remember some of the harsh winters our colonial forefathers endured. I’ve recently gotten several questions about why this has suddenly turned into such a bad winter. Besides explaining the meteorological intricacies of jet streams, ocean temperatures and circulating winds at the top of the planet, my simple answer is this is what weather is and does.
This is certainly an unusual pattern for what’s in the record books or what you and I have experienced in our lifetimes. However, as I have often said, those are brief moments in time.
In the winter of 1740-1741, according to meteorologist and historian David Ludlum, old timers where saying they hadn’t seen any like that winter since 1697-1698. To the roughly 16,000 people living in Boston, it must have been mind boggling when Boston Harbor froze for 30 days. Since the harbor was the major supply route, it could have also be life-threatening. That spring, there was still 30 inches of snow on the ground near Ashburnham, MA on April 10th.
A few years later in the winter of 1747-48, thirty snowstorms would occur from Christmas until April with five and half feet of snow in Portland, Maine and 4 to 5 feet in Cambridge.
In David Ludlam’s book “Early American Winters, 1604 to 1820”, he points out that 28 separate snow storms hit Morristown, New Jersey during the 1779-1780 winter.
In January of 1780, all of the saltwater inlets was reported to have frozen from North Carolina northward and while the troops were stuck in an icy hell in Morristown, New Jersey with General Washington he penned “For a Fortnight past the Troops both Officers and Men, have been almost perishing for want,” George Washington wrote in a letter to civilian officials dated January 8.
This morning was the coldest morning at Logan Airport since January 10th 2004. I am comfortable saying with the wind, this was likely the coldest feeling morning for everyone in a decade or longer.
More Snow Coming
The Great Snow Of 2015 is about to get a bit snowier, but not a major storm. As a low pressure system brings snow and ice to the southern states, it will move northeastward and brush the area with snow tomorrow. Latest indications are the storm stays far enough away to prevent another major storm.
This snow will arrive before and during the morning commute and continue much of the day. The snow will once again be light and fluffy as temperatures remain cold. If the storm moves even further south, we could miss this entirely. If it jogs slightly north, we’d get a bit more.
As the clouds arrive overnight, they will help to keep temperatures from free falling. If it stayed clear all night and winds dropped to calm, 10 to 15 below zero readings would be commonplace. However, the clouds will act as a little blanket and keep readings in the single numbers.
Tomorrow, we are on the northern fringe of a storm passing south and out to sea. We have seen many of these storms bring the most snow to coastal areas and tomorrow’s system could again bring enhanced amounts of snowfall to the coastline. There is a chance the storm moves further south and therefore I will lower amounts if this occurs.
I’ll update the forecast later today here and on Twitter @growingwisdom as new information becomes available.
I certainly don’t expect this is the type of storm to close down Logan Airport, but there will be delays and cancellations. Airlines have become very skittish about having planes at airports during even small snow events.
The snow will stop between 4PM and 8PM west to east, lingering longest over Cape Cod and Cape Ann.
Wednesday is an interesting day meteorologically. There might be a small scale snow event right along the coast caused by something known as a norlun trough. These things are horrible to predict. I remember a few years ago seeing 6 to 12 inches forecast because of a predicted norlun setup and not a flake fell. I wrote about this a couple of years ago. You can click here to learn more about these set-ups. After more model data Tuesday we’ll have a better idea of we see more snow the next day.
If want to go skiing and dress for the cold, Thursday and Friday will be great days for winter activities. Lots of sunshine along with light winds. Another storm will approach the area for later in the weekend after a sunny start to Saturday. This system has the potential to bring another significant snowfall.
Image Credit: Washington Association Of New Jersey
While it may feel like we’ve all been on a forced march through a snow globe the past three weeks, on this Presidents Day, I think we are fortunate to be able to honor our leaders who helped build this great country and remember our first President persevered through some very harsh winters.