Several years ago, the Farmers’ Almanac suggested that we move Thanksgiving up a month and celebrate it in October. The suggestion was based on a few compelling reasons one of which was the weather. Late November weather, in many of areas of the country, often means cold, stormy, snowy conditions.
Here’s a look at a few memorable and historical storms that wreaked havoc on Thanksgiving events and travel:
The Great Appalachian Storm of 1950
November 24 – 30, 1950
This autumn storm started out just before Thanksgiving in 1950 as a seemingly “normal” weather event and turned deadly. The storm brought significant winds and heavy rains east of the Appalachian Mountains and blizzard conditions to the western slopes of the mountain chain. Cleveland, Ohio, and areas of West Virginia received more than 2 feet of snow in three days. The storm also set record cold temperatures in Florida, (24 degrees), Georgia (3 degrees) and other areas.
Chicago’s White Thanksgiving in 1975
Chicago is known for its extreme weather especially cold, wintry conditions, but the Thanksgiving storm of 1975 was one for the record books. The snow started to fall the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and when it ended Thursday morning there was more than 8 inches at Midway Airport. The storm severely impacted holiday travel. In 2004, Chicago also got snow in time for Thanksgiving but this time received about 4.3 inches, which was enough to cause some travel nightmares. According to records, the “Windy City” has only seen 11 white Thanksgivings since 1884.
Denver’s Turkey Day Blizzard 1983
This holiday storm was one of the biggest Thanksgiving storms to ever hit a major city. Twenty inches of snow fell that Thanksgiving holiday which, even though Denver is no stranger to winter weather, caught many people off guard.
New York City’s White Thanksgiving 1989
The parade marched on but a few floats couldn’t withstand the almost four inches of snow that fell on New York City on Thanksgiving Thursday, 1989 (11/23/89). This storm broke records, as it was the first Thanksgiving Day snowstorm since 1938. Snow also fell from Virginia up into New England that Thanksgiving holiday causing some football games to be canceled and tough holiday travel.
Lake Effect “Snowvember” Storm 2014
Residents in parts of western New York got clobbered with a ferocious snowstorm the week before Thanksgiving. The magnitude of it was quite a surprise to many who, while most likely used to large amounts of snowfall in that region, probably weren’t prepared for the 5 feet that fell on Tuesday, November 18, followed by another 2 feet around the eastern Lake Erie and Lake Ontario regions on Thursday, November 20th. While not quite a Thanksgiving storm, it did disrupt travel for those trying to visit relatives for the holiday.
What about this year? Find out what’s in store for Thanksgiving weather here!