Snow Accumulates:This past week both Monday and Wednesday brought snow to parts of the state. A rapidly moving Alberta Clipper deposited 1-3 inches of snowfall in many places on Monday, and then a more moisture-laden system dropped snow across southern Minnesota and northern Iowa on Wednesday, with some amounts over 4 inches. This made travel on Wednesday difficult for many going away for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Some observers reported record-setting snowfall amounts on November 26th. Among these were: 6 inches at St Peter and Amboy, 7 inches at Mapleton, 8 inches at Winnebago, 8.5 inches at Fairmont, and 11 inches at Faribault. As the month of November comes to an end this weekend, a number of observers have received over 15 inches of snowfall for the month and most of the state's landscape rests under a blanket of snow. With all of the snow, temperatures have averaged colder than normal for the month, ranging from 6 to 9 degrees below average. November will be the 6th month of 2014 to record significantly colder than normal temperatures.
Thanksgiving Day, Fasting Day, and Climatology:Historically, Christian people have held Thanksgivings to celebrate and recognize the gifts and mercies of God. This has often taken the form of a harvest festival or a banquet in the fall. Conversely, Fasting Days were often scheduled as a recognition of God's harsh judgements, a way for reconciliation or atonement. These quite often occurred in the spring. But long ago neither of these events were typically observed on
fixed calendar dates. Some would say that they were more related to climate.
When harvests were made bountiful by a blessed rain or abundant sunshine or when fish and game were caught in great numbers by hunters and fishermen, a community might declare a Thanksgiving Day to celebrate these gifts. Alternatively, if the winter was harsh, game was scarce, there was spring flooding, or drought related forest fires, then a community might declare a Fasting Day in an attempt to reconcile with God. Often times this was coincident with the depletion of winter stored food anyway, so there was little to eat. Thus many of these occasions were at least partially dictated by climate and weather variations as they affected agriculture, fish and game, or the hospitality of the local environment.
In early American history, Thanksgiving could be declared independently by a local community, church or colonial government. These were often celebrated on a weekday that was called "Lecture Day", typically a Wednesday or Thursday when a topical sermon was given each week. An annual autumn Thanksgiving was pretty well established in many American colonies by the middle of the 17th century and a feast or banquet built around harvested crops and game became customary. The Continental Congress and early Presidents like Washington and John Adams declared periodic Thanksgivings, often in the month of December. In 1815, President James Madison declared two national Thanksgivings. In 1863, President Lincoln declared a Thanksgiving for the last Thursday of November which became a national holiday of sorts until President Franklin Roosevelt signed a bill in 1941 official making Thanksgiving Day the fourth Thursday of each November. This date which varies from November 22nd to November 28th adheres to the tradition of following the agricultural harvest and hunting seasons, however it also coincides with a highly volatile
climate transition from fall to winter. Thus this holiday in particular is perhaps loaded with more weather-related memories than any other American holiday.
I certainly hope that your Thanksgiving in 2014 is a safe and enjoyable one.
Twin Cities Almanac for November 26th:
MSP Local Records for November 26th:
MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 62 degrees F in 1914; lowest daily maximum temperature of 10 degrees F in 1898; lowest daily minimum temperature of -16 degrees F in 1977; highest daily minimum temperature of 39 degrees F in 1909; record rainfall of 1.76 inches in 1896; and record snowfall of 5.9 inches in 2001. The greatest snow depth on this date was 9 inches in 1983 and 1996. Worst wind chill conditions occurred in 1930 with a value of -30 F.
Average dew point for November 26th is 20 degrees F, with a maximum of 52 degrees F in 1909 and a minimum of -22 degrees F in 1977.