The weather pattern may get a little interesting here in the next few days. We’ve got some colder air filtering in for Sunday as a low moves to our south…perhaps too far south and east to bring us much precipitation when the air gets cold enough for snow. So, we may see some light showers and perhaps some snow flakes. Right now, it appears we may get some snow activity for Tuesday but the good cold air appears to be slinking down after that and we get another system wandering by that may bring us some accumulating snow. By my estimate at this point it may be around Thursday. Either way, don’t look for anymore 60 degree weather any time soon. Old Man Winter has checked the calendar and I don’t think he liked seeing all of the golfers on the courses earlier this week so its payback time. Actually, if the long range data is close to correct, the latter half of January looks very winter like.
On This Date In History: On this date in 1888, the Midwest of the United States suffered from what is now known as either the “Schoolhouse Blizzard” or the “Schoolchildren’s Blizzard.”
Now, just a few days ago we had stories of the unseasonably warm air in our area. We even had people call chastising us for showing signs of happiness for the conditions and not being all forlorn about the prospects of global warming. The truth is, when we hit 71, we did not set a record. The record was 72 in 1907. So, it had happened before and it happened well before anyone suggests that global warming had started. January warm-ups happen. Some call it a false spring. In the Midwest, January 11, 1888 had been unseasonably warm as had the morning of January 12. A cold front came barrelling down with air that dropped temperatures well below zero with high winds. Some reports of the day say that the mercury fell 100 degrees in 24 hours. Last week we had a 50 degree increase in 5 days.
Anyway, when the mercury fell, the snow began to fall. Most likely a shortwave blew up from the southwest and grabbed all of the warm moist air to the south and threw it over the cold air. People who had gone to work and especially school children had not dressed for the extreme cold as the whole thing was a total surprise. 235 people died that day, many of them school children trying to get home. Hence, the name of the storm. One story holds that a teacher was trapped in her schoolhouse with 3 children and by 3 pm they had run out of heating fuel. She tried to lead them 82 yards to her boarding house. Visibility was so poor that they got lost in the short distance and the 3 kids died. She survived but lost her feet to frostbite. There are many other tales of rescues using rope to tie children together as they tried to get to safety.
Extreme weather changes have gone on in this country in the winter for a long long time….long before anyone thought of global warming. Its just that now we have better forecasts to be able to prepare.
It was a tough winter in 1888. In March, New York City had one of its greatest snowfalls and blizzards. From March 12-14, about 50 inches fell and wind drifted the snow to up to 40 feet. The city came to a standstill.
Weather patterns really haven’t changed all that much, its just that forecasting has gotten so much better. Be thankful for the bus-stop forecast. People get upset if we say “up to an inch of snow” and they only get a quarter inch, which is what we said but it wasn’t an inch. The folks in the Midwest in 1888 would trade that for what they got any day of the week.