On This Date in History: Thanksgiving has come and gone and Black Friday is in the record books. I”m not sure how the day after Thanksgiving has turned into such a big deal. I suppose that its been coming for some time. Previously, I had outlined the genesis of Thanksgiving and related how President Franklin Roosevelt had once tried to move Turkey Day to a week earlier in an attempt to add an extra week to the holiday shopping season. Sorta a disguised depression era stimulus plan. It didn’t work and the experiment was scrapped after one year. I’m not sure what is taught now, but when I was a kid, we were taught in school about how the Indians hooked up with the Pilgrims near Plymouth Rock to have a big feast in 1621. Today, we sit around stuffing ourselves with Turkey (not the vegetarian Snow White) and watch football games with our eyes closed and belts loosened. Trouble is, the Puritans on the Mayflower didn’t call themselves Pilgrims; they referred to themselves as “Saints” which seems a bit presumptuous considering not too many years down the road they were burning “witches” at the stake. The other thing is that the real first Thanksgiving was on this date in 1620 and it was in Virginia.
The first permanent English settlement in the New World was Jamestown in 1607 in the Virginia Colony and it wasn’t doing too well. The settlers didn’t know what they were doing and the winters were harsh…remember this was during the mini-ice age. Anyway, by the spring of 1610, the colonists were coming off a tough winter and only 60 of the original 409 were left. Sounds like a good time for prayers to me! And that’s what they did and when help arrived in the form of a ship with food and supplies from mother England, they gave thanks with a prayer service. I guess they weren’t a sentamental lot because they never did anything to commemorate the event.
Two other groups came to Virginia. They were supposed to arrive in Virginia but one(the Mayflower) ended up in Plymouth in 1620. The other (the Margaret) made it to Virginia on December 4, 1619 and their charter read “Wee ordaine that the day of our ships arrival…in the land of Virginia shall be yearly and perpetually keept holy as a day of Thanksgiving to Almighty God.” On December 4, 1620 they commemorated their first year in the colony, not with a feast, but instead they did the opposite and fasted as they prayed. Guess we got that part wrong too. The colonists who landed at what they called Berkeley Hundred didn’t get a chance to mark their second anniversary…some were all killed by Indians and the rest retreated to Jamestown. Maybe they were upset that they weren’t invited to the First Thanksgiving.
Weather Bottom Line: We have another pretty good shot at some snow and this time it will probably be more substantial than what we got on Thanksgiving night. The long wave pattern is such that there is a dominant and persistent trof in the Eastern half of the US. The reason why its persistent is because there is a big fat high, or ridge, in the middle of the Atlantic. There is also a big trof on the front side of that ridge. That forms a pattern that looks like the greek letter Omega, which is why its called an Omega Block. Typically, the Omega pattern is one that puts the breaks on progressive change in the long wave pattern; hence the name Omega “block.” So, England has been getting slammed with big time snow along with much of the rest of western Europe. And on this side of the pond, there is the persistent trof with the storm track running from the northern plains throgh the Ohio Valley to the Carolina Mountains. So, we have another strong shortwave zipping down the storm track through the area. We have some moisture to work with too. The heaviest snow will be to the left of the core of that shortwave or “upper low.” It will be impossible to forecast exactly who gets the biggest snow until about 12 hours before its arrival. The ETA advertises some 4-5 inches for our area. The GFS has the track about 50 miles farther east or northeast and so it only has about 1-2 inches. Take your pick. My guess is that both will be true for the area, but not for everyone in the area with folks over toward Frankfort having a better chance of 4 inches than the people in Lanesville, Indiana. After that, the cold air will spill in behind and it will remain chilly for the forseeable future until the Omega Block decides to move.