On This Date in History: Today is April Fool’s Day. People take advantage of the opportunity to play silly pranks on friends, co-workers and family. Sometimes, big goofs even make it into the media. But how did this nonsense get started. Well, it’s one of those questions that probably has a hundred different answers. One is that it goes back to 1564 when France changed their calendar to the Gregorian calendar. That moved the end of the year from the end of March to the end of December. The idea is that people who ended the year by celebrating the new year on April 1st were the fools who didn’t know the change. One problem with that is that apparently the change didn’t come about in just one year but instead was gradually instituted, which according to The UK Independent, people continuing the celebration on the wrong day seems unlikely, though I’m not sure that I understand the logic of that. Anyway, if you were one of the individuals who celebrated the end of the year during the last week of March, then you were the target of pranks. One popular one was to stick paper fish onto the fool’s back. The day in France became known as Poisson d’Avril, or April Fish. To this day, many in France still refer to April Fools Day as Poisson d’Avril.
The tradition at least dates back to 1708 because a correspondent from the British Apollo magazine “whence proceeds the custom of making April Fools.” Prior to that, Charles Dickens Jr noted that William Shakespeare was a man who “delights in fools in general” yet the great playwright never mentioned April Fools when he wrote in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. The whole idea of the calendar change may be more suitable to the British calendar. Seems that according to one source, it was the Brits and not the French who celebrated the end of the year from March 25 and ending on April 1. March 25 was the Christian Feast of Annunciation. The earliest version of the calendar change theory shows up in the British Gentleman’s Magazine in a column that read:
“The strange custom prevalent throughout this kingdom, of people making fools of one another upon the first of April, arose from the year formerly beginning, as to some purpose, and in some respects, on the twenty-fifth of March, which was supposed to be the incarnation of our Lord; it being customary with the Romans, as well as with us, to hold a festival, attended by an octave, at the commencement of the new year—which festival lasted for eight days, whereof the first and last were the principal; therefore the first of April is the octave of the twenty-fifth of March, and, consequently, the close or ending of the feast, which was both the festival of the Annunciation and the beginning of the new year.“
The trouble with this notion is that the English didn’t change their calendar to a January 1 New Year until 1752 and by that time the tradition was pretty well established. Well, who knows. Here is another list of April Fool’s origin possibilities to go along with the offering from the Independent. I wonder if it really goes back to the tradition of charivari that began in France as a rather rambunctious celebration for a new grrom and bride. Later, it evolved into a form of protest in which the peasants would dress up with masks and outfits that belittled the bourgousie or even royalty. But, I suspect that is closer to the origin of Mardi Gras or Carnival than April Fool’s day.
One of the earliest forms of hoax provided by the media happened in 1957 when a high-brow British magazine show did a “documentary” on Switzerland spaghetti farmers. It was the BBC show Panorama and the serious sounding narrator said, “Many of you, I am sure, have seen pictures of the vast spaghetti plantations in the Po Valley.” The narrator went on to say that there had been a record crop of spaghetti due to “the virtual disappearce of the spaghetti weevil.” Disbelieving viewers flooded the phone lines.
If you want to find a real joke for this April Fool’s Day, read the Congressional Record.
Weather Bottom Line: Tell you what…we have a couple of chances for some furniture moving coming up. The GFS is just going bananas on Thursday afternoon with the verticle profile indecies. It is much more aggressive with the severe weather threat than the NAM, which advertises thunderstorms. The reason is that the GFS has some prettygood veering involved as the shortwave comes right over us. It also appears to be a shade faster than the NAM which puts us closer to the max warming of the day. Then on Sunday, the GFS has a similar solution with even stronger veering on Sunday evening. I would be a bit surprised if either of these situations did not result in some strong activity with at least a few warnings of some kind coming out. My guess is that the Thursday evening event will not be as troublesome as the Sunday evening event.
Now, what is kinda curious is that the SPC is holding off on Sunday as I guess they are waiting for more confirmation. Currently they are looking well to our south but it would not surprise me to see that expanded into the Ohio Valley. Last week
there was a similar scenario and the SPC eventually expanded the region. The SPC for Thursday evening has us on the edge of the slight risk but, again, I suspect that will be revised as data comes in throughout the day on Wednesday and the data becomes more becomes more consistent. I’d just keep all of this in mind as we go through the week…worth at least keeping an eyebrow raised.
DAY 3 CONVECTIVE OUTLOOK
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
0234 AM CDT TUE MAR 31 2009
VALID 021200Z – 031200Z
…THERE IS A SLGT RISK OF SVR TSTMS LOWER MS VALLEY TO PORTIONS OH
VALLEY AND SRN ATLANTIC COAST…
PROGRESSIVE SHORTWAVE PATTERN — THROUGH CENTRAL CONUS LONGWAVE
TROUGH — WILL CONTINUE DAY-3. NW-FLOW SHORTWAVE TROUGH WILL DIG
SEWD ACROSS CENTRAL/SRN ROCKIES AND SRN HIGH PLAINS DAY-2…THEN
PIVOT EWD THIS PERIOD ACROSS ARKLATEX AND LOWER MS VALLEY REGIONS AS
INTENSE/COMPACT SHORTWAVE TROUGH…LIKELY CONTAINING CLOSED 500 MB
LOW. THIS FEATURE SHOULD REACH VICINITY ERN AR/WRN TN BY 3/00Z.
FROM THEN ONWARD…PROGS BEGIN TO SPREAD APART CONSIDERABLY ON
TRACK/AMPLITUDE…WITH SLOWER/SRN NAM SOLUTION TO VICINITY TN/GA
BORDER BY 3/12Z AND SPECTRAL TO WRN OH. GREAT MAJORITY OF SREF
MEMBERS — AS WELL AS ENSEMBLE CONSENSUS…HISTORICAL ANALOG
ALGORITHM AND THIS FORECASTER — FAVORS SPECTRAL SOLUTION OF NEWD
EJECTION ACROSS OH VALLEY OVERNIGHT.
THIS SCENARIO SHOULD RESULT IN DEEP SFC LOW MOVING EWD FROM RED
RIVER VALLEY REGION EARLY IN PERIOD…ACROSS SRN/CENTRAL
AR…BECOMING VERTICALLY STACKED WITH MID-UPPER VORTICITY MAX OVER
OH VALLEY DURING 3/06-3/12Z TIME FRAME. TRAILING COLD FRONT IS FCST
TO SWEEP EWD FROM CENTRAL/E TX ACROSS LOWER MS VALLEY BY
3/00Z…REACHING NEAR COASTAL CAROLINAS AND FL GULF COASTAL BEND BY
END OF PERIOD. RESIDUAL FRONTAL ZONE OVER SERN CONUS…SEE DAY-2
OUTLOOK FOR BACKGROUND…SHOULD BE LIFTING NWD OVER CENTRAL GULF
COAST AND FL PANHANDLE REGION EARLY IN PERIOD AS WARM FRONT.
CONSIDERABLE TIMING UNCERTAINTY EXISTS ON WARM FRONTAL RETREAT
ACROSS FL PANHANDLE AND GA BECAUSE OF LIKELIHOOD THAT THIS FRONTAL
ZONE WILL BE MODULATED/DELAYED BY ONE OR MORE CONVECTIVE COMPLEXES
FROM LATE DAY-2 THROUGH MUCH OF THIS PERIOD. WARM FRONT SHOULD
MOVE/REDEVELOP NEWD TO TIDEWATER REGION OF NC OR VA BY END OF
…MID-SOUTH TO MS DELTA AND AL/GA…
POTENTIAL IS INCREASING FOR SVR OUTBREAK OVER PORTIONS SERN CONUS
THIS PERIOD…INCLUDING TORNADOES AND WIDESPREAD THREAT FOR DAMAGING
GUSTS. ONCE TIMING AND JUXTAPOSITION OF MOST FAVORABLE FOCI WITH
STRONGEST INSTABILITY APPEAR MORE FOCUSED…SOME PORTION OF THIS
AREA COULD BE UPGRADED CATEGORICALLY.
EARLY-PERIOD ELEVATED CONVECTION WITH POTENTIAL FOR HAIL MAY PERSIST
FROM END OF DAY-2 ACROSS PORTIONS AR. ASSOCIATED REGION OF LOW
LEVEL WAA AND INCREASING LOW LEVEL MOISTURE SHOULD SHIFT EWD AND
NEWD ACROSS MID-SOUTH THROUGH DAYTIME HOURS.
POTENTIAL COVERAGE/INTENSITY OF SVR THREAT SHOULD INCREASE
SUBSTANTIALLY DURING DAY FROM SRN AR/ERN LA EWD AT LEAST TO
AL…SPREADING FARTHER E DURING EVENING/OVERNIGHT HOURS. ONSET OF
GREATEST SVR POTENTIAL FROM SRN APPALACHIANS AND GA EWD WILL DEPEND
ON WARM FRONTAL TIMING/MORPHOLOGY…BUT FCST SOUNDINGS SUGGEST
POTENTIAL FOR VERY STG SHEAR AND AT LEAST MRGL BUOYANCY OVERNIGHT E
OF MOUNTAINS TO COASTAL CAROLINAS/VA. EXPECT STG DEEP-LAYER SHEAR
AHEAD OF MID-UPPER WAVE TO OVERSPREAD INCREASINGLY MOIST/BUOYANT
BOUNDARY LAYER AIR FROM MID-DAY ONWARD…SUPPORTING POTENTIAL FOR
BOTH QUASI-LINEAR/MULTI-MODAL SVR EVENT ALONG FRONT AND TORNADIC
SUPERCELLS ALONG AND S OF WARM FRONT. SFC DEWPOINTS MID 60S F
SHOULD BE COMMON S OF WARM FRONT…SUPPORTING MLCAPES AOA 2000 J/KG
IN AREAS OF SUSTAINED INSOLATION…AND MLCAPES 500-1000 J/KG AFTER
DARK AS FAR NE AS TIDEWATER AREA. 50-75 KT EFFECTIVE SHEAR SHOULD
BE COMMON BENEATH BROAD BELT OF STG MID-UPPER LEVEL WINDS THAT WILL
SPREAD WSW-ENE OVER OUTLOOK AREA THROUGH PERIOD.