Proclamation 106: Thanksgiving Day, 1863
~ President of the United States of America
“The year that is drawing towards its close has been filled with blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies … I do therefore invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States … to observe the last Thursday of November as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens.”
~ Abraham Lincoln, Oct. 3, 1863
Of the day of which he speaks, the eloquent words are fitting. My eyes were drawn to the “healthful skies.” A sobering time in history for a president to speak of the year being “filled with blessings;” it was 1863, in the midst of the Civil War. Food and sunlight, the fundamentals of life, were the implied words and reason for President Lincoln to proclaim words of thanksgiving. At a time when the country stood divided, a single day set aside to give thanks was brilliant. And here we are almost 150 years later…
Looking at a U.S. weather map, a huge swath of blue covers much of the country. An intense cold blast of January-like Arctic air has moved southward breaking records in two-thirds of the United States, with 50% of the U.S. covered in snow. The freezing temperatures even reached the Florida Panhandle. In the Great Lakes region, lake effect snowstorms of epic proportion struck all five lakes.
Lancaster, a suburb of Buffalo, New York was the hardest hit; four feet of snow fell within a 24-hour period on Tuesday. A total of six feet was expected before the storm moved on. A state of emergency was declared.
The culprit? Typhoon Nuri, a tropical monster storm, moved north and crashed into a mountain of cold air in the Bering Sea creating a “meteorological explosion” and extreme low pressure. The storm’s strength caused 40-to-50 foot waves to hit the Aleutian Islands. Also, the storm’s intensity plunged the jet stream and cold air farther south into the U.S. While most of the country’s weather was influenced by this deep trough of low pressure, the West Coast basked under clear skies from a sharp ridge of high pressure. By weekend the jet stream retreats north once again.
Without a doubt, the east has white Thanksgiving on its weather-plate. Out west, a real smorgasbord is the fare. We begin with cool and cloudy conditions with a slight chance for rain. By Sunday and into next week gusty Santa Ana winds blow warm and dry conditions into the Crescenta Valley. Thanksgiving Day, daytime in the low 70s and the night into the upper 40s are predicted.
Yes, Abe, we can be thankful for beautiful skies.
Sue Kilpatrick is a
Crescenta Valley resident and
Official Skywarn Spotter for the
National Weather Service. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.