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The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

Memorable Thanksgiving Weather

Memorable Thanksgiving Weather

The Portland Gale

One of the worst maritime disasters in New England’s history occurred on the night of November 26, 1898. That evening, approximately 200 passengers boarded the luxurious steamship, the SS Portland, for an overnight trip from Boston to Portland, Maine to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday.

As the Portland prepared to set out to sea, a powerful storm heading up from the south combined with another storm heading from the Great Lakes. The combination produced a “hundred year storm” with hurricane-force winds and a foot of snow. By the time the sun rose the next day the Portland, along with an estimated 150 other ships, lay at the bottom of the sea, resulting in more than 500 fatalities.

The Blizzard Bowl

On Thanksgiving Day 1950, Ohio was buried under a record amount of snow. Nearly the entire state saw 10 inches and some parts got up to 30 inches. Add a 40 mph wind and you can bet everyone was celebrating inside. That is until Saturday when the famous “Blizzard Bowl” was held in Columbus. Ohio State faced Michigan in front of 50,000 fans that braved 35 mph winds and a temperature of only 5 degrees. Michigan won 9-3 on 27 total yards and never even scored a first down.

Baking in Buffalo

Not all of the extreme Thanksgiving weather produced such treacherous conditions. The residents of Buffalo, New York were amazed to see temperatures soar to 68 degrees on Thanksgiving Day in 1896. Quite a change of conditions given that the average temperature to date is 42 degrees.

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If you notice a hole in the upper left-hand corner of your Farmers' Almanac, don't return it to the store! That hole isn't a defect; it's a part of history. Starting with the first edition of the Farmers' Almanac in 1818, readers used to nail holes into the corners to hang it up in their homes, barns, and outhouses (to provide both reading material and toilet paper). In 1910, the Almanac's publishers began pre-drilling holes in the corners to make it even easier for readers to keep all of that invaluable information (and paper) handy.