Saturday, December 24, 2011

If you just believe...

‎2:50 PM EST 12/25/11 | "Yes Virginia", there will be snow this winter, for we know your dreams are calling. The atmosphere is working to get everything we need so that someday soon, we all will see "children sleeping, snow is softly falling." 


On behalf of the entire Foot's Forecast Team, our warmest wishes for all our readers on this important day. Though the history of Christmas has a variety of meanings for different cultures, we can still bid to all that the gift of this day will be a safe and productive New Year, and may the bell still ring for all those who truly believe.

"How in the Dickens 
did Charles save Christmas?"

11:45 PM EST 12/24/11 | A Very Merry Day from our team to yours | While the gift of Christmas snow was delivered in New Mexico and Texas, the Eastern U.S. revels under cool holiday sunshine. Whether you have decorated palm trees deep in the heart of Texas, or have festively-lit reindeer in rural New England...we all celebrate the history and climate of era which led to many Christmas traditions of today.

Mount Lebanon
The historical and religious reason for marking December 25 Christ's birth, was preceded by an influence of climate and geography. Even though some historians note that Jesus may have been born in November or March, not December, it is likely that nearby snow was present for the first Christmas.   "Lebanon" , which is the nearest mountain range to Bethlehemin the original Hebrew is associated with "white." At the time, the Lebanon range was generally snow-covered year round.  

Christmas was not recognized as a formal religious holiday until the 4th century. The Catholic Church reorganized late December holidays, and imported traditions from the pagan "Feast of Saturnalia" which occurred on the 25th. It is believed this compromise is the origin of present day food-related revelry during our winter holidays. However, more than a thousand years later,  Puritan settlers in the New World viewed December 25 with scorn. Records from the late 1600's show that celebrating Christmas was actually illegal in Boston, due to ancient Christmas festivals having less-than-reputable (i.e. pagan) reputation. The writings of one man in the 1800's helped change that.

A "Frost Fair" on the River 
Thames in London, 1683.
So how in the Dickens did he save Christmas? In the gritty streets of London in 1843, the date was not marked with evergreen wreaths and merriment for all. However, there was snow. A three-hundred year period from the 16th to 19th centuries was later known as  "Little Ice Age" due to reduced solar output. The height this chill, from 1645 to 1710, is now known by climatologists as the Maunder Minimum. Over 26 winters, the River Thames in London froze so thick that grand  "Frost Fairs" were held on the ice! This excellent report by AccuWeather's Jesse Ferrell details many of the climate connections to our visions of White Christmases, due in part to the wide ranging impact of the Little Ice Age. 

During Charles' early childhood in the 1810's, his Father invested considerable time into a grand celebration of Christmas. It was a major family effort, with pig, goose and capon, the best there could be; with mince pie and plum porridge, good ale and strong beer. Topping it off, courtesy of the Little Ice Age, snow was observed six years in a row in London, right on Christmas Day!  Years later, as an author, with firmly ingrained memories of all this, Charles traversed the streets of London up to 20 miles a day...taking notes for his novel, A Christmas Carol. 

In 2006, this present-day librarian-blogger  summed up how the time-honored characters of Mr. Dickens, enshrined in a red- and gold-bound book, may have "saved" Christmas. What started as an effort by Dickens to restart his literary career, cemented a holiday-themed revolution which influenced our present day visions of cinnamon sticks and sleigh rides down snow-glistened streets. Charles may have been the original "Powderhound," for the story refers to frequent winter weather clogging the streets of London, a climate truth in the height of the Little Ice Age. Now that era lives on in our wrapping paper, Currier & Ives engravings and in the music that enriches our lives for just a few short weeks.  

As we celebrate one of the most significant events in history, a recognition of December 25 being Christ's birth, we know people of many creeds and colors have shared the child-like thrill when for the first time, "it's snowing!" We hope that someday, wherever you are, you'll be able to enjoy White in the winter night, courtesy of Mr. Dickens, a little red book, and a little help from the climate.

From all of us at Foot's Forecast, a very merry holiday to you and your family. 


NeedaSnowday said...

It has come down to this dirty lil four letter word ------- RAIN!!!   >:o =-O >:o  

ravensbbr said...

POOP! (also 4 letters, but not as hideous.) :-P

Andy, Southern York County, PA said...

December showers bring May flowers :)

ravensbbr said...

Andy, that was possibly the first post from you that didn't include any of the following words or phrases: model, outlook, GFS, NAM, random #'s followed by a Zulu, i.e. 1200Z, snow, snowthrower, retrograde, bomb out, clipper, manwich, mancave, kahuna, or epic.

It's depressing, try again. :-D

NeedaSnowday said...

May flowers? I think my tulips are starting to come up.... gahhhh

Yep, depressing....

Andy, Southern York County, PA said...

The entire east coast is in an epic snow drought.  Ski resorts from Maine to Maryland are suffering.  No snow and no lasting cold to make snow.  I think January will open the door for snow making in many resorts, but natural snow will be hard to come by south of the New England interior regions. 

The door is open for a better February, but time will tell.  I think the best we can hope for is a random Clipper to juice up and deliver in January.  

I hope things change, but as we all know patterns are repeating and it takes a large event to dislodge a boring winter/warmer regime we are trapped in.  At least we will save money on heating bills :-$  

On a bright side I think the first week of January will be pretty darn cold with perhaps some single digit readings at night in our genral area.  As for snow it appears to be a BIG NO. :'(  

Andy, Southern York County, PA said...

You are right!  The models look putrid so not even worth mentioning.  The NAO is positive for at least the first half of January, so if the NAO forecast holds it will be almost impossible to get a large storm.  The flow looks to be zonal, so expect highs in the 40s after our New Year initial cold snap with chances of scattered rain showers here or there.  I don't see a real change until February.  I never close the door so I will follow the second half of January closely, but hold little hope at this point for snow chances outside of a random clipper.