Thanksgiving Week Snowstorms and High School Football

(Editors note- I’ve been working on another project the past two months that has required a lot of my time.  I regret missing the Halloween windstorm as that was a high impact event I wish I had time to cover.  You can rely on me for winter weather coverage.  Thanks for returning to read this post!-  Zack Green)

November 2017 is likely to go down as the coldest across the country since 2013 and it is a major flip from October and September, especially here in the Northeast.   I was hoping for a snow event around Thanksgiving but that isn’t in the cards for this year.  Low pressure will bring heavy rain to Southeastern New England on Wednesday before cold air returns for Thanksgiving Day.  If we can’t have snow then at least we can remember some of the times that we did.

November 23, 1989

The largest Thanksgiving snowstorm in 50 years caused havoc at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in New York City.  The Arctic air was delivered by a strong storm a few days prior that brought gale force winds that took down trees and power lines across the Northeast.

NWS Boston recap of 11-21-1989

Low pressure developed along a frontal boundary in the Carolina’s and moved north into the Arctic air mass on Thanksgiving morning.

Via Wikipedia

Up to a foot of snow fell across the Cape and Islands while 3-6″ totals were more common from NYC to Boston.

via Wikipedia

This was my first Thanksgiving Day.  It can’t be a coincidence that there was a snowstorm for this future meteorologist (ignoring the millions of other 1989 babies who have 0 interest in Mother Nature).  The Northbridge-Millbury football game was moved to Saturday.  The players cleared the field on Black Friday (H/T Trevor LaChapelle).

November 27, 2002

I remember this one well because I was in 8th grade and had my braces removed the day before the storm.  There is a surprising lack of information about this storm on the internet.  So let’s do a little retro blog on the storm as it happened from a meteorologist’s perspective.

Monday, November 25, 2002, National Weather Service Boston Special Weather Statement

The storm was never expected to be a blockbuster but the timing of the event made it significant.  A winter storm warning was issued by Tuesday afternoon.

Snow began in the early AM hours as predicted which led to school cancellations across Southern New England.  It meant an extended Thanksgiving break and was the start of an epic winter for the region.  The snow was heaviest between 6-10 AM and began to taper off after lunchtime.

The heaviest snow fell in Connecticut with 6-8″ falling in the Blackstone Valley.

NWS Snow Totals 11/27/02

It led to some tough field conditions on Thanksgiving morning for the local high school football games.  Northbridge and Uxbridge battled for a berth in the Super Bowl (Rams would roll 23-0).  The field was covered by a tarp in between the hashes.  Uxbridge QB Anthony Landini had no chance on the frozen tundra as the Rams defensive line beat the bag out him play after play.

November 24, 2005

Uxy would get their revenge in 2005 as an Alberta Clipper dropped 2-4″ on Thanksgiving morning.  These totals were somewhat of a surprise.  On Tuesday, November 22, 2005, the NWS thought some snow would be possible before quickly turning over to rain.

NWS Boston AFD 11/22/05 1035 PM

By Wednesday evening it was becoming clear that the cold air would hold on for longer in the Blackstone Valley.  However, most teams went to bed thinking there would be some snow overnight switching to rain.  The NWS issued a Special Weather Statement around 10 PM saying not so fast….

NWS Boston SWS Wednesday 10 PM 11/23/05

We ended up on the higher end of the 1-3″ with several towns in the Blackstone Valley recording 3-4″ when all was said and done.  I remember waking up and saying “Holy s$%t!” It was puking snow in Northbridge.  Warm-ups were a lot of fun that morning.  Temperatures were right around freezing so the snowflakes were large.  The Blackstone Valley ended up just north and west of the rain/snow line for a awhile which allowed for intense snowfall rates during that brief period of time.

NCEI NEXRAD Radar Archive 11/24/05 9 AM

The game ended up being delayed because Uxy was pissed off we showed up 10 minutes before kickoff.  They decided to snow blow the field which was stupid (IMO) but they kicked our ass anyway.  Snow continued until halftime before the sun came out.  It wasn’t the ending the SR’s wanted but it was a fun and memorable morning.

Link to snow totals for the event.

November 26-27, 2014

This event was much more notable in Northern New England but it still managed to produce a frozen slop in the Blackstone Valley.  Thanksgiving Day football games were moved to the weekend (wondering why that didn’t happen in 2006, I digress).   A mix of rain and sleet pelted the region Wednesday afternoon into Wednesday evening before changing to snow around midnight.  These images are from the NWS Burlington (VT) report on the storm (source).

I am now an assistant coach at Blackstone Valley Tech (Roll Tech) and our game against Nipmuc was delayed after the Miscoe School Field crew tried to use a plow to remove the slop from the field.  A plow.  We ended up playing on Sunday at Bellingham High School, a 19-14 win for the Beavers.  The Rams and Spartans played on Saturday at an ice-covered Lasell Field.  Uxy couldn’t hold a 12-0 lead as the Rams won 13-12 and went to Gillette for a 2nd straight year.

Northbridge quarterback Koby Schofer (12) holds on to ball as he hits the ground with Uxbridge defenders at Northbridge Middle School on Saturday Nov. 29, 2014.

This Thanksgiving will be cool and quiet.  Maybe we can get a Christmas storm this year.

-Zack Green

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