The massive storm which brought one-to-three inches of rain, gusty winds, and power outages across southwestern Connecticut this morning will move away later this afternoon, paving the way for much colder and blustery weather to arrive for Thanksgiving Day. Tomorrow will be mostly sunny and windy with an afternoon high temperature in the low-to-mid 30s, a far cry from the lower 60s this morning.
Obviously, with the date of Thanksgiving fluctuating from year to year, the weather can be very different from one year to the next. We've experienced a record-breaking rainstorm, record-setting snowstorm, unseasonably mild temperatures, and strong, gusty winds over the last 25 years on Thanksgiving Day. However, the two most memorable storms happened in 2006 and 1989.
The most memorable Thanksgiving Day over the last quarter century occurred on November 23, 1989. That's when over a half-foot of snow fell across southwestern Connecticut, marking the snowiest Thanksgiving on record in these parts. In fact, the snow began falling the night before, creating a nightmare at airports, bus depots, and roadways on the heaviest travel day of the year.
Officially, 6.2 inches of snow fell at Sikorsky Memorial Airport. Coupled with the nearly half-inch that fell the night before, just about seven inches of snow blanketed the region. The Thanksgiving snow of 24 years ago also marked the snowiest day on record in November. Remember, the average snowfall for the entire month based on 40 years of climatology is less than an inch (0.7").
Seventeen years later to the exact day, nearly two inches of rain (1.84") fell during Thanksgiving Day, November 23, 2006, with most of it coming during the mid-to-late morning hours. That's over half the normal average rain for the entire month. I was the emcee at Fairfield Warde High School's halftime ceremony during the Mustangs' football game against arch-rival Fairfield Ludlowe. The gala event included the field dedication ceremony and 50th anniversary celebration of the opening of the school.
The heavy rain spoiled the festivities. It was almost impossible to read my tributes to Fern Tetreau and the late Bill Davis, Warde's first two football coaches, after whom the field was named. My papers were drenched, and the wind, which gusted to 30 miles an hour, nearly blew away what was left of my script. The driving rain and temperatures in the mid 40s also kept many people away from the game, and those who were left headed for shelter at halftime.
If you're counting, 11 of the last 25 Thanksgivings have produced measured rain, including a streak of four in a row from 2004 through 2007. The longest dry stretch was four years, from 2000 through 2003. Nearly an inch of rain fell on Thanksgiving Day 1998, and just about a half-inch was recorded the following year in 1999. The last two Thanksgiving days have been dry.