June 6, 1816
Two hundred years ago today, on June 6, 1816, snow fell across all of New England and there was enough snow to cover the streets of Boston. Although there was no snow the rest of the summer, temperatures bounced up and down from triple digit highs to near-freezing lows. The weather was bizarre enough to be frightening.
With no Weather Channel to answer questions, people, alarmed, came up with a variety of reasons for this unusual weather. Among the reasons put forth were Franklin’s lightning rods and deforestation while others saw it as God’s work.
Scientists now ascribe this phenomena to the eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonesia in 1815. This eruption spewed so much ash and sulfuric acid that the area was dark for three entire days. As the ash and acid spread, the sun was dulled around the world, noticed even in Boston.
Here in New England crops failed, the price of grain rose, and many farmers moved west, worried that if summer didn’t arrive the next year they would be unable to farm.
One good result: this led to the development of modern meteorology. However, as I’ve listened to the weather predictions in recent years, I have noticed that less and less snow is described as a bigger and bigger event, as if it had never before snowed in winter in New England. But just imagine a year without summer! I’d rather not.
Source: “When Summer Forgot Boston”; Chris Sweeney; Boston Magazine, June 2016
Dorothy C. Judd © 2016
Next post: Monday, June 13th