Just in case you’re curious the holiday hasn’t always been on the fourth Thursday of November. According to the Center for Legislative Archives: “On September 28, 1789, just before leaving for recess, the first Federal Congress passed a resolution asking that the President of the United States recommend to the nation a day of thanksgiving. A few days later, President George Washington issued a proclamation naming Thursday, November 26, 1789 as a “Day of Publick Thanksgivin” – the first time Thanksgiving was celebrated under the new Constitution. Subsequent presidents issued Thanksgiving Proclamations, but the dates and even months of the celebrations varied. It wasn’t until President Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Proclamation that Thanksgiving was regularly commemorated each year on the last Thursday of November.
In 1939, however, the last Thursday in November fell on the last day of the month. Concerned that the shortened Christmas shopping season might dampen the economic recovery, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued a Presidential Proclamation moving Thanksgiving to the second to last Thursday of November. As a result of the proclamation, 32 states issued similar proclamations while 16 states refused to accept the change and proclaimed Thanksgiving to be the last Thursday in November. For two years two days were celebrated as Thanksgiving – the President and part of the nation celebrated it on the second to last Thursday in November, while the rest of the country celebrated it the following week.
To end the confusion, Congress decided to set a fixed-date for the holiday. On October 6, 1941, the House passed a joint resolution declaring the last Thursday in November to be the legal Thanksgiving Day. The Senate, however, amended the resolution establishing the holiday as the fourth Thursday, which would take into account those years when November has five Thursdays. The House agreed to the amendment, and President Roosevelt signed the resolution on December 26, 1941, thus establishing the fourth Thursday in November as the Federal Thanksgiving Day holiday.”
Since Thanksgiving can be as early as the 22nd or as late as the 28th we can see with some wild weather for the holiday. I looked at the weather over the last thirty years and the typical Thanksgiving sees a low of 27° and a high of 42°. The Grand Rapids airport recorded measurable snowfall on Thanksgiving only 8 times in the last 30 years.
Our West Michigan weather can be rather extreme for the holiday. Looking at the National Weather Service archives, 1896 was the warmest with highs in the mid-60s and lows in the mild mid-50s. Two of the coldest holidays were back to back in 1929 and 1930. The snowiest was in 1945 with 6.8” and the wettest 1968 with 1.58”.
See the attached slideshow for more West Michigan record Thanksgiving weather.
This holiday will feature cold temperatures and light snow for West Michigan. Highs today only in the low 30s and bitter cold readings for “Black Friday” shoppers with lows only in the teens. Highs on Friday only warm into the upper 20s. On the bright side, for most of West Michigan, no major accumulations of snow to slow down the travel for this holiday weekend, but some of the area roads may get a bit slick with the light snowfall, especially near the lakeshore. The wind could get a bit gusty, close to the lakeshore on Thursday afternoon.
The attached slideshow has more on the 2014 holiday weather.
West Michigan weather can change quickly as you travel from the lakeshore to the inland cities. Stay up to date with the live West Michigan Weather conditions and live lakeshore weather.
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