The Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities reminds us just how much our climate has changed in the past 200 years. The idea of five to 14 inches of snow in early October seems almost impossible today.
…in 1804, a “snow hurricane” struck Massachusetts. The storm began with winds so powerful that whole forests were leveled. Houses, barns, chimneys, and church steeples came crashing down. Even when the wind subsided, it continued to snow. As much as two feet fell in some places. Fruit was blown off trees and potatoes froze in the ground. Hundreds of cattle, sheep, and poultry died. Ships at anchor collided with each other and nearby wharves, killing the men on board. So many oaks and pines were lost that it was decades before the state’s shipbuilding industry recovered. In some parts of Massachusetts, the storm changed the landscape so dramatically that people felt as though they were suddenly living in a new and unfamiliar place.