You Think This Spring is Bad? In 1816 There Was No Summer!
It's easy for us to sit around and think about how this spring is just simply the dumbest one we've had in all the years I've been alive. It's April 18th, and there's still a huge pile of snow in my front yard that hasn't melted yet. But 200 years ago, in the summer of 1816, they basically had no summer at all.
Throughout history, there have been events referred to as 'Little Ice Ages' that last sometimes up to a few hundred years. The last one was from the 1500's to the mid 1800's, but that's not what caused this bizarre event. In what is now modern day Indonesia, Mount Tambora, an active volcano, erupted spewing hundreds of millions of tons of ash into the atmosphere, that took over a year to blow over across the ocean to cover us here in Maine.
According to the Millbridge Historical Society, the first sign that something was odd, was that January was unusually warm. People were mostly only starting fires for cooking and hardly need to keep warm by fire at all. Pretty much the same for February and Marc. but then in April things started to change.
The weather started becoming very cold, and snow started falling. At a time when spring should have been well underway, there was so much snow and ice that the buds on the trees froze and died. By the end of May, everything was dead on the trees....leaves, fruit, buds, everything. Come June, areas of the state had up to seven inches of snow on the ground. One spot in Vermont got 20 inches! Spots in downeast Maine were snow covered during June.
On the fourth of July, there was a layer of ice everywhere and the temps didn't even get to the freezing point. But the worst of it came in August. By then, there was no hope of recovering any of the crops to help sustain folks. If it wasn't for the vast of fish and wild game, people would have starved outright. It even played into the next Spring because there was a shortage of seeds from no crops having been produced the year before.
It's easy right now, to kind of put yourself in this mindset. We've had nothing but cold days, damp weather, and frigid nights. But at least then, it could all be traced back to the one incident that caused it to happen. Right now, Mother Nature is drunk and has no idea what she's doing. But hopefully, soon enough, things will get back to normal.
Oh wait, except for that pesky little snowfall moving through the area tomorrow night into Friday. Let's get Mother Nature an intervention, stat!