Henry Rowe Schoolcraft was the first Indian agent in the Lake Superior district. He was assigned to the lonely outpost of Sault Ste. Marie in 1822. On December 4th, he observed, "the weather has been intensely cold for the past three days." Shortly after, a sense of loneliness crept into his writing. ??Snow covers everything,?? he penned. ??We are shut out from the world, and thrown entirely on our own resources. I doubt, if we were in Siberia?|we could be so completely isolated.??
The last boat came to Sault Ste. Marie in mid-November. It would be four-and-a-half months before the next one would arrive in the spring. Outside of a couple of visits from mail carriers on dog sleds, this then-wilderness area of America was isolated indeed. While the weather of late November and early December was cold and snowy, there was a remarkable turn-around thereafter. A thaw set in on December 5 which lasted for eight to nine days. During this time nearly all the snow cover ??was carried off by rains or at least the heat of the sun.?? The weather was so mild that Schoolcraft sat in his office ??without fire, for about two hours?? on the 13th. Finally on the 15th, the wind ??veered around to a northerly point?? and winter set back in.
In contrast, this December has started exceptionally warm. While temperatures fell during the day, this bout of cold will not hold. The strong trough extending from Alaska to just off the West Coast (Image 2) is still there and that means a continued westerly flow aloft. But changes are forecast. By Thursday, a ridge should be building in the eastern Pacific (Image 3). That means energy will be digging into the Rockies and central U.S. There is a possibility of a system or two swinging out of a developing trough just to our west. Some snow is possible starting with these systems starting this weekend along with more normal early December temperatures.