It all depends upon the weather. How often do we say that? Especially this winter. Our holiday celebrations were altered this year. Dinners were held later or earlier because of bad weather predicted. Meetings were canceled. Schools delayed or canceled.

It's always been that way. What would history have to say if the weather had been different?


There have been occasions in this country where weather did, or could have, changed the course of history.

What if ... the winter weather had not ben so cold and dreadful in 1604 on an island in the middle of the St. Croix River? The French explorers under Sieur de Monts would have been the first to establish a colony in New England, but the little group decided to move to a more sheltered spot in Nova Scotia. If the weather hadn't been so bitter, would New Englanders be speaking French today?

Even the first English settlement near the mouth of the Kennebec River in Maine was abandoned after the fierce winter of 1607-08.

If the winter hadn't been so unseasonably warm in 1620-21, the Pilgrims might not have survived their first year in Massachusetts. It was described as being "a calm winter such as never seen here since." Even so, only 50 of the 102 settlers lived until spring.

If it hadn't been so foggy in August of 1776, George Washington and his Continental Army might have been wiped out at the Battle of Long Island after they were caught on the western end of the island. But Washington managed to cross the East River under the cover of darkness and deep fog on August 29, and the army was preserved as a fighting force, even thought it was defeated.

If it hadn't been for such a violent thunderstorm on Oct. 16 of 1781, British Lord Cornwallis might have escaped from Yorktown instead of having his trapped troops on flatboats pushed by the storm five miles down the York River, only to be captured by the French. American independence was assured after Cornwallis surrendered on Oct. 19.

If it had snowed harder in the mountains of California on Nov. 7 of 1916, President Woodrow Wilson might have lost his re-election. Wilson defeated Republican Charles Hughes to lead the United States into World War I. If the storm had been worse in the mountain counties, Democratic county turnout would have been less in one of the closest elections in history.

If there hadn't been such a freeze on Jan. 28, 1986, the space shuttle Challenger might not have exploded shortly after takeoff from Cape Canaveral, Fla. Investigation showed that a sudden temperature drop the night before had caused O-rings sealing the joints between segments of the solid –fuel booster rockets to become brittle and fail.

This disaster caused a temporary halt in the United States' space program.

If the historically notorious September hurricane season up and down the east coast had provided a violent storm on Sept. 11, 2001 (which has happened on other September days we can remember over the years) there may not have been take off of planes to participate in the disastrous events of that fateful day when the suicidally directed flights diverted them to destruction.

So we still have time for more winter storms to come this year. Will there be cancellations that can make a difference in our lives that will become history?