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Heather’s Weather Whys: the year without a summer

In 1816, a freakishly cold summer was observed across the Northern Hemisphere. It snowed in Western New York in June! The reason is likely not what you’re thinking.
Credit: WGRZ

Seeing snow fall from the sky a few weeks ago was tough enough. But imagine if that snow had come a couple of weeks from now. Back in 1816, it did.

That’s right, there’s recorded proof that on June 12, 1816, it was cold enough to snow in the Buffalo area. Of course at that time, Buffalo and Western New York were mostly wilderness with scattered farmland and no, the snow didn’t stick around for long.

But the unusual chill did, and not just in Western New York. The entire Northeast United States faced a freakishly cold summer that had dire consequences for farmers and the food supply as a result. Temperatures in Europe were also chilly for most of the “warm” season. Similar reports came out of parts of Asia. 

So why did so many major areas in the Northern Hemisphere face such a freakishly cold summer that year?

The answer is probably not what you’re thinking. Watching this week’s Heather’s Weather Whys for an explanation.

New episodes of Heather’s Weather Whys are posted to the WGRZ YouTube channel every Wednesday evening. 

If you have a weather question for Heather to answer, send it to her at heather.waldman@wgrz.com or connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.

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