According to tradition, the first Thanksgiving celebration was held under sunny autumn skies as the English settlers and native Wampanoag tribe celebrated good fellowship and a plentiful harvest in their Massachusetts home in 1621. But November weather, especially in the northeastern United States is notoriously changeable, with storms and snow possible at any time.
On November 22, 2012, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Terra satellite captured this true-color image of a clear Thanksgiving morning along the eastern United States. Clouds cover the Atlantic Ocean, approaching but rarely touching the coastline. To the west, smoke and haze covers parts of Michigan, Indiana and Ohio. But from Maine to the tip of Florida, the sunny weather was favorable for the family feasts, football, and travel that mark the American holiday.
Only three weeks before this region was harshly impacted by the largest storm ever to strike the eastern United States. On October 29, Hurricane Sandy made landfall in New Jersey, leaving thousands homeless and hundreds of thousands without power. It also was responsible for 132 deaths in United States and Canada.
Despite sunny skies, thousands of New York and New Jersey residents remained without power, and many were still coping with losses of loved ones and homes. According to Reuters an emergency shelter in a church in Belle Harbor, Queens, offered a traditional feast of turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pies for those who remained displaced. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg was quoted as saying that the city, in partnership with local community organizations and businesses, were providing 26,500 Thanksgiving meals for people hardest hit by the storm.