Rare May snowstorm bringing heavy snows from Colorado to Wisconsin

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:42 PM GMT on May 01, 2013

Share this Blog
38
+

"Not the typical May forecast." That's the lead-in for today's National Weather Service forecast discussion for Minneapolis, where Winter Storm Achilles is expected to bring 6 - 9" of snow by Thursday morning. Snowfall rates as high as 1 - 3" per hour may occur in snow bands in East Central Minnesota this afternoon, and an 8 - 10" swath of snowfall is expected from South Central Minnesota into East Central Minnesota and West Central Wisconsin. With ratios of snow to liquid water an exceptional 5:1 or even 4:1 (normal is 10:1), the wet, heavy snow will be capable of downing power lines and tree limbs. However, the ground is warm, and accumulation on roads will be less of a problem than for the usual storm of this magnitude. The storm has already brought 7.3" of snow to Cheyenne, Wyoming, and 12 - 14" to locations 10 - 15 miles to the WNW of Cheyenne. Cheyenne's greatest May snowstorm on record was 18.3" on May 5 - 6, 1978. Denver, Colorado is expected to get 3 - 6" of snow from the storm; Boulder, Colorado has already received 8" of snow, Fort Collings got up to 9", and up to 28" has fallen in the Northern Rocky Mountains of Colorado.


Figure 1. Snow plasters trees in Fort Collins, Colorado, on May 1, 2013. Up to 9" of snow has fallen on Fort Collins from the storm. Image credit: wunderphotographer pkkeya.

A historic May snowstorm for some locations
According to the Minnesota Climatology Working Group, the greatest May snowstorm in Minneapolis is 3" on May 20, 1892, so today's winter storm has the potential to be the greatest May snowstorm in city history.

The 1.5" of snow that fell on Sioux Falls, South Dakota this morning was that city's first May snowfall since 1976, the first May snowfall of greater than one inch since 1944, and the 3rd highest May snowfall on record.

On Thursday, after the cold front from Achilles passes through Topeka, Kansas, up to one inch of snow is forecast to fall. May 3, 1907 was the only measurable snowfall at Topeka on record (3.2") during the month of May!


Figure 2. Snow on a Deserted Street in Dawson, Minnesota in Lac Qui Parle County on May 20, 1892. The storm brought Minneapolis its greatest snowfall on record, 3.0". Image courtesy the Minnesota Historical Society.

Jeff Masters

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 866 - 816

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19Blog Index

Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38424
6 to 10" last night...

The National Weather Service in Mobile has issued a

* Flood Warning for... 
southern Mobile County in southwest Alabama... 

* until 300 PM CDT Thursday

* a long duration of heavy rainfall has occurred since Wednesday over
southern Mobile County... including locations near bayou le batre and
Dauphin Island... and has caused a general inundation flooding of low 
lying areas as well as a rise in smaller local creeks. Radar estimates 
that many locations within the warning have received 6 to 10 inches of 
rainfall. This will cause flooding of low lying and poor drainage areas.
Should showers and thunderstorms with heavy rain re-develop... the risk 
of flash flooding will increase. All interested parties should take 
necessary precautions immediately.

* Locations impacted include... 
Dauphin Island... Coden... 
Belle Fontaine... Bayou La Batre... 
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Good Morning Folks..

Day 1


Day 2
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 15284
863. VR46L
Lots of moisture in the Northern Gulf

Member Since: March 1, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6898
Not a good beach or boating day.
423 AM EDT THU MAY 2 2013

THIS HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK IS FOR EAST CENTRAL FLORIDA.

.DAY ONE...TODAY AND TONIGHT.

.THUNDERSTORM IMPACT...
NUMEROUS SHOWERS WITH EMBEDDED THUNDERSTORMS ARE ONGOING ACROSS THE REGION EARLY THIS MORNING. ACTIVITY IS EXPECTED TO BRIEFLY DIMINISH IN COVERAGE THROUGH MID MORNING...WITH DAYTIME HEATING LEADING TO REDEVELOPMENT OF SHOWERS AND STORMS THROUGH THE AFTERNOON AND EVENING HOURS. THE APPROACH OF AN UPPER LEVEL SYSTEM WILL ALLOW SHOWERS AND STORMS TO CONTINUE WELL PAST SUNSET.THE CONTINUED PRESENCE OF COOL AIR ALOFT MAY ALLOW FOR A FEW STORMS TO BECOME STRONG. WIND GUSTS IN EXCESS OF 50 MPH...SMALL HAIL...AND FREQUENT LIGHTNING ARE ALL POSSIBLE WITH STRONGER STORMS TODAY.

.FLOOD IMPACT...
A VERY MOIST ATMOSPHERE WILL CONTINUE TO PRODUCE PERIODS OF HEAVY RAIN ACROSS EAST CENTRAL FLORIDA TODAY AND TONIGHT. THIS RAINFALL WILL LEAD TO NUISANCE FLOODING IN LOW SPOTS AND ON ROADWAYS IN TRADITIONALLY FLOOD PRONE AREAS...AND WILL AGGRAVATE ANY ONGOING STANDING WATER OR FLOODING FROM YESTERDAY`S RAINFALL.

.MARINE THUNDERSTORM GUST IMPACT...
STORMS TODAY MAY PRODUCE WIND GUSTS OF 35 KNOTS OR GREATER ACROSS INLAND LAKES...THE INTRACOASTAL AND LOCAL ATLANTIC WATERS. STORMS WILL GENERALLY MOVE TO THE NORTH...WITH MORE OF A NORTHWEST MOTION NORTH OF THE ORLANDO METRO AND NORTHEAST ACROSS AREAS SOUTH.
.WIND AND SEA IMPACT...
EAST-NORTHEAST WINDS WILL INCREASE TO 15 TO 20 KNOTS NORTH OF THE CAPE LATER THIS MORNING...AND OVER THE WATERS NORTH OF SEBASTIAN INLET THIS AFTERNOON. SEAS WILL BUILD TO 5-7FT NEARSHORE AND 6-9FT OFFSHORE BY LATE TONIGHT. A SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IS IN EFFECT NORTH OF SEBASTIAN INLET STARTING THIS AFTERNOON...AND OVER ALL THE WATERS BY TONIGHT.

.RIP CURRENT IMPACT...
A LONG PERIOD SWELL OF AROUND 3 FEET WILL CONTINUE TO PRODUCE A HIGH RISK OF RIP CURRENTS IN THE SURF ZONE. INCREASING ONSHORE FLOW WILL ALSO LEAD TO ROUGH SURF. IF HEADING TO THE BEACH TODAY...CHECK WITH YOUR LOCAL BEACH PATROL FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT OCEAN HAZARDS. NEVER ENTER THE ROUGH SURF ALONE.

.DAYS TWO THROUGH SEVEN...FRIDAY THROUGH WEDNESDAY.
THE CHANCE FOR SHOWERS AND STORMS WILL REMAIN WELL ABOVE NORMAL THROUGH SATURDAY. LOCALLY STRONG STORMS WILL BE POSSIBLE EACH AFTERNOON WITH GUSTY WINDS...FREQUENT LIGHTNING...AND FLOODING RAINS.

STRONG ONSHORE FLOW AND BUILDING SEAS WILL CONTINUE TO PRODUCE HAZARDOUS BOATING CONDITIONS THROUGH THIS WEEKEND.

.SPOTTER INFORMATION STATEMENT...
SPOTTERS ARE REQUESTED TO MONITOR THE WEATHER AND SELF ACTIVATE
IF NEEDED.
MOSES
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Not nice.  Heading to the shaky knees fest this weekend and really don't want to get rained on the whole time...
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:
wow new GFS giving N GA more rain than before...nice

NAM agrees too
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:
Hey guys...

I'm excited, just got my lifeguard certification and several job offers to start working later this month...

Inclement weather is officially my best friend...

Go Summer Popup Thunderstorms!!!
Quoting icmoore:
Good morning Largo and everyone. Well, I just emptied my rain gauge here in Madeira Beach and we got just a hair shy of 1.20" yesterday with no complaints here. That was the most we've seen in a long time.
good morning, yes we got some great rain yesterday huh..maybe we get some more today also..................HEY GS...a big congrats!!...good luck on getting the Job
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38424
saturated here in e cen florida good fuel for the upcoming afternoon thunderstorm season
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
good morning, the rain has just started here along the nsb coast
MORNING REGIONAL TEMPERATURE AND PRECIPITATION SUMMARY
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MELBOURNE, FL
815 AM EDT THU MAY 2 2013

NOTE: RAINFALL IS FOR THE 24-HOUR PERIOD ENDING AT 7AM(EST)/8AM(EDT).
: HIGH 12 HOUR 24 HOUR
: YESTERDAY LOW RAINFALL AIRPORT OBSERVATIONS TO 8 AM TO 8 AM
:.BR MLB 0502 E DH07/TAIRZX/TAIRZN/PPDRZZ
: (Values are high temp/low temp/precipitation)
DAB : DAYTONA BEACH INTL APT : 81 / 69 / 0.13
FPR : ST LUCIE COUNTY INTL APT : 83 / 68 / 1.53
LEE : LAKE COUNTY APT : 81 / 68 / 0.20
MLB : MELBOURNE INTL APT : 79 / 67 / 1.50
MCO : ORLANDO INTL APT : 79 / 67 / 0.24
ORL : ORLANDO EXEC APT : 77 / 66 / 1.10
SFB : ORLANDO SANFORD APT : 79 / 66 / 0.51
VRB : VERO BEACH APT : 82 / 67 / 2.24
:
.END
THESE DATA ARE PRELIMINARY AND HAVE NOT UNDERGONE FINAL QUALITY CONTROL BY THE NATIONAL CLIMATIC DATA CENTER(NCDC). THEREFORE THESE DATA ARE SUBJECT TO REVISION. FINAL AND CERTIFIED CLIMATE DATA CAN BE ACCESSED AT WWW.NCDC.NOAA.GOV.
$$
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
857. VR46L
Quoting Grothar:


Oh, sure. Now you are all going to be posting it. LOL


Morning VR.


Noticed it earlier on ... sorry ;)

Morning Again Folks

Member Since: March 1, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6898
Quoting Grothar:
Why is it none of you noticed the blob in the Caribbean. Must I do everything in the morning?

\

That blob formed behind yesterday's blob and moved south. Into more favorable conditions...
Member Since: October 20, 2012 Posts: 7 Comments: 2873
Quoting VR46L:
North America-CONUS East vap_images/goes








Oh, sure. Now you are all going to be posting it. LOL


Morning VR.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting SFLWeatherman:



Good thing you just changed that SFL. The first one had a date of May 1. This is much better.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
853. VR46L
North America-CONUS East vap_images/goes






Member Since: March 1, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6898
Quoting biff4ugo:
Hey Gro!
Where is that blob on post #846? South Cuba looks clear there. Your post shows a blob bigger than is hitting south Florida.


That is because the post in #846 is from yesterday, and mine is from today. Notice the date!

(P.S. and people say I'm slipping :)

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Rain coming
Member Since: May 23, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 4514
Hey Gro!
Where is that blob on post #846? South Cuba looks clear there. Your post shows a blob bigger than is hitting south Florida.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting FtMyersgal:


Nice globe!

I usually look here during near the Indian Ocean for disturbances. Many times some of the big waves exiting the African west coast start here.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: May 23, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 4514
Member Since: May 23, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 4514
Member Since: May 23, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 4514
Member Since: May 23, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 4514
Today!
Member Since: May 23, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 4514
That 2.5" strip of orange across central Florida is just what the area needed. Lets hope the ground doesn't eat it all and there is runoff to the lakes too.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Why is it none of you noticed the blob in the Caribbean. Must I do everything in the morning?

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Good Morning... .98 in. so far and the day hasn't even started.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
What an odd confluence of rain beween systems moving west from Daytona and systems moving north from Orlando? It is like they crisscross and don't notice each other rather than merge. Is that an artifact from Radar, picking up systems at different levels?

Looks like the African waves have shaped up nicely in the last 24 hours, from disorganized into orderly "smoke signals" over the continent.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: May 23, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 4514
Member Since: May 23, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 4514
some places may not escape the 60s on saturday under the ULL....in may...ouch.

Spann says very small hail or graupel may also exist with the showers due to very very cold temps above the ground.

I rememeber an event like that last year here where it was 55F in the fall i believe, and very windy and humid.
Upper temps were -22 to -24C and the scattered light showers brought me maybe graupel to marble sized hail at most several times.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
It rain on and off all night in WPB!!:)
Member Since: May 23, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 4514
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting icmoore:
Good morning Largo and everyone. Well, I just emptied my rain gauge here in Madeira Beach and we got just a hair shy of 1.20" yesterday with no complaints here. That was the most we've seen in a long time.


Good mornign icmoore. Down here in Fort Myers my rain guage read 2.72". It was a real frog strangler. Looks like we will get more rain today
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting VR46L:
Hmm I know some are interested in the wave coming off Africa at the moment ... I think the one about to enter the Horn is more interesting




The one emerging the coast is at least hanging on. That one you mentioned looks good.
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14246
wow new GFS giving N GA more rain than before...nice

NAM agrees too




Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Hey guys...

I'm excited, just got my lifeguard certification and several job offers to start working later this month...

Inclement weather is officially my best friend...

Go Summer Popup Thunderstorms!!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
828. VR46L
Hmm I know some are interested in the wave coming off Africa at the moment ... I think the one about to enter the Horn is more interesting


Member Since: March 1, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6898
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting icmoore:
Good morning Largo and everyone. Well, I just emptied my rain gauge here in Madeira Beach and we got just a hair shy of 1.20" yesterday with no complaints here. That was the most we've seen in a long time.


I guess my 1" to 2" was spot on for you yesterday.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Everyone have a great Thursday! Aussie, have a great Friday!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Jax82:
Plenty of rain in store for NFL today. Flood watches and wind advisories.



Look at what the NWS of Melbourne has to say about the rest of the week. This would end the drought for eastern FL.

AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MELBOURNE FL
347 AM EDT THU MAY 2 2013

.DISCUSSION...

...AREAS OF HEAVY RAIN AND A FEW STRONG STORMS THROUGH LATE WEEK...

TODAY...THE UPPER LEVEL PATTERN REMAINS SIMILAR TODAY TO YESTERDAY
WITH THE SHORTWAVE TROUGH/UPPER LEVEL LOW OVER THE NORTHERN GULF
COAST CONTINUING TO SLIDE EASTWARDS AND SEVERAL VORT MAXES ROTATING
AROUND IT INTO THE PENINSULA. TEMPS ALOFT WILL TAKE A DIP TODAY AS
THE UPPER LEVEL LOW SLIDES CLOSER TO THE FL PENINSULA AND 500MB
TEMPS DROP TO BETWEEN -12C AND -14C THIS AFTERNOON.

DEEP MOISTURE WILL REMAIN IN PLACE KEEPING PWATS BETWEEN
1.5"-1.7"...THOUGH THERE IS EXPECTED TO BE A SLIGHT NORTHWARD
SHIFT OF THE HIGHEST PWATS WITH TIME AS THE TROUGH APPROACHES AND
THE UPPER LEVEL FLOW BECOMES MORE SOUTHWEST. THE SOUTHERN BRANCH
OF THE JET STREAM WILL REMAIN S OF CENTRAL FL WHERE IT WILL
CONTINUE TO PRODUCE STRONG UPPER LEVEL DIVERGENCE.

AT THE SURFACE...THE INVERTED TROUGH IS EXPECTED TO DAMPEN OUT AND
BE PUSHED INTO SOUTH FLORIDA AS THE HIGH OVER THE MID ATLANTIC
SLIDES FURTHER SOUTH. THE MUCH ANTICIPATED WEAK LOW IS FORECAST TO
DEVELOP BY THIS EVENING OVER THE SOUTHEAST GULF OF MEXICO AHEAD OF
THE SHORTWAVE.

SATELLITE IMAGERY SHOWS SOME BREAKS IN THE MID AND HIGH CLOUDS THIS
MORNING WITH NOT AS MUCH IN THE WAY OF UPSTREAM DEVELOPMENT OVER THE
EASTERN GULF. WHILE SKIES ARE EXPECTED TO REMAIN OVERALL MOSTLY
CLOUDY THROUGH THE DAY...THERE SEEMS TO BE A BETTER OPPORTUNITY FOR
MORE DAYTIME HEATING THAN WE SAW YESTERDAY.

ALL IN ALL...IT WILL BE ANOTHER WET DAY ACROSS EAST CENTRAL FLORIDA
WITH THE POSSIBILITY FOR VERY HEAVY RAIN WITHIN ANY ACTIVITY. THERE
DOES NOT APPEAR TO BE ANY REGION MORE FAVORED FOR ACTIVITY...SO POPS
REMAIN 70 PERCENT ACROSS THE ENTIRE AREA. HIGHS IN THE UPPER 70S TO
LOW 80S...THOUGH TEMPS COULD CLIMB INTO THE MID 80S IN A FEW PLACES
WITH MORE SUN.

TONIGHT...SURFACE LOW WILL BE MEANDERING OVER THE EASTERN GULF
OVERNIGHT WITH EASTERLY FLOW INCREASING BETWEEN THE LOW AND THE HIGH
TO THE NORTH. SHOWERS AND STORMS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE THROUGH THE
OVERNIGHT HOURS WITH THE BEST COVERAGE ALONG THE COAST...ESPECIALLY
FROM BREVARD COUNTY NORTHWARDS WHERE COASTAL CONVERGENCE COULD LEAD
TO LOCALLY HIGH RAINFALL TOTALS. LOWS IN THE UPPER 60S TO LOW 70S.

FRI-SAT...THERE HAS BEEN LITTLE OVERALL CHANGE IN THE BIG PICTURE
WITH A WEAK SURFACE LOW PROGGED TO MOVE FROM THE EASTERN GULF
ACROSS THE SOUTHERN PART OF THE STATE. AT THE SAME TIME A LARGE
HIGH PRESSURE RIDGE OVER THE EASTERN SEABOARD WILL PUSH A WEAK
BACK DOOR FRONT TOWARDS EAST CENTRAL FLORIDA. THESE TWO FEATURES
WILL COMBINE TO INCREASE EASTERLY WINDS AND LOW LEVEL CONVERGENCE.
THIS KIND OF SETUP OFTEN RESULTS IN A CHANCE FOR HEAVY RAINFALL...
PARTICULARLY ON THE COAST. A MID-LATE MAY CASE IN 2009 COMES TO
MIND WHERE UPWARDS OF 20 INCHES OF RAIN OCCURRED ALONG A PORTION
OF OUR COAST. HAVE TOYED WITH ISSUING A FLOOD WATCH BUT WILL LET
THE DAY SHIFT TAKE ANOTHER LOOK AT THE POTENTIAL SETUP.


REGARDLESS...HIGH POPS ARE IN STORE FOR FRI AND HAVE SETTLED ON 70
PERCENT AREAWIDE FOR NOW. THE GFS SHOWS THE FOCUS FOR HEAVY RAIN
SHIFTING TOWARDS THE NORTH COAST FRI NIGHT AND SAT. WILL GO WITH
50 PERCENT POPS DURING THIS PERIOD EXCEPT FOR LIKELY POPS ALONG
THE COAST FRI NIGHT AND THE NORTH COAST ON SAT.


.PRELIMINARY POINT TEMPS/POPS...
DAB 76 68 78 68 / 70 70 70 60
MCO 80 67 82 66 / 70 50 70 50
MLB 78 69 80 68 / 70 60 70 60
VRB 78 69 81 68 / 70 60 70 60
LEE 79 67 79 65 / 70 50 70 50
SFB 79 67 82 66 / 70 60 70 50
ORL 79 68 81 67 / 70 50 70 50
FPR 78 69 81 68 / 70 50 70 60


Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Jax82:
Plenty of rain in store for NFL today. Flood watches and wind advisories.



Hey, just a tip, but you should turn on the storm display on the radar you put up, it helps to show what is in the storm currently. (hail)
Member Since: April 30, 2013 Posts: 5 Comments: 4316
Thursday AM.... Good Morning!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
port everglades fort lauderdale 3 CAMS link

Cam #3 show you a view over the intercoastal and ocean this morning. All in all, still nice, but I am part duck.

Thanks to "barbamz" yesterday for making me aware of these 3 webcams located in my backyard.

Hola Y'all have a great Thursday
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Last night in MD we got .12" here, even though there wasn't anything on the radar. We need the rain here, the ground is getting dry.
Member Since: April 30, 2013 Posts: 5 Comments: 4316
819. Jax82
Plenty of rain in store for NFL today. Flood watches and wind advisories.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
.96" at my house last night and it's still coming down now here north of orlando. Picked up nearly 4" of rain so far this week with another 4" to 5" on the way the next several days.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Good morning Largo and everyone. Well, I just emptied my rain gauge here in Madeira Beach and we got just a hair shy of 1.20" yesterday with no complaints here. That was the most we've seen in a long time.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Looking foreward to the next storm!
Member Since: April 30, 2013 Posts: 5 Comments: 4316

Viewing: 866 - 816

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19Blog Index

Top of Page

About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

Local Weather

Mostly Cloudy
63 °F
Mostly Cloudy