Rare May snow falls in Midwest, West as Northeast feels early heat
May 21 — While some regions of the United States, including the Northeast, are experiencing summer-like heat early this week as the calendar inches toward Memorial Day, other areas in the Midwest and western U.S. are still experiencing snow.
“Is that seriously happening out there right now?” flabbergasted Twitter user Michael Phillippi wrote on Twitter Sunday, in response to a photo of a winter-like scene shared by the National Weather Service (NWS) office in Duluth, Minn.
Phillippi is far from the only social media user to express his dismay with the winter display. Meteorologist Joe Moore declared the May snow in Duluth was ‘CRAZY.’ Many other social media users responded with disappointed memes about the snowy post.
Duluth picked up 2.4 inches of snow on Sunday, a record for May 19 that surpassed the previous snowfall record of 0.2 of an inch of snow for that date set back in 1963, according to the NWS. However, temperatures reached the upper 50s on Monday, so most of the snow has likely melted, according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist John Gresiak.
“It does snow in May there on occasion but usually not very much,” Gresiak said.
The latest recorded day for snowfall in the region is May 28, 1965, when 0.4 of an inch was recorded, NWS Duluth said in a tweet.
Earlier this month, Duluth set a record for a May snowstorm when the city was hit with about 10 inches over two days. Currently, the area is not forecast to receive any more snow over the next several days.
Minnesota was not the only state to receive snowfall early this week. Areas throughout the West, mostly at higher elevations, also received snow.
While snowfall in May seems surreal for many regions across the United States, March through May is typically the snowiest time of year in the Rockies. Snowfall is all about the terrain in the West.
Flagstaff, Ariz., which is at an elevation of about 7,000 feet, received about an inch of snow on Monday. The area even experienced the snowfall with thunder and lightning, Gresiak said. And in the afternoon, about 90 miles north of Flagstaff, just outside of Tuba City, a tornado briefly touched down, which was part of a larger severe weather outbreak taking place over parts of Kansas, eastern Oklahoma and into north-central Texas.
The Flagstaff area may continue to accumulate a little more snow Monday afternoon and into Monday night. Snow is also forecast in the area again on Wednesday into Thursday — but the latest recorded measurable snowfall in Flagstaff was on June 8, 1907, when the area picked up 0.2 of an inch, according to the NWS. The average last day for snow in the Flagstaff area is April 25.
“One of the many reasons we love Flagstaff … snow in late May!” Northern Arizona University (NAU) Police said in a tweet, sharing a video of the snow. Meanwhile, the Arizona Department of Transportation posted photos taken by highway cameras on Twitter with a message saying that the scene looked “more like mid-January than late May.”
Other noteworthy snow accumulation totals included Cedar Grove, Calif., which notched a reading of 14 inches, Lake Thomas Edison, Calif., picked up a foot of snow and back in the Midwest Poplar, Wis., recorded 7.3 inches of snow. Of course, not everyone was disappointed by the continued snowfall. Mammoth Mountain ski resort in California reported that it measured another 3 inches of snow on Sunday, bringing its four-day total to about 16 inches.