When is the latest snowfall for these major US cities?
By Faith Eherts, AccuWeather meteorologist
While lovers of springtime are often appalled by a snowy forecast after March 21, many major United States cities have received measurable snowfall (at least 0.1 of an inch) well into April and even May.
In the New York City area, influence from the nearby ocean and the Urban Heat Island Effect often create a significant discrepancy in snowfall reports from Central Park when compared to nearby reporting stations such as those at LaGuardia, Kennedy and Newark International airports.
A potent storm sat nearly stationary over Long Island on April 19, 1983, steadily sucking cold air down into the New York City area. As a result, 0.8 of an inch of snow was able to fall in Central Park that day before strong late-April sunshine swiftly returned on April 20.
In Philadelphia, 0.1 of an inch of snow fell a full month and one day after Easter 1967, on April 27.
In the nation's current capital just to the south of Philadelphia, a well-documented, but unofficial list of late-season snowfalls exists via various historical journals.
According to David Ludlum, one of America’s most prominent weather historians and author of Early American Winters, 1604-1820 and Early American Winters, 1821-1870, several such events were noted in the diaries of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. The latest reportedly took place on May 13, 1803, when the city was plagued by "the uncommon spectacle of snow in May and ice of considerable thickness having formed for several consecutive nights," as noted by local press.
Since official record keeping began however, the latest measurable snowfall has occurred on April 28, 1898, when 0.5 of an inch of snow fell. While the same system also brought snow to both Washington D.C. and the city of Baltimore, it is interesting to note that Washington-Dulles later received an inch of snow on April 12, 1973, while downtown Washington and Baltimore received less than 0.1 of an inch.
Farther north and inland, spring snow becomes more common, even into the month of May.
On May 6, 1989, 0.2 of an inch of snow managed to sneak into Cincinnati, Ohio, as a cool storm passed over the Great Lakes.
On May 10, 1977, a massive wintry storm pummeled New England. While inland locations such as Worcester, Massachusetts, received over a foot of snow, half an inch was recorded at Boston-Logan Airport. This was the first May snow in Boston during all of the previous 107 years of official records.
Official records in Chicago have Boston beat by a single day - on May 11, 1966, 0.2 of an inch of snow was observed at Chicago's Midway Airport. This same storm brought a couple of inches to suburban areas, followed by heavy rain and widespread flooding.
Interestingly, on June 2, 1910, snow was also observed in downtown Chicago, though it did not stick.
Despite light snowfall (totaling 0.1 of an inch) on May 20, 1901, Vice President Theodore Roosevelt opened the Pan American Exposition in Buffalo, New York, showcasing the city's new technology and electricity use that was ahead of its time.
Even this did not exceed a date set soon after records started being kept in Detroit. A storm dipping through Michigan in May 1883 deposited 5 inches of snow in downtown Detroit on the 21 and 22, with 2.7 inches falling on May 22 alone. In Lima, just outside of Ann Arbor, Michigan, 15 inches of snow was recorded.
While 0.1 and 0.5 of an inch of snow is not impressive in its own right, it becomes impressive with the knowledge that it fell in Minneapolis and Pittsburgh, respectively, as a strong storm swung around the Great Lakes from May 24-25, 1925.
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