Tag Archives: Ice Age

Snow in May?!?

Papers on May Snow

It may be spring, but winter weather has hit parts of the country, including Iowa. The Des Moines Register provided a bit of historical background on snow in the month of May.

Snow in May?!?

Unfortunately, yes.

I just checked the weather conditions in Colo, Iowa, where I lived as a youngster. It is 34° and feels like 22°, with a light snow falling. Oddly, it is warmer in South Dakota.

Thankfully I live in the great Pacific Northwest, where spring has been sprung for weeks.

Where the air isn’t as mild, the weather is much harsher and less predictable, which must have been hard on previous generations, particularly farmers.

In 1882, a ‘double’ snow hit Iowa City. I had many relatives living near there at the time. There was about an inch of snow on May 12, with snowfall across parts of southeastern Iowa.

On May 23, the town of Washington, even closer to where some ancestors lived, reported four to six inches of snow. Des Moines had about half an inch. Parts of the the southeastern quarter of the state also received snow.

Most of my ancestors were farmers, so the snow must have been discouraging.

In 1907, the eruption of a volcano in Russia was at least partially to blame for a cold spring. Snow fell across all of the Midwest on May 3, with amounts ranging up to 1.2 inches at Des Moines. On May 15, light snow fell across much of the state.

In 1947, on the late date of May 28, there was snow across the north and west and light snow over most of the state. This is the latest spring snowfall on record in Iowa. One town had ten inches.