Mother's Day snowstorm: Is it weird to get snow this late?

A blizzard that was moving into the northern Midwest on Saturday night was slated to drop as much as two feet of snow on the Dakotas. Is it unusual to get snow this late in the spring?

Chris Huber/Rapid City Journal/AP
Josyah Puckett, 6, helps clear off his driveway on Fairmont Boulevard Sunday morning in Rapid City, S.D. after the Black Hills were hit with a large snowstorm. Some parts of Rapid City saw 10 inches of snow by Sunday morning with more forecast throughout the day.

For most of the United States, spring has arrived. But there remain some parts where winter has yet to give up its grasp.

On Saturday night, snow blanketed Colorado, Wyoming, and South Dakota, canceling a game at Coors Field and caused a 70-car accident near Cheyenne, Wyo.

It’s never too late to snow here,"  Terry Aron, of the Flying J truck stop along Interstate 90 in South Dakota told the Grand Forks (N.D.) Herald. "I’m used to it.”

Rick Krolak, a meteorology technician at the Bismarck office of the National Weather Service told the Herald that the unusually late storm is due to a “Colorado low," a low-pressure pattern that develops near Colorado on the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains.

“We usually get more of these in April,” Mr. Krolak told the Herald. “But I guess in North Dakota we really aren’t safe until June.

So how common are post-winter snow storms and where are they most likely to occur? 

According to WeatherUnderground.com, the state that receives the most unseasonable snow is Wyoming, with much of the state having had measurable snowfall after June 1 over the years. Of the lower 48 states, Wyoming on average receives the latest snowfall as it is fairly common to get snow after April 22. In some parts of the state, it can snow past May 5. 

Alaska consistently gets late snow as well, with much of the state getting measurable snowfall after April 22, and more than half the state has had measurable snow after May 5 in select years. 

The latest snow on record may have occurred on June 11, 1842  when a storm dropped roughly a foot of snow on parts of New York and Vermont, the Washington Post reported. Snowflakes were observed from Boston and as far west as Cleveland, according to Weather Underground.

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