Where Do Winter Storms Track Once Spring has Arrived?

Steven Agar | | WeatherWeather
This map shows how much snow typically falls between April 1 and June 30 in the United States, based on NOAA/NCDC climatological averages from 1981-2017. Credit: Dr. Brian Brettschneider

Even though April is the second month of meteorological spring, it is still common for winter storms to bring snow or ice to parts of the United States. In fact, in the last four winters, there have been seven named winter storms after April 1, three of which developed in May reports the Weather Channel.

Climatologist Dr. Brian Brettschneider of the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, using climatological average data from 1981-2017, compiled the map above, which shows how much snow typically falls between April 1 and June 30 in the United States.

In an average spring, more than a foot of snow falls across much of the Rockies and in the highest elevations of the Cascades and Sierra Nevada after April 1. This is because mountain locations are significantly colder than the lower elevations of the West, so any storm system that sweeps across the region has the potential to produce snow.

Six or more inches of snow typically accumulates after April 1 near the Canadian border in the upper Mississippi Valley and northern Great Lakes, as well as in far northern New England, far upstate New York, the high country of western Maryland and adjacent portions of eastern West Virginia.

Blue dots represent locations that have seen more than 12 inches of snow between April 1 and June 30 in their historical weather records. Credit: Dr. Brian Brettschneider

A broad swath of the lower terrain of the Mountain West, the northern Plains, upper Midwest, interior Northeast, and the Appalachians can see a few inches of additional snowfall in April and May. In Alaska, much of the 49th state can expect to see several inches of new snow April through June.

spring, storm, boulder
A dog enjoys the heavy snow from Winter Storm Vexo in the Boulder, Colorado, area on April 17, 2016. Boulder received 18.3 inches of snow April 16-17, 2016. Credit: Bob Henson

The latest named winter storm occurred May 18-19, 2017, when Winter Storm Valerie dumped more than 40 inches of snow in parts of the Rockies.

In 2016, two winter storms occurred in April. Winter Storm Ursula brought moderate to heavy snow to portions of New England and New York state April 4-5, 2016. Less than two weeks later, Winter Storm Vexo dumped heavy snow in the Rockies and adjacent northern High Plains April 15-18, 2016.

Check out the full article for further details of the other named storms.

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