There’s no getting around it’s been a wickedly cold spring in parts of the U.S. and Europe.
In the United Kingdom, this spring is the coldest in over 30 years (since 1979 according to the UK Met Office).
Leading into and over the Memorial Day weekend, the so-called unofficial start of summer, mother nature played her latest cruel joke, depositing snow in the Northeast U.S. and numerous European countries.
The reason for the recent surge of cold is the same as it’s been since March: meanders in the jet stream have carved out pools of unusually cold air flowing into many of the same locations.
The weather seems to have a memory some seasons and whereas last spring heat bubbles repeatedly inflated over the Midwest and eastern U.S., this year cold pools offer free refills.
Andrew Freedman of Climate Central tweeted that hardly five months through 2013 there have been more daily cold records established in the U.S. than in all of 2012.
There have been more daily record lows in U.S. so far this yr. compared to ALL of 2012. (Last yr. was hottest on record in U.S.)
— Andrew Freedman (@afreedma) May 28, 2013
The cold weather set the stage for heavy Memorial Day weekend snow in the mountainous Northeast. Sections of Whiteface mountain in the New York Adirondacks received an astonishing 24-34 inches of snow. And according to Weather Underground’s Christopher Burt, several elevated locations in Vermont received at least 4 inches of snow, including Jay Peak which was buried under 18 inches.
Closer to sea level, Binghamton and Syracuse received their latest trace amounts of snow on record Burt noted.
Examining some of these snowfall totals in a historical context, Burt reached the following conclusion:
We can say with some certainty that although this weekend’s snowfall is highly unusual for Upstate New York and New England it is not unprecedented historically (except for Whiteface Mountain!) and snowfalls of this magnitude at this time of the year occur about once every five to ten years or so above 4,000’ but are very rare below 1,000’. That being said the 24-34″ accumulation on Mt. Whiteface, New York is perhaps the greatest accumulation ever measured so late in the ‘season’ at any New York or New England location including Mt. Washington.
As for the late May snow in Europe, it was also quite rare. “Historic cycling race in Italy is halted by snow for the first time in 24 years,” exclaimed a headline in the Independent.
In addition to Italy, snow fell in high elevations of Portugal, Spain, France, Switzerland, Germany and Belgium.
With June around the corner, will unseasonably cold weather continue to punish parts of the U.S. and Europe? Indications are, at least for the early part of the month, the pattern reverses in the eastern U.S. with warm weather expected, but the cold pattern in Europe may remain stagnant.
Here are some photos of the recent snow from the U.S. and Europe.