Late April is starting to feel more like mid-winter for many parts of the U.S. this week. The Great Lakes and Northeast woke up to snow on Thursday morning and for some, it was actually the fourth day in a row of the wintry weather.
Since Sunday, it has snowed in at least 23 states, as far south as New Mexico, according to the national snow analysis from the National Weather Service. Northern Minnesota and Wisconsin have been seeing snow all week, but are finally getting a reprieve on Thursday (if you can call temperatures in the 30s a reprieve).
The Yankees played in Detroit on Wednesday night as flakes flew. After Yankees player Jacoby Ellsbury got hit square in the chest by a pitch, he likened it to “a frozen snowball.”
Looking at the typical last day of snow in these areas, this isn’t totally unheard of. But it was a long, cold winter so it’s not hard to understand why people are at least mildly annoyed.
According to an analysis by FiveThirtyEight of the last day of snow in the largest 25 U.S. cities, Detroit, Cleveland, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, and Denver all have a decent shot of seeing snow in mid-to-late April. Denver’s median last day of snow is actually in late April, and snowy days often linger well into May.
Wednesday’s Mid-Atlantic cold front blasted the high elevations of western Maryland with snow, which we watched on traffic cameras with dismay as it quickly coated the ground.
AccuWeather’s Jesse Ferrell shared this depressingly cold image on Facebook showing observations of snow stretched from the Arctic Circle into Pennsylvania. The colors in his graphic indicate temperature, notably that 41 states saw temperatures in the 30s or lower at 7 a.m. Thursday morning, and 37 states saw below freezing temps.
Most of the snow in the Northeast on Thursday is lake-effect enhanced, but can be attributed to a persistently parked upper level low pressure area that has been spinning over the Great Lakes for the past week, shooting off smaller weather disturbances and their associated cold fronts.
The stagnant upper-level low is expected to push off to the east over the next day or two, but will be quickly replaced by new troughs lined up behind it. In fact, cooler than average conditions are forecast to set up over the eastern U.S. for the next couple of weeks, while the west will likely see warmer than average temperatures. The warm West, cool East pattern is something we saw dig in its heels for most of this past winter.