Snow in Canaan Valley, W. Va., on Sunday. (Josh Brenneman via Robert Leffler)

A cold rain turned to snow in the highest reaches of the Central and Southern Appalachians this weekend. The greening terrain regressed to midwinter form as up to six inches accumulated.

Known locally as a “blackberry winter,” the late spring snowstorm surprised many in an area that just days before was basking in sweet southern sunshine and blackberry blossoms.

It’s not uncommon for a few flakes to fly in the high terrain of the Appalachians during May, or even for a light coating to accumulate. But the amount of snow that fell in some locations was unusual so late in the season.

Six inches piled up on the summit of Mount Le Conte, Tenn. (elevation 6,594 feet), making it the second snowiest day in May on record, according to Brad Panovich, a meteorologist in Charlotte. Route 441, that cuts across Great Smoky Mountains National Park, was closed briefly due to snow and ice.

ICYMI: This was Mt LeConte Lodge yesterday when it received 6" of snow. This is the 2nd highest May total on record for them. Last year they got about 3.5" on this same date. #tnwx #snOMG

Posted by Brad Panovich Meteorologist on Sunday, May 7, 2017

Snow was reported up the spine of the Appalachians with trace amounts measured in several locations in the North Carolina high country, including Mount Mitchell and the ski resorts around Boone.

Robert Leffler, a retired National Weather Service employee, said in an email that Snowshoe, W.Va. received 1.5 inches and Canaan Valley up to 3 inches depending on elevation.


Snow in Canaan Valley, W.Va., on Sunday. (Josh Brenneman via Robert Leffler)

Canaan Valley weather observer Dave Lesher reported 2.3 inches at his location (elevation 3,715 feet). It marked the greatest amount he’s observed in May since keeping records in 2001-02.


Snow in Canaan Valley, W.Va., on Sunday. (Josh Brenneman via Robert Leffler)

Snow was also reported in Garret County in Western Maryland.

But, with the high sun angle this time of year, the snow was mostly a memory by Sunday afternoon.

The snow was made possible by a deep pool of cold air at high altitudes, part of a weird jet stream pattern bringing unusual weather to many parts of the Northern Hemisphere.

Photos

High Ground 5/7/17

Posted by The Allegheny Mountain Region on Sunday, May 7, 2017

Bald Knob at Canaan Wv 5/7/17

Posted by The Allegheny Mountain Region on Sunday, May 7, 2017

Early morning at Canaan Heights 5/7/17

Posted by The Allegheny Mountain Region on Sunday, May 7, 2017

(Jason Samenow contributed to this post.)