Low clouds hang through the tops of the skyscrapers as a spring storm sweeps over the metropolitan area Tuesday in Denver. The spring snowstorm that swept over the region Monday night into Tuesday dropped three to six inches of snow in the metropolitan area but up to a foot or more in the mountains. (David Zalubowski/AP)

Just days before the unofficial start of summer, Memorial Day weekend, Denver awoke to a blanket of wet, heavy snow Tuesday morning.

Denver International Airport officially picked up 3.4 inches of the white stuff, only the fifth time on record it has seen at least three inches this late in the season. It was the city’s latest inch or more of snow since 2001 and its biggest snow so late in the season in 44 years (since May 29, 1975, when 5.6 inches fell).

The average date of the last snow in Denver is April 27.

Mike Nelson, meteorologist for KMGH-TV in Denver, reported “popcorn-size snowflakes” falling Monday evening “In the nearly 30 years I’ve been doing this in the Denver area, this is by far the latest big storm that I’ve faced,” he said in a video posted to Twitter.

Before the snow came to Denver, a cold rain fell on Monday. In all, 1.01 inches of rain and melted snow fell in the city Monday, the most in a single day since May 18, 2017, according to the National Weather Service.

The precipitation came on the backside of the powerhouse storm that set off tornadoes and flash flooding in the southern Plains. The jet stream, along which storms track, took a big dive south over the western United States, allowing unseasonably cold air to spill into the Rockies. Denver saw the mercury drop to 31 degrees Tuesday morning, tying a record low for the date.

As the storm rounded the base of the jet stream and ejected into the Plains, it drew moisture from the Gulf of Mexico into the cold air, which resulted in the snowfall.

The Weather Service in Boulder reported up to 20 inches of snow in the higher terrain to the west of Denver.

Here are some photos and videos from Denver and elsewhere in Colorado . ..


Jennifer Saultz sweeps the snow off her bushes Tuesday outside her home on East Willamette Avenue in Colorado Springs, after a spring snowstorm left up to 19 inches of wet snow in parts of El Paso County. (Christian Murdock/Gazette/AP)

Dylan Totterdale, 14, clears the snow off the awning of an RV on Monday at the Gore Creek Campground in East Vail, Colo. (Chris Dillman/Vail Daily/AP)