May 1-2, 2013 Historic Eastern Nebraska Snowfall

How rare is eastern Nebraska accumulating snowfall in May? Really rare. Here are the numbers for Omaha dating back to 1884! 4 reports, all 2 inches or less. Omaha would end up with 3 inches. Here, only 20 miles north of Omaha we wind up with 6! A truly historic event. And really it should have been well over a foot the way it came down and how long it came down like it did. The thing was, the air temp was always above freezing, actually several degrees even. So it melted and compacted the entire time. The ground was also warm and attacking it from below. Yet we managed 6 inches of snow in freaking May. I of course had to be sure to document the event.

1 2.0 5/91945

2 1.3 5/3/1907

3 1.0 5/3 1967

4 0.2 5/1/1911

It's supposed to be severe weather season, but that is nowhere to be found still. Managed one lightning bolt a couple nights before the May snow. I believe the last 12 months is now the lowest ever for tornadoes. It's gone from extreme heat and drought to this endless cold. Really went from hottest to coldest in one year.

Evening of May 1st. The profile aloft early would be for sleet. Below freezing well aloft. Then a good size area below that going above freezing, which would turn snow into rain. Then below that was a nice sized area below freezing, which would refreeze the rain into sleet. Then the area nearest the ground would be above freezing but not too tall as to melt the sleet back into rain. Surface air temps would never go below freezing the whole event.

The models were really quite good showing that warm layer aloft cooling down to support snow to the surface here. They were showing that happening here before the heaviest precip band they were also showing. Just a very deep cold layer this time of year behind the cold front, which was well south. Strong upper low was still hanging back west and yet to come out over the cold dome.

The trick was getting the change over before most of the heavy precip had happened. It was already quite the rainy day here. But by late afternoon we were getting sleet. Couple hours, later quite a lot of snow mixing in. Then quickly just all snow. Meanwhile Omaha was still getting mostly rain with some sleet. This transition zone was very small and not moving much.

The strangest and most obvious thing saying this was a bizarre event was the amount of daylight. It doesn't get dark till like 9pm now. It just felt so off to be playing in the snow at 7-8-9pm and it not having been night/dark for hours already.

After dark the heavy precip band had really setup over us and it was now 100% snow, heavy snow. It's May!

Took some work to get my car to this spot in town. Wouldn't go up the one side, so had to go around and try to get a run up the other.

Had I realized this sign had the odd multiple layers to that deal, I'd have gotten a better photo of that. Just shooting out my windshield as I drove around town. It's strange it looks like the snow slid on the snow. Think one just sees that backwards from what is happening. Actually building out higher up, then all sinking more.

Welcome to the history books! Rapidly flying past old records now.

I was having a complete blast just tooling around town in it. It was a great snow storm for any time of year, but it's MAY! Most years we'd have leaves on trees a while ago now. Luckily we were really late for that and few trees have leaves, most have barely budded yet.

Badly timed the wipers. But it was snowing like crazy now so I included the shot.

The next morning I woke up early and drove to Fort Calhoun, towards Omaha, to see if they did any better. The band lasted a little longer over them but they didn't change as soon. From what I could tell, they had a couple inches less than we did. It was also windy on this one, maybe helping blow some of the snow off branches. But you can see what happened to trees that had any leaves. This could have been so so bad if more trees had any leaves.

Back in Blair at the city park. When I got done the night before around 11pm, everything looked amazing with snow stuck to it. Not by morning, unless it was out of the wind. The above freezing air being driven in the wind helped melt stuff not on the ground and well on the ground too obviously.

Went over to Desoto for a bit. Found a bird. Harrier probably. Hard to stop a car fast when the road has snow on it. I was probably still sliding when I snapped this one lol.

Hills outside of town. I felt pretty cool being able to get a Mitsubishi Eclipse where I got it on this road lol. Started on it and quickly thought, no way I can make this.

6 inches now. I'd have to imagine more like 7 or so when it stopped, before it compacted and melted all night long.

May 2, 2013.

There is a line of trees near here that must have helped protect this area a bit from the melting warmer winds. I seem to recall the temp at 6 a.m. being 36 or 37.

So bizarre playing in deep snow in May here.

I haven't built a snowman in maybe 2 decades lol. It shows. I made the 4 balls and noticed he was a leaner. He's over 6 feet fwiw. I kept packing snow in the lean side thinking I could save him. I stuck the two sticks in for arms in a way it looked like he was reaching up, as to grab something. I then stuck my hat on him. I thought, I better snap a photo now before he falls over. As I'm lifting the camera up he goes straight on over and crashes to the ground. I was at least quick enough to decide to snap a shot. He's not resting/leaning on anything, he's falling. I was not motivated enough to try that again and instead focused on making a huge snow roller. Thought I could make a big one, then push it off the hill edge to get even bigger. But I made it too big to finish getting it to the hill. Once I had it in motion I just made sure it kept going. Went right into a tree on the hill. It was at least 3 feet across. Tried another one of those, starting closer to the hill edge. Soon as I get it going over the edge it crumbles apart. I was seriously warn out now. I'd been out from 5pm to 11pm the night before and then 6 a.m. to after noon on this day. I would drive to the Badlands the very next day at 3pm, get there at 9pm, shoot till 3:30 a.m. then drive straight back home lol. Talk about worn the hell out after all that. That account here: May 4, 2013 Canon 6D and Samyang 24 F1.4 Badlands Milky Way and Zodiacal Light

By the way, by the end of this day, May 2nd, it pretty much looked like no snow happened. Everything all green and free of snow.

Some video here shot with the Canon 6D and Sigma 50mm.