Snow in May?

Snow in March? Normal. Snow in April? Not unheard of. Snow in May? “Exceedingly rare,” according to one meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Springfield.

Not only did snow fall on Friday morning, May 3, in Carthage, it was one of the heaviest snowfalls in two years and definitely one of the most damaging since the February 2011 blizzard.
Carthage Water and Electric Superintendent Chuck Bryant said his crews responded to several reports of power outages across Carthage Friday morning and into the day as up to three inches of heavy, wet snow brought tree limbs down on power lines across the city.

“We were hoping for a light dusting of snow, but we were prepared for the heavier snow we got,” Bryant said Friday afternoon. “Most of the damage was to lines from the transformers to the homes, lines that the homeowner is responsible for. Where we saw the most damage was by trees on the customers' side of the lines.”

Bryant said in those cases, the homeowner had to bring in an electrician to repair damaged weather heads or meters before CW&EP crews could reconnect the lines.

Tree limbs also fell on roadways, vehicles and homes in a few places across Carthage and Jasper County.

Carthage City Council Member Ed Hardesty had to pull a tree limb off his truck in front of his home on Wiggins Street and remove it from the road before driving to work Friday morning. Hardesty said he couldn't find any damage to the truck.

National Weather Service Meteorologist John Gagan, with the office at the Springfield airport, called snow in May in Southwest Missouri, “Exceedingly rare.”

Gagan said the weather service has been officially measuring snowfall in the Joplin area for only a few years.

In Springfield, however, records go back for almost a century.

“The last time we had even a trace of snowfall in Springfield in May was May 6, 1946, that was the last time we saw even a flake, and that was just a trace,” Gagan said. “The last time we had any measurable snowfall in May in Springfield was May 2, 1929.”

Gagan said amounts of two to three inches of snow were common along the Interstate 49 corridor from McDonald County to the Kansas City area.

The snow was very light on the western side of Jasper County, in Carl Junction, but it got heavier as one traveled east of Oronogo and Webb City until you got to Carthage, where between two and three inches could be measured on the ground Friday morning.

Gagan said the snow was heavier in the south and eastern Kansas City suburbs, where five to six inches of snow was recorded.

Gagan said the weather service received reports of sporadic power outages because of tree limbs falling on lines in the Stockton and Osceola areas as well.