16 Apr 2018
Blizzard, freezing rain, flood, tornado – current aspects of spring in the US and Canada.
We expect tornadoes in a US spring and we have seen a few, most recently in Florida and North Carolina and occasionally along an active cold front in the eastern states.
We don’t expect snow, let alone with a blizzard, sweeping down from Wyoming and Colorado, across the Plains and into the Midwest. But that happened over the weekend, leaving a trail of record events.
Sioux Falls, South Dakota, collected 35cm of snow on Saturday, making it the heaviest one-day April snow total on record in the city.
Minneapolis-Saintt Paul measured a fall of 38cm, making it the greatest April snowfall on record there.
This winter storm also pushed Minneapolis-Saint Paul to its snowiest April on record.
In Wisconsin, Green Bay racked up another record-breaking total with just under 60cm of snow.
This ranks not only as the city’s heaviest April storm but also the second-heaviest snowstorm on record.
Then there is freezing rain – rain that freezes on contact with cars, wires, trees and roads.
The weight of the resultant ice weighs down power lines and poles to the point of breakage.
It turns roads into ice rinks and it you leave your car parked, you won’t be able to get into it, through the layer of ice.
Freezing rain was reported in Indiana, Michigan and Minnesota.
Lowville, New York recorded 2.5cm.
The border town of Niagara Falls, in Canada, saw an ice layer of 3 or 4cm cover vehicles and the Niagara Parkway.
In Toronto, the ice storm caused hundreds of collisions, over 300 flight cancellations and left almost 20,000 people without power.
Another 20cm of snow is still due in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Maine and there is already a flood risk, with warnings, to follow.
Nor is the freezing rain finished, it marches on through New Brunswick, southern Quebec, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.
This is not the end of winter. More snow is forecast for the Dakotas on the US northern Plains and across the Midwest, on Wednesday.
Further reporting by Weather Underground, Environment Canada and CBC