The Ottumwa Courier

Southeast Iowa

May 3, 2013

Freak snowstorm breaks records

OTTUMWA — Southeast Iowa thought it was ready for an early spring. Didn't the groundhog promise one?

Phil did, back in February, but there was dissension among the groundhogs making forecasts. And Phil was wrong. After a wet, cold March and an April that wasn't much better, May began with a freak snowstorm.

The snow, which set records throughout Iowa, isn't unprecedented. Iowans have gotten snow this late in the season (and occasionally even later). But what's different is the amount.

Most May snowfalls are light, barely measurable events, not storms that cause school delays and bring the snowplows out of hibernation. This storm didn't follow those rules.

North-central Iowa was hardest hit, but this part of the state wasn't spared. Most of the area saw at least an inch of snow. Many residents saw more.

If there is a bit of good news, its that there's a considerable difference between how much snow had fallen on southeast Iowa and how much was actually on the ground. The ground temperatures have risen above freezing, meaning much of the snow was melting quickly.

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