Wintry throwback on Wednesday will break a record in Rochester

Projected snowfall between tonight and Wednesday night

Say it ain’t….snow! One look at the above map of projected snowfall for our area between tonight and tomorrow will likely evoke a number of reactions. Shuddering, for example, seems to come to mind as to what one reaction may be. Upon one thing Rochesterians can agree: we’re ready to move on from winter and make moves into spring!

In my blog last week, I discussed the importance of being patient with the turning of the seasons with respect to spring plantings and gardening given that frosts and freezes, historically, are still bound to happen.

But frosts and freezes aren’t the only throwbacks to colder days this time of the year. So are snowfalls. And while some spring snowfalls are arguably paltry, there are others that are much more impactful. There are even some that we will never forget.

Take another look at the map above. The snowfall that’s ahead is more than just respectable for this stage of April. In fact, in all likelihood, it will be record breaking for Wednesday’s date.

The record daily snowfall for April 21 is 1.5″ set in 1978. We will likely have more than 1.8″ of snowfall just by lunchtime Wednesday in the city with snow ongoing at that time. Ultimately, this means at the end of the day not just a record setting snowfall, but a record shattering snowfall.

Besides breaking a record, keep in mind that the combination of pasty wet snow and trees starting to bud or even produce leaves will put undue weight on those trees causing some limbs to give way. A few power lines may also come down causing isolated outages. Bottom line: This is NOT the kind of snow you want to have to shovel given how water laden it will be.

So how does tomorrow’s wintry replay stack up? Here are the numbers.

Late season snowfalls in Rochester (defined as happening after April 15 going back to 1926)

Note just how many impactful snowfalls we’ve seen right around this time in April! In fact, going 95 years, it seems like some of winter’s last gasps have a tendency to happen around…April 21st. Also note the two snowfalls of April 1983. That April was particularly snowy with more than 12 inches of snowfall recorded by month’s end.

Nothing however beats what happened here in May of 1989. If you were here for this snowfall, you probably still talk about it to this very day. Typically, the first weekend of May has most in Rochester thinking about taking in all the sights, smells, and sounds associated with the Lilac Festival at Highland Park which showcases dozens of varieties of lilacs. On that first weekend of May 1989, instead of being showered by flower blossoms, we were showered by snowflakes. And quite a few of them. Nearly 11″ of pasty wet snow fell in Rochester. It was enough to cause the famous Festival Tent at Highland Park to collapse!

The good news about all of this as you watch the flakes fall on Wednesday is that although spring snows happen in Rochester, they don’t last very long. After all, it is…spring!

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