1984: A late season snowfall occurred across portions of northwestern Iowa where reported amounts included 5.8 inches at Le Mars, 6.0 inches at Pocahontas, Sioux Center, and Storm Lake, 7.0 inches at Emmetsburg, Galva, and Lake Park, and 8.0 inches at Holstein.
1956: A late season winter storm produced heavy snow over northwestern Iowa with an amazing 11.0 inches reported at Lake Park, making this the latest date of the year on which more than 10 inches of snow has fallen anywhere in Iowa. Other snowfall amounts included 8.6 inches at Sheldon, 8.0 inches at Rock Rapids, 7.0 inches at Sibley, 6.0 inches at Emmetsburg, and 5.0 inches at Hawarden and Spencer.
1907: A very warm March was followed by an exceptionally cold and snowy late spring with Des Moines experiencing its coldest April and coldest May on record and statewide snowfalls occurring well into May. This sudden shift was likely caused by the powerful eruption of the volcano Ksudach in eastern Russia in late March of 1907, which threw ash high into the atmosphere partially blocking incoming sunlight for several months. Temperatures plunged during the first week of April and the month ended with a winter storm on the 28th-30th. The storm began late on the 28th with freezing rain and sleet in the north and rain elsewhere, then the precipitation gradually changed over through freezing rain and sleet to snow across southern and eastern Iowa late on the 29th with the snow ending early on the morning of the 30th. The warm weather earlier in the spring had resulted in an early growth of crops and vegetation, maximizing damage from the cold temperatures and ice at the end of April. At Des Moines an amazing 8.0 inches of snow fell in less than 24 hours on the 29th-30th. At Mount Ayr freezing rain produced a sheet of ice a quarter of an inch thick on all surfaces which was then covered with 5.0 inches of snow. At Leon an inch of snow fell with substantial damage to fruit trees under a thick glaze of ice. At Olin 5 or 6 inches of snow fell and snow banks were still observed on the north sides of buildings at sunset on May 3rd. To put into perspective the extreme nature of this event, the storm total snowfall of 8.0 inches at Des Moines is by far the highest on record for that location so late in the spring, with the next-highest amounts being 1.2 inches which fell just a few days later in 1907, and 1.0 inches which fell on April 30th, 1960. In fact, only once has a higher snowfall amount ever been recorded anywhere in the state on a later date, and that was the unbelievable storm of May 28, 1947 (highest amount 10.0 inches at Le Mars).
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This post was written by Schnack on April 29, 2013