While May snow in the Duluth area isn't unheard of, quantities like we've seen this year are on a much more rare level. Before we get to how May 2019's snow sits among all of our recorded weather history for the area, here is a little explanation behind what has been going on.

Simply put, we've written some history this year with our May snowfall. This morning on MIX 108; WDIO meteorologist Taylor Dayton explained we can, at least partially, thank February's record-breaking cold for this month's snow. He explained that the brutal cold this winter led to Lake Superior almost completely freezing over, which has led to overall colder water temperatures this spring. These colder water temperatures have worked in conjunction with other atmospheric factors to create the perfect scenario for significant late-season snow.

As for how May 2019's snow sits among our area's recorded weather history, here are some comparisons:

*NOTE: Duluth weather data is currently recorded on top the hill at the NWS office.

Total snowfall for the month

Our historical average for May snowfall in Duluth is 0.4 inches, while May 2019 has brought us a total of 13.3 inches so far. Hopefully we're done. The previous total snowfall record for the month of May in Duluth was 8.1 inches, set in 1954. This record was broken with one single snowfall event back on May 8-9.

Single-day snowfall record

Up until this year, the most snow Duluth had seen in a single day in May was 5.5 inches, back on May 10, 1902. Almost 117 years to the day, that record was broken. The 8.3 inches we got on May 8 as part of the May 8-9 snowstorm beat the previous record by 2.8 inches.

Daily snowfall totals

We've seen a series of daily snowfall records fall this month in Duluth. Here they are:

  • May 19 - 2.4 inches on May 20, 2019. Previous record was 0.2 inches in 1963.
  • May 9 - 2.3 inches on May 9, 2019. Previous record was 0.2 inches in 1990.
  • May 8 - 8.3 inches on May 8, 2019. Previous record was 5 inches in 1924.

What records haven't been beaten yet?

While there are, of course, daily snowfall totals that could be beaten every day through the end of the month, the one outstanding record is latest accumulating snow. The record for latest accumulating snow in Duluth was on May 28 back in 1965, when 0.4 inches fell. While I'm sure most people are hoping we're done for the season, but it isn't out of the question historically. Plus, the way this year is going, who knows.

The good news for the time being is that snow looks unlikely in the foreseeable future. Daytime highs are expected to be no colder than around 50 degrees through the end of the month, and overnight lows are expected to be no colder than around 40 degrees. As anyone that lives in the Twin Ports knows, things can change, though.