Archived Story

Editorial: What in the world was that?

Published 9:47am Friday, May 3, 2013


Why won’t winter give up and let the pleasant, warm, sometimes wet weather of spring come in?

Is it El Niño? La Niña? The North Atlantic Oscillation?

Nope, says Adam Fred Frederick, chief meteorologist at KIMT-TV, the Albert Lea Tribune’s weather partner.

He said a perfect-storm scenario brought the May snowstorm on Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

A cold front stalled because a stationary high-pressure system to the east prevented it from moving eastward and — as is typical of spring snowstorms — that stalling allowed cold air to drop down from the north and produce snow along a thin band, primarily from Albert Lea to Owatonna to Hastings. These places received a foot of snow or more, while cities to the east or west of that band an inch or two, or at most 5 inches.

So for cities in the band, it snowed and snowed and snowed. Big, wet, heavy flakes.

“We just happened to be the lucky ones,” Frederick said.

When the system moved on Thursday afternoon, suddenly it felt like spring again, except with snow on the ground. The sun came out, but then it snowed again this morning. What a bummer.

Following the drought conditions the region endured through 2012, moisture is good for the soil. However, farmers need a dry spell to plant. We’re supposed to get more rain this weekend, but from Sunday to Friday looks to be decently dry weather for planting crops, even if the fields are still rather muddy. That’s why tractors have big wheels.