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Epic Mother’s Day Cold Snap Leads to Records, Snow

10 May 2020, 9:22 am

Mother Nature wasn’t messing around with the cold across parts of the Great Lakes, Midwest and Northeast on Mother’s Day.

Widespread record cold temperatures and bitterly cold air for mid-May led to a frosty look of things on Sunday morning, and that even came with more than a handful of reports of snowfall.

First things first, though: take a look at just some of the record low temperatures that were shattered on Sunday morning with this unseasonably late cold snap:

That’s a wide swath of geography covered by Sunday morning’s record lows, stretching from parts of the South all the way north into the Great Lakes, and east to the Atlantic coastline. This is due to true Arctic air spinning south from northern Canada, an offshoot of the so-called polar vortex. That dragged in a deep upper trough of low pressure, and unseasonably cold air for this time of year.

But of course, it wasn’t just cold that was part of the equation on Mother’s Day weekend. Snow fluttered across the skies of the Northeast and Midwest on both Saturday and Sunday, leading to record snowfall amounts for some.

Across the East Coast, a handful of snow squalls gave the second week of May a more February-like feel on Saturday afternoon and evening. For more on Saturday’s snow across the East, Meteorologist Meredith Garofalo has more here.


In parts of northern Minnesota and Wisconsin, as much as three inches of snow fell. Most of this came late Saturday night and Sunday.

What a wintry sight for Mother’s Day!

The good news: the snow and cold should gradually moderate this week. By next weekend, there are hints that temperatures should be running above average for this time of year, meaning places that dropped at or below freezing on Sunday could spike up into the 70s or 80s in just a few days.

Stay with WeatherNation for the latest on the cold, snow and unseasonably chilly air across the East on Mother’s Day.

About the author
Chris doesn't remember a time when that he didn't love the weather. When he was five years old, he wrote his first words, "Partly cloudy", in Ms. Benn's kindergarten class. According to Chris, it's been a love affair ever since, from teaching himself how to read forecast models at age 12, to landing at WeatherNation. Growing up in Greenwich, Connecticut, he started to go after his lifelong drea... Load Morem of becoming a meteorologist by predicting whether or not there would be snow days - turning him into Greenwich High School's "defacto weatherman". He turned that snow day-predicting website into a front page story a local newspaper, which in turn earned him a look at WABC-TV in New York, where Chris did the weather live on-air at the age of 16. He attended Boston University, where he continued being a "weather nerd", performing weather updates on the campus radio and TV stations, and doing the daily forecasts for the student newspaper. Following his studies at BU, Chris worked at Mile High Sports and ESPN Denver for four years while pursuing his certification in Broadcast Meteorology from Mississippi State University. Chris is a huge sports fan, rooting for the Rockies, Nuggets, Broncos, Avalanche and UConn. He frequently find links between sports and weather, including an investigative analysis he did in 2013, finding trends between Peyton Manning's play and game time temperature (he doesn't like the cold). Chris also enjoys running, playing any sport, socializing and periodically overeating at all-you-can-eat buffets.

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