Snowflakes make another spring appearance


Today snowflakes and sleet once again interrupted the spring of 2018.

It should really come as no surprise in a year when 6 inches of snow was recorded on the first official day of spring.

But that March equinox total was last month. Snow in April is something more of a rarity.

Mike Wagner, an operations spokesman at the Jasper Wastewater Complex, where the city’s official weather readings are taken, says there is a good likelihood the plant will mark down a trace of snow when today’s readings are jotted down at midnight.

Jasper has an automatic rain gauge for precipitation readings but putting down snowfall totals can be tough, according to Wagner.

“We always get into it with each other down here because someone will say they had 4 inches at home and we’ll only have 2 inches here,” says Wagner, who usually settles matters by going outside with an operator on duty to take measurements with a ruler on concrete, grass and vehicles.

The Herald has been recording Jasper’s weather readings since the mid-1950s. The only later trace of snow on the books was the smattering of flakes on April 17, 2001.

The all-time latest measurable snow in Jasper was .10 of an inch on April 16, 1980. The snow record for April was the 1 inch on April 8, 1982.

Before today, the last time a trace of April snow was recorded in Jasper was April 6, 2007.

Other April snows on the books include .50 of an inch on April 10, 1973, and just under a tenth of an inch noted for April 2, 1972.

When it comes to events that aren’t in the books, Wagner has an easy time remembering one April snow that happened before local record keeping was in vogue.

His late parents, Joseph B. Wagner and the former Claretta Vogler, married April 18, 1953, in Holy Family Catholic Church and his mother always talked about there being snow on the ground.

“It snowed quite a bit that day,” Mike Wagner says. “They were shocked. I’ve seen pictures of the mounting snow accumulation. She always told us about that.”

True, according to Kyle Wilkins, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service’s Louisville office, there was .4 of an inch of snow in Louisville that very day, he said.

The latest measurable snow in Louisville was the 1 inch on May 6, 1898. But there was a trace of snow in the city on May 20, 1894, the same day Lexington had a 6-inch blanket of white, Wilkins said.

Last April in Jasper, there were six days with highs in the 80s and the average high was 71.2 degrees. So far this month, there have been five days with highs in the 40s, the average high is 58 degrees and, tonight, according to the National Weather Service, there is once again a local freeze warning.

Many people say they are tired of winter busting back into their spring.

“I hear that from everyone,” Wilkins says.

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