A storm system is projected to dump a record-breaking snow in Kansas City, Missouri, as areas in the central U.S. receive winter precipitation “rare” for the month of May, according to the National Weather Service.
Parts of Kansas City may get 1 inch (2.54 centimeters) to 3 inches of snow with the heaviest precipitation in the northern and western areas and less further east, Mike July, a meteorologist at the service, said by telephone from Kansas City. Most of the snow will come overnight as temperatures cool off and the system strengthens, he said.
Kansas City’s last measurable snow during the fifth month of the year occurred on May 3, 1907, with 1.7 inches, July said. While there were probably other instances of “a few flakes,” the weather service, which has data back to 1888, doesn’t record that, he said. Snow anywhere in Missouri this month is “a very rare event,” July said. The weather service is expecting snow all the way up to the Iowa-Missouri border, along the I-35 corridor, he said.
A system developing across the central U.S. may bring 6 inches to 8 inches of snow across parts of the central Great Plains and the upper Midwest today, and some areas may get more than 12 inches, according to a report on the weather service’s website. The snow will continue overnight and taper off tomorrow afternoon, the service said.
Iowa may get 4 inches to 6 inches of snow, and parts of northern Wisconsin may see 8 inches to 10 inches by tomorrow afternoon, said Jim Keeney, the deputy chief for weather services at the central region headquarters for the National Weather Service.
“The further north you go, this happens somewhat more often where we have May snows, but this amount of snow potential is more of a rarity,” Keeney, who is based in Kansas City, said in a telephone interview. “These areas picking up 8-plus inches is fairly significant for this early spring season.”
The western third of Kansas had 1 inch to as much as 6 inches of snow as of this morning, Keeney said. From western Iowa through northwestern Wisconsin, there was 1 inch to as high as 15 inches of snow with the larger amounts in small sections of southeastern Minnesota and northwestern parts of Wisconsin, he said.
The cold spell is threatening to damage wheat crops in the region that farmers will begin harvesting next month, after unusually dry and frigid weather since March. About 75 producers, grain traders and agronomists have been examining fields in Kansas and northern Oklahoma as part of an annual wheat tour. A separate group of agronomists and crop consultants toured Oklahoma fields on April 29 and 30.
This is the first time in his 21 years on the wheat tour that it has snowed, said Ben Handcock, the executive vice president of the Pierre, South Dakota-based Wheat Quality Council. Kansas is the biggest winter-wheat grower in the U.S.
Planalytics, a Berwyn, Pennsylvania-based weather forecaster, cut its U.S. winter-wheat yield forecast to 43 bushels an acre, compared with 47.2 bushels a year earlier, according to its report to clients on April 29, citing damage from drought and freezing temperatures.
Winter-wheat conditions were rated 33 percent good or excellent as of April 28, compared with 35 percent on April 21 and 64 percent a year earlier, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in a report on April 29.
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