Zach’s Weather Whys: A history of snow in April

Zach's Weather Whys

PEORIA, Ill. — April showers bring May flowers, but sometimes April snow showers dump a slushy mess on central Illinois.

So if you’re one of the people who traded in your lawnmower for the snowblower, or had to bust out the ice scraper, just remember this doesn’t happen very often. Many parts of central Illinois wracked up five or more inches from the 2019 palm sunday snowstorm.

For Peoria, the most snow to ever fall in a single day in the month of April is six inches, back in 1938. The biggest Peoria April snowstorm on record clobbered the city with over 13 inches back in the 1980’s. 

The most recent snowy episode lands at number seven in the top 10 snowiest Aprils ever. A question on many people’s minds is, why is spring snow so slushy? 

Slush is just snow that has started to melt, making it very wet and heavy. It has a lot to do with temperature. Sometimes when snow comes down in the spring, it’s not your typical winter cold. 

The air temperature just above the surface is usually above freezing, even closer to 40 degrees, which starts the melting process right before reaching the ground. 

And since there is more water in the snow, the final product is mushier and wetter. 

Also, the temperature of the road and ground plays a role: Snow hits the roadways, warms up and starts to melt. It’s no doubt that slushy snow can make for a slippery and messy commute, and you still need to drive with caution as if it’s the dead of winter. 

Whether you’re a fan of springtime snow, or you’re ready for summer, central Illinois is always full of surprises. 

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