There’s Snow in Michigan in May and That’s Not Really Unusual
If April showers bring May flowers, then what does May snow bring? Consternation? Anxiety? Snowfall in Michigan in the month of May is unexpected, but maybe not as crazy as you might think.
From Less Than an Inch to 18 Inches
The calendar says May, but the forecast calls for snow. How much snowfall we could get varies widely depending on where you are, of course, but there's no denying we're in for precipitation that could fall in flake form.
In Southern Michigan, rain and snow could develop this evening (5/1), transition to all snow overnight, and then mix once again with rain on /Tuesday. Total snow accumulation is expected to be less than an inch.
But it's a different story in Northern Michigan.
According to the National Weather Service, parts of Michigan's Upper Peninsula are under a Winter Storm Warning through Tuesday (5/2) at 11 am. Residents of Baraga and Marquette Counties can expect six to 18 inches of snow, which could make travel difficult and even cause power outages.
The Biggest May Snowfall in Southern Michigan
While the Lower Peninsula historically hasn't seen as much snow as Michigan's beautiful north, there have been some doozies in Southern Michigan.
By far the biggest snowfall in Lower Michigan happened in 1923 when the Flint area saw 12 inches of snow on May 9. That storm produced record-breaking snowfall with cities such as Muskegon, Detroit, Bay City, and Lansing all getting between five and 11.5 inches of snowfall.
Mlive reports that Flint has seen six snowy day sin May since the National Weather Service began keeping track. Detroit and Saginaw have recorded eight while Lansing and Grand Rapids have each had 10.
May Snow in Recent Years
May of 2020 is now on record for being one of the snowiest Mays, tied for the fourth snowiest May on record.
And the Record Goes to May 22
And let's not forget the latest snowfall in May. In 2016, the Metro Detroit area recorded a trace of snow at Metro airport on May 14 and 15. That, however, is not a record. In order to track the latest snowfall in the month of May, we have to go all the way back to 1883 when five inches of snow blanketed the Detroit area on May 21 and 22, making May 22nd as the latest date for measurable snowfall in the state of Michigan.