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Arkansas' First Ever Occurrence of Snow in May

May 07, 2013; 8:33 AM

Since record-keeping began in 1819, Arkansas never had snow fall in May; that was until Friday.

Arkansas joined the list of places the recent rare May snowstorm made history, and restarted the climate change debate in the process.

As much as 5 inches of snow was recorded near Decatur, Ark., Friday morning. The snow was heavy enough to break small limbs off fruit trees.

Other snow totals measured across Arkansas Friday morning included 1.5 inches of snow at the Fayetteville Experiment Station, an inch at Compton, 0.1 of an inch at Harrison and a trace (non-measurable snow) at Mount Ida.

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Prior to Friday, the National Weather Service Office in Little Rock states that the latest appearance of snow in Arkansas was April 30, 1903, when a trace was reported at Harrison, Gravette and Fayetteville.

Corning, Ark., previously held the record for the latest occurrence of measurable snow in Arkansas with 0.2 of an inch from April 24, 1910.

The combination of an intrusion of unseasonably cold air and a slow-moving storm system led to the historical snow across Arkansas, as well as parts of the Plains and Upper Midwest.

The storm's eastward progress has been blocked by a strong area of high pressure anchored across the Northeast and Atlantic Canada.

With the historic snow, it should not surprise many that the unseasonable cold also set May records in Arkansas.

The temperature Friday night bottomed out at 38 degrees in Little Rock, breaking the previous May record low of 39 degrees from May 1, 1903.

Jacksonville, North Little Rock, Hot Springs and Pine Bluff are among the other locations that also set records for the all-time lowest May temperature.

It was a tale of two seasons across Arkansas on Friday as snow-covered spring flowers, creating a scene similar to this photo by Photos.com.

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