SCHOHARIE COUNTY — Ethan Ball watched cars — tops and trunks covered with thick snow — pull into Schoharie Valley Farms on Monday.
“They were happy to see the valley wasn’t full of snow,” said Ball, owner and manager of the farm and its nearby store, the Carrot Barn.
Some residents of Schoharie and Montgomery counties saw a return to winter in mid-spring, as an unusual snowstorm dropped heavy, wet snow in several communities.
Tom Wasula, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Albany, said measurable amounts of snow fell in parts of the northern Catskill Mountains, the Schoharie Valley and Central Mohawk Valley.
“Schoharie County was hit the hardest, we had a wide range there in terms of the amounts of snowfall,” Wasula said. “It ranged from 2.1 inches in Warnerville to 4 inches at Middleburgh. When you got into the mountains we had some higher totals — Summit was 5 inches, Richmondville had 6.5 and our highest total of Jefferson with 8, that’s up about 2,000 feet.”
In Montgomery County, Amsterdam and Fort Plain received about an inch of snow. Hessville, located in the county’s southwestern corner, received seven inches.
Wasula said such large amounts of snow are unusual this late in the spring.
“We can still get snow even into May in eastern New York,” Wasula said, adding that while late April snow is rare, it can happen.
“There’s a smaller chance of it happening, basically due to the time of the year and the sun angle, you really need to have a really heavy precipitation to cool the atmosphere down to get the heavy, wet snow like this,” Wasula said. “We had just enough cooling with the amount of precipitation to cause this to happen.”
Large amounts of snow have fallen in past Aprils. The most April snow fell in 1982, according to weather service records, when 17.1 inches were recorded.
In 1983, also according to the records, 14.7 inches of April snow fell in the Capital Region. The last big April snowfall was 2000, when 13.3 inches fell.
The normal April snowfall total is 2.3 inches.
A cold rain fell in the Capital Region Sunday into Monday, but snow never became a weather factor.
Ball said he didn’t have much snow in his part of the valley.
“You could look up into the mountains and they were a little bit white,” he said. “Further up in the hills, I’ve got some friends in the mountains and there were inches. I talked to a gentleman a little farther out, closer to Cooperstown, they had eight inches. That’s a good spot for it, not here in the valley.”
Ball said farming operations have already started at his place — he’s already planting.
“We’ve got carrots and beets and onions in the ground, peas,” he said. “Any snow now is hopefully a flash in the pan and it’s here and gone.”
Ball doesn’t think the unseasonable weather created any problems in his fields.
“The onions won’t like it too much, but they’ll be fine,” he said. “The rest of the seeds are under the ground, so they should be all right. We’ll get through it.”
In Sharon Springs, John M. Papp said he had between 4 and 6 inches of snow on the ground near his home.
“I was hoping to get out my road bike for some mileage this week, however Mother Nature just had to remind us who’s really in charge,” he said. “Looking at past calendars, I’m usually cutting the lawn by May 10, not too sure now as all this stuff needs to melt, turn to mud — again — and dry out.”
Schoharie’s Apple Barrel Country Store and Cafe didn’t have much snow on the ground. Josh Loden, a manager at his family’s store, said he had wet snow on the grounds hear his home in Wright.
“It was wonderful to walk out to this morning,” Loden said. “We don’t normally have it this late. Normally by this time, we’re in the clear.”
Loden had no problem driving to work.
“It was one of these weird snows where I think there was enough heat in the ground and on the roads,” he said. “They were clear, just wet.”
Wasula said Tuesday’s weather will be dry, with temperatures that will rise into the mid-50s and possibly reach the 60s. Rain could be back in the picture by late Wednesday.
“We could get periods of rain, heavier and steady Thursday afternoon and evening,” Wasula said. “The unsettled weather extends into Friday.”
Contact staff writer Jeff Wilkin at 518-641-8400 or at [email protected]