Snow in mid-May

Most of the trails at the Cannon Mountain resort got a fresh, albeit temporary layer of snow on Tuesday.

FRANCONIA — Even though it was just for a couple hours, Old Man Winter returned on Tuesday, bringing measurable, even plowable amounts of snow to several spots around the state, including in the White Mountains.

“We measured 2 inches of new snow up top, but first thing in the morning, the snow expanded all the way to the base,” reported Gregory Keeler, the director of marketing and sales at Cannon Mountain.

“We don’t have great records on May snowfall, though we have seen occasional Mays with snow,” Keeler wrote in an email. The “most notable snowfall that we’ve had here in the past ten years after we’ve closed for the season was April 28, 2010, when we picked up 29 (inches) of snow in one storm,” he wrote.

John DeVivo, general manager at Cannon Mountain as well as Franconia Notch State Park, noted that someone did some skiing Tuesday morning down the Avalanche Trail, the southeastern most trail of Cannon’s Front Five.

Cannon closed for the season on April 15, and there are no plans to reopen, regardless of how much new snow may fall, DeVivo said.

By 3 p.m. Tuesday, the snowfall had been replaced by rain and temperatures in the upper 30s and low 40s.

Less than a quarter mile north of Cannon, at the top of Franconia Notch, the ground was bare down to the still dormant grass.


It definitely didn’t look like mid-May at the Kancamagus Highway’s Pemigewasset Overlook, at about 2,750 feet elevation, on Tuesday.

Bill Boynton, spokesman for the New Hampshire Department of Transportation, said maintenance crews were plowing up to 3 inches of snow that had fallen on the Kancamagus Highway between Conway and Lincoln.

Ian Bailey, a weather observer and an educational specialist at the Mount Washington Observatory, said that what made Tuesday’s snow special was its breadth, not its date or depth.

“We’re not strangers to extreme weather up here,” said Bailey, “but what is interesting is it snowed most of the way down the mountain.”

As of midday, the observatory had recorded 2 inches of snow on the summit and was expecting “a couple more,” said Bailey, who quickly burst the bubble about any records being set.

“It’s fairly typical for snow through mid-June” on Mount Washington, he said, although the observatory has recorded snow in every month of the year.

On average, the observatory receives 14 inches of snow in the month of May.

That said, the Mother’s Day storm of 2017, which ended on the same date as Tuesday — May 14 — saw the summit walloped with 33.3 inches of snow, said Bailey.

Snow in mid-May

With a fresh dusting of snow on its steep walls, Franconia Notch presented a wintry panorama to drivers heading north Tuesday. At the top of the Notch, the Cannon Mountain resort reported receiving two inches of the white stuff.