So, now it’s May and you figure that you can finally take those snow tires off and pack away all those snow shovels and bags of rock salt until November.
After all, May 5 marked the middle of spring and with that, summer is just around the corner, right?
That’s probably what a lot of New Englanders were thinking back in 1977.
And then it happened. On the evening of May 8, a double-barreled storm: one centered north of Lake Ontario and the other near Harrisburg, PA, slid off the coast and, 24 hours later, had consolidated into one storm system that rapidly intensified southeast of Cape Cod. A mass of unseasonably cold, Canadian air wrapped itself around the developing storm and produced a cold rain which ultimately changed over to a heavy, wet snow.
The result was a particularly unique situation.
Unique since accumulating snow fell so late into the spring with very few historical precedents. There were some astounding totals such as 12.7 inches at Worcester, Mass., and 7.5 inches at Providence, R.I., the only case of measurable snowfall in the month of May in the 20th Century.
In New York State, more than a foot of snow fell at the famous Mohonk Mountain House resort just west of New Paltz, while the highest peaks of the nearby Catskill Mountains received up to 27 inches!
Even in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, 8 inches of snow fell, while thunderstorms in southern Pennsylvania and Maryland brought wind gusts as high as 70 m.p.h., which downed power lines and caused extensive outages.
It just goes to prove that, even this late in the season, if just the right ingredients come together at just the right time, you can still get one heck of a winter storm!