Published: 2015-05-01 12:13:00
Updated: 2015-05-01 12:16:19
Posted May 1, 2015
By Nate Johnson
Raleigh, N.C. — Did you see it?
Chances are, you probably did and didn’t even know it.
According to the National Weather Service – and a quirk in how data are collected and reported – it “snow"ed in Raleigh Thursday afternoon.
But how could that be? There were no snowmen. No sounds of kids sledding down the big hill at the end of the road. No schools were canceled.
And yet, there it is: A trace of “snow” was reported at the NWS’s office on NC State’s Centennial Campus. “Snow” in quotation marks, that is.
You probably know that when official weather records are compiled, the NWS records both snow and sleet – precipitation that falls in a frozen form – into the same category of “snow." However, you might not know that hail – another form of precipitation that falls in a frozen form – is also lumped into the “snow” category in those same weather records.
The same thing happened in Washington, D.C., with storms there Thursday, the big difference being that it occurred over one of the first-order weather stations that collects both data for hourly observations and daily climate data, so we have hourly data with the hail observation to go with the full-day report.
If you were jonesing for the real snow, you didn’t have to go far last night. Mt. Mitchell, N.C., recorded half an inch of snow overnight – the first May snow at the peak since 2006.