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May snow piles up, closes highway

5/2/2013

By MIKE CORN

By MIKE CORN

mcorn@dailynews.net

GOVE -- Yes, it's spring. Yes, it's May.

But the snow still piled up in some parts of northwest Kansas, and even a trace was reported in the Hays area.

While the National Weather Service reported as much as 4.5 inches of snow in Gove, the agency's official observer said he measured half that.

"I called it 2.5," said Darrell Kopriva, Gove's official weather observer. "That was maybe a quarter inch of water."

"We probably got 3 inches," said Wayne Cook, at Cook's Feed and Seed at Gove's north end.

Thirteen miles north of Edson in Sherman County, there was a second report of 4.5 inches, this time reported by a National Weather Service employee. It melted down to 0.36 of an inch of moisture. There was a report of 4.3 inches north of Colby.

In Wallace County, there was a report of 3.5 inches of snow on the ground. Goodland received 3.5 inches of snow, but only 0.19 of an inch of moisture. Hays received 0.15 of an inch of rain.

But that was enough to boost the seasonal snowfall total to 59.2 inches. Normal is 35 inches.

It also was enough to prompt the Kansas Department of Transportation to close Interstate 70 shortly before 10 p.m. Wednesday due to slick conditions and poor visibility.

The highway reopened at 8 a.m. this morning.

While the snow is unusual, May snows have happened in the past, as late as May 7 in Hays and even May 18 in Goodland.

Still, the moisture was welcomed.

"Not too bad," Kopriva said of the snow.

"We'll take everything. I wish it would actually rain, do something significant.

"Something that is more than a tease."

Cold temperatures won't be a tease tonight as temperatures are expected to plummet. Already, there's a hard-freeze warning in effect from tonight through noon Friday.

Lows are expected to fall to 25 to 28 degrees overnight.

A hard freeze warning means sub-freezing temperatures are imminent or highly likely and will kill crops or other sensitive vegetation.