Topeka sees 3.1 inches of fluffy, white April snow
The calendar said it was April 20, yet Topekans awoke Tuesday morning to see the ground covered with fluffy, white snow.
The National Weather Service recorded 3.1 inches of snow at its office near Philip Billard Municipal Airport in northeast Topeka, said Kyle Poage, a meteorologist for that office.
Tuesday's snowfall total easily broke Topeka's record for April 20 of 0.2 inches, set in 1918, Poage said.
It also topped the 2-inch snow amount the weather service had predicted Monday that Shawnee County would receive.
Tuesday's snow began about 2:12 a.m., according to the weather service.
Between 2 inches and 5 inches of snow fell in communities surrounding Topeka, according to the Facebook page of its Topeka office.
But almost all the snow had melted away by early Tuesday afternoon, as Topeka temperatures rose to 43 degrees as of 1 p.m.
The latest in the spring that Topeka has ever seen measurable snow was on May 3, 1907, when 3.2 inches fell here, according to the weather service.
It said Tuesday's snowfall total fell far short of the city's record for April, as 9.8 inches fell here on April 2, 1926.
How will the snow affect Tulip Time?
Tuesday's snowfall came amid Jerold Binkley Tulip Time, an annual festival being held by Shawnee County Parks and Recreation.
That festival began April 9 and runs through 25 at Lake Shawnee's Ted Ensley Gardens, Old Prairie Town at Ward-Meade Botanical Garden, Doran Rock Garden and surrounding areas in Gage Park.
Fortunately, the tulips involved didn't break from the weight of the snow, said Mike McLaughlin, communications and public information supervisor for Shawnee County Parks and Recreation.
"The tulips close up at night to protect themselves from the cold," he said. "That has helped them last as long as they have this year. This has been a good year for the tulips."
The tulips started blooming the week before this year's festival began, so some of the early blooming tulips have already lost their blooms, McLaughlin added.
How will the snow affect crops?
Tuesday's snow wasn't "that big a deal" in terms of affecting crops, considering it melted fairly quickly, said Kraig Roozeboom, a professor of agronomy at Manhattan's Kansas State University.
"I'm actually more worried about tomorrow morning than I am about what happened this morning, because it's going to be getting colder," he said.
While Topeka temperatures bottomed out early Tuesday in the lower 30s, the weather service predicted the mercury would drop early Wednesday to the upper 20s. A freeze warning had been issued for this area.
Several hours of temperatures in the middle 20s can cause frost damage to winter wheat, depending upon what stage of development that wheat is in, Roozeboom said.
Kansas farmers generally begin harvesting wheat in June, he said.
Roozeboom added that the moisture associated with the snow was slowing down the planting of corn and soybeans, which generally takes place in Kansas at roughly this time of year.
He said he didn't think temperatures would get low enough to kill the corn that's already been planted, though the cold could potentially cause chilling injury to newly planted corn.