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Winter storm Xanto brought historic April snowfall, US


A powerful late-season winter storm named Xanto by The Weather Channel brought record April snowfall to the upper Midwest and Great Lakes in mid-April 2018.

Xanto was the heaviest April snowstorm on record in Minneapolis/St. Paul, it also was the second-heaviest snowstorm of all-time in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

The storm officially brought 40.13 cm (15.8 inches) of snow to Minneapolis/St. Paul between April 13 and 16, making it the heaviest April snowstorm on record there, it was also the 12th-heaviest snowstorm of all-time in the Twin Cities according to The Weather Channel.

Winter storm Xanto pushed Minneapolis/St. Paul to its snowiest April on record, with 66.3 cm (26.1 inches) of snow as of April 16.

Green Bay, Wisconsin, received an astonishing 61.47 cm (24.2 inches) of snow between April 13 and 16, ranking not only as the city's heaviest April storm but also the second-heaviest snowstorm of all-time. Blizzard conditions were observed in Green Bay 16:00 UTC – 19:00 UTC (11:00 to 14:00 local time) on April 15.

In north-central Wisconsin, 52.58 cm (20.7 inches) of snow piled up in Wausau, making Xanto the heaviest April snowstorm on record there, as well as the second-heaviest snowstorm of all-time, The Weather Channel said.

Sioux Falls, South Dakota, received 34.8 cm (13.7 inches) of snow from Xanto on April 14, making it the heaviest one-day April snow total on record in the city. The total from the entire storm was 36.3 cm (14.3 inches.)

The highest snowfall total was 83.82 cm (33 inches) in Amherst, Wisconsin. Drifts of 1.52 – 1.83 meters (5 to 6 feet) high were also reported in that location.

Xanto recap

Xanto hit the northwestern United States on April 11 as a strong mid- to upper-level jet stream disturbance. This disturbance crossed the northern and central Rockies the following day before becoming a strong surface low-pressure system in Kansas and Nebraska on April 13. The sluggish, strong low-pressure system continued to batter the Great Lakes, Midwest, and central Plains April 14 – 15.

Here are some of the top snow and ice reports by state.

Snowfall reports

  • Colorado: 36.8 cm (14.5 inches) near Cedaredge, 25.4 cm (10 inches) near Berthoud Falls and Julesburg
  • Illinois: 5.6 cm (2.2 inches) in Nora
  • Iowa: 40.6 cm (16 inches) in Ruthven; 16.5 cm (6.5 inches) in Sioux City
  • Kansas: 12.7 cm (​5 inches) in Bird City; 8.12 cm (3.2 inches) near Goodland
  • Michigan: 61.9 cm (24.4 inches) near Negaunee
  • Minnesota: 68.8 cm (27.1 inches) near Richfield; 40.1 cm (15.8 inches) at Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport
  • Montana: 63.5 cm (25 inches) near Bozeman; 35.5 cm (14 inches) in Grass Range
  • Nebraska: 35.5 cm (14 inches) in Newport and Mullen; 27.9 cm (11 inches) near Valentine
  • New Hampshire: 5 cm (2 inches) in Berlin
  • New York: 5 cm (2 inches) near Chazy
  • North Dakota: 15.2 cm (6 inches) in Medora, Hirschville and Dunn Center
  • South Dakota: 50.8 cm (20 inches) near Okreek and Winner; 48.2 cm (19 inches) in Huron; 36.3 cm (14.3 inches) in Sioux Falls
  • Utah: 71.1 cm (28 inches) in the Alta Ski Area at the summit; 25.4 cm (10 inches) in Brighton and Alta
  • Vermont: 6.3 cm (​2.5 inches) near Milton; 2.7 cm (1.1 inches) (sleet) near South Burlington
  • Wisconsin: 83.8 cm (33 inches) in Amherst; 61.4 cm (24.2 inches) in Green Bay; 52.5 cm (20.7 inches) in Wausau
  • Wyoming: 45.7 cm (18 inches) near Alta; 30.4 cm (12 inches) near Jackson and Afton

Ice/freezing rain reports

  • Illinois: 4.7 mm (3/16 inch) in Grayslake, Wauconda, Lindenhurst, and Marengo
  • Indiana: 4.7 mm (3/16 inch) near Salem Center
  • Michigan: 1.5 mm (5/8 inch) near Midland
  • Minnesota: 6.35 mm (1/4 inch) near Douglas 
  • New York: 25.4 mm (1 inch) in Lowville; nearly 1/4 inch in Buffalo


April 11 – 13

Strong winds, some in excess of 112 km/h (70 mph), were seen from California to Utah and Wyoming as the jet stream disturbance dropped into the West. A dash of snow was seen in California's Sierra, but heavier snow fell in the Cascades and Utah's Wasatch. 

Almost 25.4 cm (10 inches) of snow had accumulated near Great Falls, Montana, and 50.8 –  63.5 cm (20 to 25 inches) of snow was estimated in the Bridger Range north of Bozeman.


April 13 -1 4

Thundersnow and snowfall rates up to 7.62 (3 inches) per hour were reported in South Dakota and western Nebraska. Blizzard and near-blizzard conditions occurred in eastern Colorado, much of Nebraska, much of South Dakota and parts of southwestern Minnesota. Blizzard warnings were issued for parts of six states: South Dakota, Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, and Minnesota.

Several locations – including Imperial, Nebraska, near North Platte, Nebraska, Kit Carson, Colorado, and Goodland, Kansas – reported near-blizzard conditions in eastern Colorado, western Kansas, Nebraska, southern Minnesota and northwestern Iowa.

Most major interstates and roads in South Dakota and western Nebraska were closed due to the conditions on April 13. Interstate 70 in eastern Colorado and Interstate 80 in eastern Wyoming were also closed. 

Whiteout conditions and stranded motorists were reported early April 14 in northwestern Kansas.

Locations, where blizzard conditions were verified, include:

  • Burlington/Hale, Colorado (eastern Colorado)
  • Valentine, Nebraska (northern Nebraska)
  • Alliance, Nebraska (western Nebraska)
  • Kearney, Nebraska (southern Nebraska)
  • Winner, South Dakota (southern South Dakota)
  • Mitchell, South Dakota, reported a thunder blizzard (southeastern South Dakota)
  • Sioux Falls/Huron, South Dakota (southeastern South Dakota)
  • Worthington, Minnesota (southwestern Minnesota)
  • Storm Lake, Iowa (western Iowa)
  • Green Bay, Wisconsin (northeastern Wisconsin) – April 15

All of these locations recorded visibility of 400 meters (one-quarter mile) or less and frequent wind gusts at or above 56.3 km/h (35 mph) for at least three hours. 

April 15

Buffalo, New York, saw ice accumulate more than two-tenths of an inch April 15. Up to 2.54 mm (1 inch) of ice was reported in Lowville, New York, in the foothills of the Tug Hill Plateau, where a tree was downed and blocking a roadway. Power lines were downed by icing in Monroe County, New York, which is where Rochester is located.

Strong onshore winds caused coastal flooding on the western shore of Lake Erie in southeastern Michigan on the morning of April 15. A dozen homes were evacuated near Luna Pier, Michigan, according to the National Weather Service.

Featured image: Bryan Jorgensen

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