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GRANDMA SAYS: Spring snow has a purpose

The snow changed to rain by midday in Wolfville, N.S. but Stephen LeBlanc's morning drive was not the greatest. A few centimetres of snow fell ahead of a powerful storm that crossed the region Wednesday.
The snow changed to rain by midday in Wolfville, N.S. but Stephen LeBlanc's morning drive was not the greatest. A few centimetres of snow fell ahead of a powerful storm that crossed the region Wednesday. - Contributed

If April showers bring May flowers, what’s the point of April snow?

Grandma believed snow that fell after the spring equinox had a purpose. In fact, she was always quick to remind us that there would be three more snows after the first day of spring. Fast forward a couple of decades and here I am in Atlantic Canada where I soon learn that here, too, there are three snows after the official start of spring. In fact, according to Maritime folklore, the Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia always receives three snowfalls after the March equinox and they are so predictable they have been given names.

The first snow is the smelt snow; it's believed that the smelt would start to run after the first spring snow.

The second snowfall following the equinox is the robin snow; according to folklore, this snowfall brings them back.

And finally, the green grass snow. Grandma often referred to it as “poor man's fertilizer.” I think this one is an attempt to put a positive spin on a very late snowfall and keep some people from crying.

is there any truth to this? Well, in March, frontal boundaries start to push through as the jet stream attempts to shift from its winter position to a more summertime one. Snow often falls on the leading edge of a system that is travelling through with mild air. That was the case on Wednesday. Behind the wet weather, there is often a dry slot and some sun! Warm spring sunshine could trigger the smelt migration, bring the birds out of the woods and maybe even make the grass green.

I decided to check last year's weather statistics. I found that most of us "enjoyed" four snowfalls after the spring equinox. Mother Nature was kind enough to toss in a bonus snowfall on April 13. I hope she doesn't feel the need to be so generous this year!

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