See what the spring heat wave did to the country’s snowpack

Minnesota, the Land of 10,000 Lakes, has seen an incredible snowmelt with some roadways underwater in the western and northern part of the state. Communities in Utah and Colorado have also experienced rapid snowmelt and responded to issues triggered by flooding.

Unusually warm spring days across much of the country have turned rivers and streams into raging rapids as the winter’s snowpack melts and leaves behind plenty of water.

Record-breaking temperatures were reported across much of the northern U.S. during mid-April, with Minneapolis reaching 84 degrees and even New York City hitting the 90-degree mark.

The lower 48 started the month with around 30 percent snow coverage, but the figure has been reduced to only about 14 percent.

As dramatic as the springtime heat wave has been, the snow melt impacting communities has been equally as impressive.

A Minnesota State Parks employee took video and pictures of the Baptism River on Wednesday and proclaimed the event as the "mighty melt."

Park staff said the initial ice dam broke, leading the river to now flow without ice. They warn visitors to explore with caution because many of the trails covered by mud and flooding.


The scenes are similar to areas in Colorado, Utah and the Golden State.

In Salt Lake City, an emergency order was put in place where dozens of homes were evacuated due to melting snow, and Interstate 80 was temporarily shut down due to a mudslide.

Utah DOT said that it is working around the clock to keep roadways clear during the spring avalanche season.


Colorado transportation officials closed Highway 40 west of Denver due to warm temperatures melting the snow pack, leading to high water levels. The agency was also monitoring numerous roadways for increased dangers from erosion and avalanches. 

The melting of the snow cover will likely take a break through the immediate future as a staunch cold front ushers in colder air and even allows frozen precipitation to fall once again.

Communities that experienced temperatures in the 70s and 80s in the Upper Midwest will see a dramatic plunge in temperatures over the weekend and early next week that will allow precipitation to fall as snow.

The FOX Forecast Center expects upwards of 5" to fall in Northern Michigan, with large parts of Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa potentially seeing a light coating to three inches through Monday.

Tracking snowfall


Widespread snowfall events late in the spring are rare but not unheard of.

Chicago’s last average measurable snowfall is April 2, while residents in Minneapolis-St. Paul usually wave goodbye to the wintry weather on April 8.