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ATMOSPHERE ACADEMY: Spring snow in the Carolinas

READ MORE: Atmosphere Academy: Spring snow possible in NC

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- You don't usually think of snowfall in the spring, but it can happen.

One of the biggest snows in the history of the state didn't even hit in the winter. It hit in April. The year was 1987. A full-blown blizzard struck the western Carolinas, catching many residents off-guard.

Initially, the consistency of the flakes was heavy and wet. The increased weight of accumulating snow caused rooftops to cave in. Snowfall rates over 2 inches an hour stranded motorists along I-40.

Snow totals were quite impressive, even by New England standards. Boone saw 18 inches, Grandfather Mountain picked up nearly 25 inches and Mount Mitchell recorded 36 inches.

Wind gusts exceeding 40 mph meant created snow drifts that were measured in feet, not inches.

Such storms are rare, but even Wilmington has recorded snow in April. A trace of snow fell in the Port City on April 11, 1989.

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