What is “onion snow”?

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Dear Tom,
This morning’s snow reminded me of something I heard a long time ago, “onion snow.” My husband has never heard of this. Is this our onion snow?
Thanks, Cherie Johns Homewood
Dear Cherie,
It is. The term onion snow originated with the Pennsylvania Dutch and refers to a spring snow that falls after the early-spring onion crop has been planted and has begun to sprout. Sunday’s snowfall in the Chicago area, covered the ground, not only covering early-sprouting onions and chives, but also a multitude of other emerging plants. Typical of all late-seasons snows, Sunday’s 4.8 inch official total at O’Hare should melt quickly as temperatures rapidly rebound into the 60s by Tuesday. This was the city’s heaviest snow, so late in the season, in nearly half a century, since 5.4 inches fell on April 16, 1961


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