Dear Tom,
I have heard that the last snow of the spring is called the “onion snow.” Where did this name come from?
—Scott Bentley Woodstock
Dear Scott,
Onion snow is a term that is attributed to the Pennsylvania Dutch. It is a late season snowfall that occurs after onions and other early blooming vegetables have been planted, usually in early April. Often, the onions have begun to grow and if the snow is a minor one, the emerging green shoots are visible poking through the snow. Late-season snows are usually short- lived, quickly melting in the above- freezing temps and the increasing strength of the sun’s rays. In Chicago, the average date of the last measurable snowfall is April 3 and the last flurries April 21, but measurable snow has occurred as late as May 11 in 1966 when 0.2” fell.