From Southern California, where more than 400 firefighters continue to battle raging wildfires, to Boulder, Colo., where golf greens and outdoor cafe tables remain blanketed in snow, everyone seems to be wondering: “What happened to spring?”
“Spring will be back,” said Nezette Rydell, a meteorologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “It will be abbreviated this year, but it will be back. This much snow is a little bit on the outer edge of expectations.”
For 10 states, though, spring has been buried under a snowstorm. Denver’s cold temperature record for May 2 was shattered today, as a flash-freeze plunged the low to just 19 degrees — making this month the coldest May in a century.
Owatonna, Minn., resident Greg Gorder said the snow was “unbelievable.”
“I was just ‘Wow,’” he told ABC News affiliate KSTP-TV. “It’s May and we got this much snow.”
According to the National Weather Service, the storm has dropped more than a foot of heavy, wet snow in the area.
It was bad news for tree branches that couldn’t take the extra weight, as well as a former auto dealership that collapsed in West Concord, Minn.
Elsewhere in the state, troopers and tow trucks kept busy on dangerously frozen highways littered with spinouts.
“You didn’t think this could happen in May, especially when two days ago I was out biking in my shorts,” Austin, Minn., store manager Josilyn Merritt told ABC News affiliate KAAL-TV. “It’s ridiculous.”
Meanwhile, midway between Malibu and Santa Barbara, Calif., in a dramatic start to the fire season, hot, desert winds that usually come at the end of the summer and early fall arrived four to five months early.
Firefighters went door-to-door today urging residents to leave as 50 mph winds swept through dry brush. The winds were so strong at times in Camarillo, Calif., the fires were able to travel five miles in just two hours.
With the wildfires growing by more than 6,000 acres just today, hundreds of homes, as well as a college campus, had to be evacuated.
Camarillo resident Joe Kleiner said he’d lost everything – his childhood home now a sooty mess.
He told ABC News he had to had to remain calm despite the huge loss.
“If I went ballistic or nutso, it wouldn’t solve anything,” he said. “It wouldn’t change the fact the house has been burnt. It’s down. It’s out. Thank God it’s not burning a neighbor’s house and they’re all a-OK.”
ABC News’ David Wright, Clayton Sandell and Akiko Fujita contributed to this story.