According to the Report of the Ohio Meteorological Bureau for the Month of May 1883, a significant snowfall occurred in parts of the state on the 21st and 22nd. The report states:

“A heavy fall of snow occurred on the 21st in the north-western parts of the State. Snow is reported on that date from Dayton, Sidney, Lima, Upper Sandusky, Wauseon, Lebanon, Westerville and Columbus. The greatest depth was 15.5 inches at Lima. At Wauseon, the depth was 6.5 inches, at Sidney 7 inches, at Dayton 2 inches, and at Upper Sandusky 3 inches. At other stations the amount was small. Notwithstanding the depth of the snow and the great area covered by the storm, so far as has been ascertained no particular damage to vegetation resulted from it. One of our observes, Mr. G. A. Hyde, of Cleveland, who has kept a meteorological record for many years, reports that he has recorded but three snow-storms in May during the last 28 years. These were on May 1st, 1861, one-tenth of an inch, May 2nd, 1869, two-tenths of an inch, and May 1st, 1877, three-tenths of an inch.”

WEATHER MAPS FOR MAY 21-22, 1883

Weather map for the morning of May 21, 1883. Note the cold air denoted by the 40F isotherm pushing south through Michigan into northwest Ohio. At the same time, a strong area of low pressure was indicated over West Virginia, with high pressure nosing south from Canada over the upper Midwest.
Weather map for the morning of May 21, 1883. Note the cold air denoted by the 40F isotherm pushing south through Michigan into northwest Ohio. At the same time, a strong area of low pressure was indicated over West Virginia, with high pressure nosing south from Canada over the upper Midwest.

Zoomed in view of the weather map on the morning of May 21, 1883, with frontal boundaries indicated.

National weather map for the afternoon of May 22, 1883. Cold air bad overspread much of Ohio, especially western parts of the snow. Temperatures had fallen below along and west of a line from Cleveland to Cincinnati, with temperatures in the heavy snow area plummeting to near freezing. A strong low pressure was centered along the Mid Atlantic coast ushering in strong northerly winds across the state.
National weather map for the afternoon of May 22, 1883. Cold air bad overspread much of Ohio, especially western parts of the snow. Temperatures had fallen below along and west of a line from Cleveland to Cincinnati, with temperatures in the heavy snow area plummeting to near freezing. A strong low pressure was centered along the Mid Atlantic coast ushering in strong northerly winds across the state.
Zoomed in view of the weather map on May 22, 1883.
Zoomed in view of the weather map on May 22, 1883.

Snow from this storm also occurred in eastern Indiana and southern lower Michigan. Snow accumulated to a depth of 5.0″ in downtown Detroit by early morning on the 22nd. This remains the latest snow ever recorded in the city of Detroit.

OTHER WEATHER EVENTS FROM MAY 1883

I have attached a link to a PDF of the complete Report of the Ohio Meteorological Bureau for the Month of May 1883. In addition to the snowstorm of the 21st-22nd, the month featured severe thunderstorms, several tornados, a brilliant meteor sighting, and even an earthquake!

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[More to come…]

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