Snow on a tree in Le Mars.

We’re not even a month into fall and already wintery weather is hitting Iowa.

Meteorologist Brooke Hagenhoff, at the National Weather Service, says the Sunday afternoon snowfall took some north-central Iowans by surprise. “The highest amounts we got were around Iowa Falls where they got around two-and-a-half inches,” Hagenhoff says. “There were two inches in the Emmet County-Estherville area, but Iowa Falls generally got the most yesterday while other places saw an inch to maybe just a dusting.”

Anyone in the region who’d hoped to build a snowman or go sledding had better act fast as the snow won’t last. “No, definitely not,” Hagenhoff says. “We’re expected to warm up gradually throughout the week. By Thursday to Friday, we should be in the upper 50s to right around 60.”

Snow accumulated on the grass and trees in parts of northern Iowa Sunday.

Some social media chatter makes it sound like this taste of winter weather is closer to the end of the world, but she says a light snow during October is relatively typical. “Our average high for this time of year is right around 60 to 65 degrees, but looking back at our records all the way back to 1885, the average first trace of snow and first measurable snow both occur in October,” Hagenhoff says. “So, while it tends to catch people off guard, it’s not completely rare.”

In some areas, the snow fell on trees that were still fully leafed out and limbs snapped under the weight, dropping on power lines. In the Omaha-Council Bluffs area, as many as 50,000 customers lost electricity on Sunday due to falling, snow-covered limbs.

(Photos provided by Dennis Morrice, KLEM, Le Mars)