Grand Canyon could be blanketed with snow on Memorial Day

Grand Canyon could be blanketed with snow on Memorial Day
An aerial look at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

So much for that warm, sunny Memorial Day vacation to the Grand Canyon.

Clear views of America’s most beautiful ditch could be interrupted by something rarely seen this late in the year — a blanket of snow. Light snow fall began around 9:30 a.m. local time.

‘It’s common for snow to fall in Flagstaff in April and May, but to have accumulating snow after May 26th is quite unusual,” said the National Weather Service’s office in Flagstaff, Arizona.

In fact, “it’s only happened 8 times since we’ve been keeping records,” the NWS Flagstaff office said.

Flagstaff is about an hour south of Grand Canyon National Park, where about 5.9 million tourists visit every year.

The snow is expected to change to rain during the afternoon, forecasters said.

“New snow accumulation of less than a half inch (is) possible,” the NWS office said. “Some thunder is also possible.”

The North Rim of the Grand Canyon could get 2 inches of snow.

As if that’s not enough, tourists will also encounter an “unusually cold weather system.”

The high temperature will reach only about 45 degrees, and wind gusts as strong as 28 mph, forecasters said.

It’s not the only crazy weather this Memorial Day. Across the country, about 50 million people are at risk of severe weather Monday.

CNN’s Taylor Ward and Darran Simon contributed to this report.