2009: A powerful winter storm stalled over Iowa for several days around Christmas, producing most of its precipitation from December 23-26. During the early morning hours of the 23rd freezing drizzle fell across central Iowa, then during the day rain developed in the southeast, snow in the northwest, and freezing rain and sleet in between, and finally the precipitation transitioned to snow from west to east on the 24th and 25th before tapering off on the 26th. This system produced heavy snowfall across western and northwestern Iowa, with a total of 24.0 inches at Spencer shattering the previous storm total record at that location by a full 5 inches. Combined with other winter storms during the month Spencer set an all time Iowa record for December snowfall with a monthly total of 40.0 inches. Other snowfall amounts from this storm included 16.0 inches at Little Sioux, 15.7 inches at Hawarden, and 15.5 inches at the Sioux City airport. Meanwhile, portions of west central and central Iowa especially around Audubon, Crawford, Carroll, Guthrie, and Greene counties, received significant ice accumulations of around half an inch to nearly an inch in some areas that took out power lines, brought down tree branches, and made driving very hazardous. December 2009 finished as the second snowiest month on record in Iowa in terms of statewide average snowfall, only behind December of 2000.
1983: Bitterly cold weather set in for nearly a week leading up to Christmas with the worst conditions experienced on December 23-25, as temperatures were rarely above zero and howling winds created very dangerous wind chills and deep snow drifts making travel all but impossible. For the four days from December 22-25 the statewide average temperature was -12.5 F which is the third-coldest such stretch on record in Iowa. At Des Moines the temperature remained below zero for 115 consecutive hours from December 21-26 and the average temperature from December 18-25 was -9.4 F. On Christmas Eve the high temperature at Des Moines was only -12 F which is their coldest high temperature on record in December and their second-coldest high temperature on any date. The average temperature at Des Moines was -15 F making this the coldest day in more than 70 years, since January 12, 1912. Waukon also recorded its coldest high temperature ever in December with a maximum of only -15 F on the 23rd, then dropped to a low of -27 F on the morning of the 24th. Other low temperatures around the state on the 24th included -26 F at Cresco, Fort Dodge, Oelwein, and Waterloo, -27 F at Northwood and Pocahontas, and -30 F at Oakland. At Des Moines the month would finish as the coldest December on record with an average temperature of only 9.8 F.
Posted under Weather History
This post was written by Schnack on December 24, 2012